Startup uses social to get noticed, land deals

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ChartIQ develops Web and mobile stock charting software for individuals and brokers. The four-person startup both sells its products directly and licenses its software to retail brokerages and technology companies. But breaking in to a market where customers are such multibillion-dollar players as Ameritrade and eTrade isn't easy, said Dan Schleifer, ChartIQ's president and co-founder. To do so, ChartIQ needed to create a name for itself. Schleifer, who previously worked at larger companies like the Savo Group and Trustwave, turned to social media to get started. He began the process by identifying people within the finance and brokerage industries who were considered influential. "We wanted to find people who, if they said our name or retweeted a blog post or tweet, would get us in front of the right people," he said. The ChartIQ team then began contributing to the conversations those influencers were having on Twitter or their blogs. The goal was to get them to recognize ChartIQ employees as thought leaders in their own right, he said. This took a lot of listening, a skill Schleifer said he honed at his previous jobs. "After closing a sale, we'd take people out to lunch or do a 20-minute phone interview and specifically ask them the social questions: "Who do you follow? What blogs do you read?' " Another strategy he employed was getting in front of more industry and trade media contacts. One of his target publications was Forex Magnates, so he and his team got involved in the brand's on-site discussion forums, and retweeted and responded to its Twitter feed. Along the way, Schleifer was careful to avoid marketingspeak or posting just for the sake of posting. "You can see it all the time—marketers who are on social and not speaking in a natural or genuine voice," he said. "You won't get anywhere if you're out there pushing your own agenda too hard." From a metrics perspective, Schleifer said he focuses more on share of voice. "As much as we can we are trying to identify where our voices have resonance so we can choose the right social channels to spend our time on," he said. He's also merging social metrics with Web analytics to see what social links people are clicking on and assessing which channels provide the most stickiness and get people to spend the greatest amount of time on the ChartIQ website. So far, the strategy is working, Schleifer said, with the company's influence—and its leads and conversions—up significantly since the social campaign debuted. "Those things got us noticed by the people who run that [Forex Magnates] community," Schleifer said. "I can as a direct result point to individual Forex brokerage deals that we signed because we legitimately and genuinely had social relationships with media contacts."
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