turning average joes into local spokesmodels

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Say Cheese! Why Food Brands Want Photos




My favorite foods made New York Times headlines this morning. Macaroni and Cheese. Kraft Foods Group is hiring a start-up firm, Ditto Labs, to learn more about their customers. How? Through photos.

Sara Braun, senior marketing director for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese discussed their decision to hire Ditto in a statement. “We want to ensure we continue to evolve, keep the brand fresh and relevant. A lot has changed with how the consumer sources information. As a marketer, we want to be reaching our consumer in whatever technologies she uses today.”

Sara is right. The best way to understand consumers is to look at what they’re currently doing and how their currently doing it. Consumer behavior is sourced online these days and best done through photos. More than 500 million photos are updated daily.  That’s a lot of information about consumers. There is nothing more valuable for any company, regardless of size, than a keen understanding of what their customers do and what they celebrate. Because people uploaded photos of their day’s high point, it offers an invaluable assessment of what’s attractive to the consumer. Photos, then, are ripe with collectible data for how to grow market reach and fine tune outreach strategies.

Ditto Labs also explains in their presentation that photos can help brands/businesses identify competitors as well as fans. It can help understand what else is out there and how to set themselves apart.

There is perhaps no more valuable data collection tool than photo analysis. The hard part, though, is analyzing it all.This is why in Spokeable we created the backend software that allows for all the photos taken in small businesses to be categorized in a way that easily encourages action. We facilitate the use of photo-data for marketing solutions that truly influence customers. Small businesses can’t pay for big firms like Ditto (though their work is great). And Ditto isn’t trying to access the small business market. At Spokeable, though, we created a  platform specifically designed for local business that helps them understand and truly engage their customers in relevant exchanges.  Through photos.

Tonight I think I’ll get mac and cheese from my local Fort Green takeaway. I just saw a great photo on Spokeable.



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Hey all! Spokeable is finally on AngelList and we’re ready to raise the funds we need to launch our phenomenal solution for local businesses. As some of you know, AngelList is a platform that connects startups with angel investors to find win-win partnerships to grow their business.

To insure an incredibly successful Angel campaign we are seeking two well-connected passive advisors who will lend us their name and make a few introductions on the platform.  If you fit the criteria but aren’t on Angel yet, no worries!  Although it’d be the bees knees for you to already have an account, we’re happy to help you set one up!  Can’t wait to get rocking!

We are looking for:

  •  Fiery founders who’ve successfully fundraised on Angel
  •  Well connected social-commerce or local business experts
  •  Enterprise software executives who’e spent time in the startup scene
  •  Entrepreneurs on Angel who love disruptive models

Check out our profile: https://angel.co and let us know!

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Social Commerce with a BIG ROI


It’s become something of an accepted mantra, this idea that everything “social” has a soft (or nonexistent) return on investment (ROI).  At Spokeable, we agree with John Lawson, CEO of Atlanta-based ColderICE Mediawho in his book  Kick Ass Social Commerce for E-preneurs: It’s Not About Likes—It’s About Sales, relates everything back to the bottom line. Small business owners need to turn social commerce into revenue. 

Social media is one avenue that consumers use to tell you they like you, but Lawson says that doesn’t mean they’ll actually buy something. That’s exactly why we created Spokeable.  The platform allows members to tell you they like you via photo-sharing (an existing and prevalent behavior) and It ALSO opens a channel from the business to the consumer to encourage an actual sale, via rewards. Lawson explains that although you want your audience to like you, mostly “it’s about how to take that emotion (like) and turn it into an action (purchase).” Spokeable converts the action of endorsing into the action of purchasing. 

Through social media platforms not designed with local businesses in mind, there isn’t a clear call to action that the consumer understands and can readily follow through with.  With Spokeable, the call to action is clear.  And the effectiveness of engaging through social commerce is easily measured on our back-end business interface. We subvert the idea that social platform ROI is low, indeed bringing tangible and replicable value to businesses through Spokeable. “Part of why people think it’s soft is because they’ve never attempted to measure it,” Lawson says. “Once you can measure something, you can tweak it and make it better.”

This is what we do at Spokeable. We are a simple to use enterprise software for the small-business.


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Uber Gives Startups 7-min Pitch rides! We want one!!!

Startups in Silicon Valley will have seven minutes to pitch investors during a free Uber ride Wednesday, according to a post from the on-demand car service.

Uber is partnering with Google Ventures, the investment arm of the tech giant, to give entrepreneurs a chance to market their ideas. The company’s app, which lets users order chauffeured cars through their mobile phones, is making good on CEO Travis Kalanick’s vision of delivering everything on-demand.

They just need to request an “UberPITCH” ride through the Uber app while in the heart of the Valley: Palo Alto, Mountain View, and Menlo Park. The app orders a driver who will drive over with an investor. Entrepreneurs get seven minutes to pitch to the investor, while riding in the car, and then the investor will give feedback for seven minutes. The drivers will make round trips back to the startup location but where they go during the ride is unclear.

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hospitality: make your customers feel important

How do you make your local customers feel important?  Tips from Danny Meyer a restaurateur in New York City who currently runs 11 restaurants, has been in the business for 26 years. He’s a local businessman with the best in hospitality know-how.

So how do we think you make your customers feel important?  here are some spokeable tips.

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1. Go above and beyond

Your customers may remember the espresso you made for them, but they’ll definitely remember if it was a perfectly pulled shot, steamed micro foam and delivered with a smile.


post it

2. Keep your word

Always.  If you say you’re going to add a vegan bacon to the breakfast menu. Add it.  ASAP.


3. Take the call, answer the email

Be in communication with your customer.  Spokeable’s platform facilitates ongoing, relevant conversations between you and your customers.  If we aren’t yet in your town use traditional channels as well as you can, always answering the phone and responding to emails.

4. Listen well

What are your customers saying about your product/offerings?  Are you listening well?  There is so much to learn about improving service for your client base if you just listen!

Keep Calm

5. Accept the blame

Even if it’s not your fault. The old adage reins : the customer is always right.

help out!

6. Help Out

Sometimes people are in your store to window-shop.  Even if they aren’t going to buy, be helpful, attentive and kind.  It will pay back with word-of-mouth recommendations. Online “helping” is as simple as answering question.

7. Turn problems into opportunities

If a customer calls with a complaint, don’t think only how you can solve the problem, but how you can solve it in such a way that they will leave thinking you are the best business ever.

Spokeable Rewards

8. Let them know they are important: REWARD

Spokeable allows direct rewards to specific online spokesmodels.  Give your customers a little extra something. They’ll be sure to spread the word about your locale…and come back!

Spokeable trumps SEO.

Who do you trust more, google or your best friend?


Yes, that was a rhetorical question.  You’re going to trust your friend.  When I want a restaurant recommendation in NYC I always call my best friend Jules who works in the industry. If I’m traveling to Chicago for a weekend I post on Facebook to crowd source for recommendations from people I trust.  It’s not because I can’t find the information for the best restaurants on Google. It’s because I want endorsements.  I don’t want to waste my time with a place that could be on google just because of great SEO. I want word-of-mouth.

As does everyone, word-of-mouth is the most effective marketing phenomenon.  Ask any local business and they’ll say it’s true. Spokeable’s platform executes word of mouth seamlessly.  Creating win-win relationships for customers and local businesses. It allows you to learn about the best local places through people in your network or likeminded followers you trust.  Spokeable may not render SEO completely obsolete. But we’ll give it a run for it’s money 😉

This article, like many with the same information, give tips on SEO for local businesses.  Yes, it’s valuable information. But we’ve created a platform that will make all this tricky business more or less unnecessary.  Can’t wait for you to get on board!

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