By @SimonCocking image above by Steve Johnson cc 2.0. Interview with Finn Macleod from ZenLikeFocus.

Describe the company – the elevator pitch …

Using Zenlikefocus we build our clients a focused Twitter following. Twitter is a great place for new clients, but it can be noisy. So we filter for the right people to reach out to on Twitter with some carefully designed algorithms. This allows the client to concentrate on producing the right content, knowing that it will be seen by the right people.

How are you different?

Zenlikefocus uses a number of checks to verify the right accounts to follow. We use data outside of Twitter to check a potential account, and we can get really granular, like job title and industry area. This kind of stuff has more in common with fraud prevention algorithms, so can improve the performance of a marketing managers, as well as save them time.

Why will the company / product do well?

The jury is still out on just how much Twitter signals affect SEO but Twitter is certainly well indexed by Google. Whatever people say about Twitter, it is where all the journalists hang out, and it has a great culture where it is acceptable to reach out to new people.

Any company that is serious about its marketing has a Twitter presence. Zenlikefocus just makes growing that presence easier, and more targeted. We’re easy to set up, save a lot of people time and money, and it does what it says on the tin.

What do you do to help people grow their twitter profile?

We try a number of approaches, and evolve the strategy depending on which approach gets the best return. For the more local businesses, following “friends of friends” gets great engagement. However targeting a specific profession, reacting to keywords or following competitors followers can all work. It varies depending on the business – so our algorithm tests multiple approaches, and focuses on the best.

Where are you based?

We have team members in London, Dublin and Cork.

Tell us about your team?

We’re all out of Trinity College Dublin, but spread over several years. The team is made up of computer science, theoretical physics and maths grads from Trinity College Dublin, so we’re all pretty nerdy. I’ve always been inspired by Shane Evans, founder of Scraping Hub, who runs a 120 person distributed team incredibly effectively (and with minimal office costs:). ZenLikeFocus is much smaller, but is also incredibly efficient; we just need to keep on top of hardware scaling issues and then we can get on with thinking about how to optimise the Twitter math. We often meet clients in person if they’re in London, Dublin or Cork, otherwise we just do a Skype call.

When was the company launched?

Zenlikefocus was launched December 2015, so is a really new product. That said, we’ve been doing projects in the social analytics space for years in both an academic and a commercial sense. These ideas had their origins in a project we did for Thomson Reuters several years ago to analyse key influencers at the Dublin Web Summit.

What came out of this, what sort of people did you analyse, what did you learn from it?

I ended up having a funny late night conversation with Paddy Cosgrave, founder of the Web Summit, about the project. What amazed me is just how many data scientists the, ex-Dublin:) Web Summit employs, to do this kind of social analysis. Crunching the numbers allows them to focus their resources better on the right key influencers, and grow much faster than anyone else.

What have been your biggest wins to date?

Getting our first digital clients. We used the tool, to sell the tool. Boom! A chain reaction 🙂

What type of people (market segment) are you trying to attract to Zenlikefocus?

We’re a time saving tool for marketing managers. But we’d be useful for anyone that wants to build a focused Twitter following ­ small business owners, social media folk, startups, authors etc. The startup use case is really nice; if you switch Zenlikefocus on when you start building your product, by the time you’re finished, you’ll have a solid twitter following.

 

What are you long term plans for Zenlikefocus?

We’re looking to replicate what we do on Twitter with Instagram, as well as building some very cool ways to visualise your Twitter following. This is the way to immediately understand the keyword ecosystem around a particular business area.

What are your favourite tech gadgets?

It would have to be the Tasker app, for Android. You can customise any action on your phone to trigger any other action. My favourite is getting my to do list to automatically display when I unlock the phone. A close second is to engage airplane mode when I turn my phone face down.

 

You’ve only sent 48 tweets and have 500 followers on twitter, how are you going to convince clients that you eat your own dog food?

We’ve already got sales through those 500 followers. And that’s the point – its not about the numbers, its about the targeting. We grow our own (or a clients) account followers by around 10-20 a day. Its not a high volume marketing channel, but it does save a lot of time.


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