Social media has transformed the marketing world, but most businesses find Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the rest simultaneously exciting and frustrating. SOCI Inc. is using social data and technology to solve this problem. The two-year old startup was recently named a “COOL Company” by the San Diego Venture Group. Times of San Diego asked Afif Khoury, chief executive officer of SOCI, how his company is helping end the confusion and solve marketing challenges.

1. Why did you start SOCI?

The social media tools out there aren’t solving the real issue: content. There are plenty of schedulers and tools out there, but none of them are focusing on helping business owners publish high-quality, relevant content that actually gets engagement — and more importantly, affects their bottom line by being a valuable marketing tool. We created the MeetSOCI platform to enable everyone from business owners to social media managers to quickly find quality, proven content.

Afif Khoury, chief executive officer of SOCI Inc.

2. Your product leverages social data and technology. How does it work?

MeetSOCI scours the social web and aggregates data on the impact and results of social content. Much like Google has done for the Internet, MeetSOCI makes finding quality social content easier by leveraging data, combined with our proprietary scoring algorithms, to filter and distill social content — helping to sort through the clutter and noise.

The scoring is critical to our vision and solution. How does a post that received 10 Likes and 2 Comments compare to a post that received 4 Likes and 4 Comments? How can we make this easier for people managing social media channels so they can produce better quality content that actually resonates with their audience? That, after all, is the goal of social media. We built MeetSOCI to do just that by scoring social pages and posts on a universal and easy to understand 10 point scale.

3. Tell us how your typical customers use MeetSOCI

We have two types of customers, business owners and service providers. Business owners, or those who manage a business’ social media channels, use MeetSOCI to break through the monotony and noise of social media marketing. Our end users find that they are instantly able to increase the engagement on their posts because they are able to leverage proven content in their industry. Most of our users tend to have two “aha” moments — the first when they get increased engagement on their posts by using MeetSOCI, and the second when they get their first customer who walks in the door and says, “I found you on Facebook.”

Service Providers and agencies use MeetSOCI to provide an efficient, scalable and effective social media solution to their clients. They utilize the Content Center within MeetSOCI to quickly learn what is working in social media within an industry. This cuts the time of conducting initial research and finding quality content for the client from hours or even days to just minutes. Our partners also take advantage of MeetSOCI’s scored content library, which saves and scores all posts published through the platform and allows for them to be easily recalled later — creating a private library of scored and analyzed content for the service provider or agency.

4. What mistakes are companies making with social media?

Most companies are doing one of two things that are bad. First, they’re posting heavily for a month, maybe a few months, and then getting frustrated by the lack of results and giving up. This leads to a page with nothing new in months or even years making potential customers wonder if the company is even still in business. If there’s even a second’s hesitation, they’ll go with a competitor. With Facebook being the number two local search destination in the U.S., behind only Google Maps, this is increasingly important.

The other way that companies are making a mistake is by just going through the motions. I often get the question ‘How come nobody engages with my posts?” and I think, “Because you only post ‘check out our latest blog post,’ so what are people supposed to say?”

By just posting boring “check out our…” posts and bombarding users with promotional posts, companies end up going down a rabbit hole of reaching fewer and fewer users due to Facebook reach algorithms. Not all your fans see all of your posts, and the less engagement you get per post, the fewer people will see your subsequent posts — making engagement important to an effective social media marketing strategy.

5. SOCI was named a ‘COOL Company’ by the San Diego Venture Group. What’s next?

Being named a San Diego ‘COOL Company’ by SDVG was a big honor and we’re keeping the momentum going. One big announcement is that I will be speaking at BIA/Kelsey’s Leading in Local: SMB Digital Marketing conference in September. I will be on a panel speaking on social media’s shift of SMB Marketing & Commerce. We’re very excited as this is a huge conference in the industry and we’re looking forward to making waves with the MeetSOCI platform. Besides the BIA/Kelsey conference, we also are always innovating and releasing new features on MeetSOCI. We have the pedal to the metal when it comes to development and user experience as we always want to be improving our product.

Times of San Diego, a startup itself, regularly writes about startups in technology, biotech and other sectors of local business. If you are a startup in the San Diego area and want to tell your story, please contact news@timesofsandiego.com.

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