Twitter and other social media sites have exploded over the last few years and there’s been a sort of scramble to establish yourself on them – but that scramble has inspired a lot of chaos. Success with Twitter can mean thousands of followers, but those followers aren’t all the same; some are active and influential, some are passive and less valuable, and some are ghosts who will never send a single tweet.
To rescue us from the faceless masses, Alfredo Artiles founded Socialbro to analyze our Twitter communities – and soon the communities we create on other social media sites – to put stats and data next to the handles and be able to better manage large social media populations. I spoke with Alfredo earlier today and asked him about Socialbro and his other projects.
Q: Please tell us a little about your background what your company Socialbro does, and how did you come up with the idea?
Alfredo: SocialBro is an advanced solution to manage and analyze your Twitter community. There are many tools out there focused on Twitter content, SocialBro aims to complement them with actionable stats to let users really know who the people in their communities are.
We have been making headway in the Twitter ecosystem for 3 years and SocialBro is our 8th app after FollowFriday.com, LocaFollow.com, etc.
The idea evolved because our Twitter accounts were growing very fast and we needed to identify influential people amongst our more than 200K followers of our various apps.
Q: What are some of the projects you’re working on right now?
Alfredo: Our goal is to convert SocialBro into a one-stop solution for social media, so we are working on integration with new social networks such as FaceBook. We are also developing the mobile versions in order to access new distribution channels.
Q: What’s the total number of users for Socialbro, and how do you plan to keep growing?
Alfredo: SocialBro has now 150K users and we are growing at a rate of 500 users per day. We don’t plan to change what we have been doing so far because it has been the key to our early traction. We will continue with our freemium model and try to keep our free users happy so that they continue spreading the word. Also, the 3rd party integrations have been crucial to speed up our growth, the integration with Buffer and HootSuite are two examples, so expect new great integrations for 2013.
Q: Please share a few tips and advice for new tech entrepreneurs on how to bring new ideas to life.
Alfredo: Don’t be afraid to fail; don’t wait so long to test your idea with real users. Iterate as fast as you can and keep releasing new features at least twice a month. In the early stages drive the PR yourself and contact the media via customized emails, nobody can communicate your passion better than you.
Q: What was the biggest problem you encountered with Socialbro, and how did you overcome it?
Alfredo: SocialBro needs to store users communities in order to filter them using many criteria. So from the very beginning we needed to be ready to store communities with millions of followers. We didn’t have enough capital to build an infrastructure capable of handling that much data. That’s why we started as a free desktop app (HTML5 Adobe Air and Chrome App) where we took advantage of users local resources.
Q: How is running a tech company different than what you thought it would be?
Alfredo: As a pure developer it was very hard to anticipate how complex it is to run a tech company. I needed to learn by trial and error, social media management, PR, analytics, tech support.
Q: In your opinion what’s the secret formula for success?
Alfredo: I am not sure if there is a formula but if there is one for sure listening to your users is the key ingredient to drive your product in the right direction. I read every mention of our brand in social networks and be proactive.
Q: What was the best entrepreneurial advice you have ever been given, and who gave you this advice?
Alfredo: “Good luck with your decision. I know what I would do, but you are three people and you should discuss it together and be 100% united to avoid future disagreements.” Marek Fodor
This was in response to a question we asked to Marek about an important move we were planning to make.
Q: Besides the obvious social media apps out there, what are the top 3 must have apps for entrepreneurs?
Kissmetrics: to learn from your users behavior
UserVoice: to learn from your users desires
Recurly: to integrate payment gateways without losing the focus on adding value to your users
Q: What is your favorite entrepreneurship quote?
I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. “ – Michael Jordan
Q: How can our community get in touch with you?
Alfredo: You can reach me via Twitter at @aartiles24