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Second round evinces continued strong growth in social media marketing, but is location next?
Social media marketing platform Shoutlet announced Monday morning that it has raised a $6 million Series B round of funding led by Madison-based American Family Insurance. Origin Ventures and Leo Capital Holdings, both contributors to Shoutlet’s $2 million Series A, also participated in the latest round.
The two rounds, added to a $1.2 million seed in 2007, make for a total of $9.2 in venture capital funding.
Targeted at enterprise-level brands, Shoutlet creates customer relationship management (CRM) tools intelligently matched to the age of social media. Clients like Perry Ellis, Rayovac, and True Religion Jeans use Shoutlet to manage their Facebook and Twitter pages, share promotions and coupons, and generally monitor their online presence.
When we last looked at Shoutlet, the company had just launched a bevy of new social CRM features that made it even easier to use the platform as a way of influencing key influencers. Every brand has its close followers, critics, and devotees, and Shoutlet helps its clients respond to those influencers in a way that helps the company grow.
Like the last time we spoke, Shoutlet CEO Jason Weaver would not comment on how many clients Shoutlet currently supports. Last time, he did say the company was adding about 15 new clients each month. This time, he says they company is adding 15-20 clients per month and the total is “in the hundreds range.” He also reported a 300 percent increase in revenue since the last quarter.
As someone who writes about social media often, I asked Weaver whether he had any plans to incorporate location-based offerings into Shoutlet, alongside the standard social media features.
“Geo-location services and mobile in general is something we’re watching very closely and have plans to do within the next six months to a year,” replied Weaver. “Yes, our competitors say they have geo-location features on the market already. We’re not necessarily ‘taking our time’ with it, but we want to incorporate those features correctly from the onset of them being available. We’re very focused on doing it right, and right off the bat. So we’re making sure we do that by not rushing anything to market.”
Weaver might be wise not to dive headfirst into location-based social marketing, since the location market itself hasn’t even approached mainstream usage yet. Only four percent of online adults actually use location-based services like Foursquare or Gowalla, according to a telephone survey conducted by the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project between August and September. Even less impressive is their finding that only seven percent adults with an Internet-enabled phone use the location apps.
Despite all that, location-based services, fueled by a mounting trend toward in-store deal offers, seem to be moving toward becoming mainstream, so Shoutlet should not ignore the market if it is to remain ahead of the curve.
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Shoutlet provides a centralized platform that helps companies manage and monetize their social media communication. It includes Facebook and Twitter management, Social CRM, widget building, email and mobile marketing, social commerce, and real-time analytics in one easy-to-use interface. The platform gives brands and agencies the tools to create, manage, and measure their entire social media communications. Companies using Shoutlet's platform are able to better design and implement highly targeted campaigns and ultimately improve the business impact of their social media communications.