Stackla co-founders Peter Cassidy and Damien Mahoney. Source: News Corp.
Social media start-up Stackla isn’t exactly a household name in Australia but business has never been better for the Sydney-based company. Making money from social media isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but Stackla founders Damien Mahoney and Peter Cassidy have managed to get into the game at just the right time.
Aggregation lies at the heart of the start-up's business model: Stackla puts all the social media chatter about a particular brand under one roof, where it can then be curated to provide a tailor-made social media experience. It’s brand management for the social age, where brand equity and the attendant advertising dollars are migrating from physical channels to digital ones.
This is a journey that Mahoney knows all too well, given the time he has spent as a digital journalist. As Google began to dominate the digital landscape, Mahoney says the message was already pretty clear: money was being stripped out of traditional channels and moving to digital ones.
Mahoney and Cassidy started on their path to building Stackla when they founded a standard digital agency that offering traditional web services. But they were quick to pick up on the enormous potential of social media -- especially for sporting organisations.
“We started working with NRL teams and saw how social media was starting to take off; the clubs were putting a lot of effort into social but the aggregation element was missing,” Mahoney says. “There was great content out there but the challenge was to get it across to a market that wasn’t glued to social media.”
Providing a curation platform that facilitates that connection has allowed Stackla to keep adding to its burgeoning client list. Stackla’s stable of clients is a veritable who’s who of iconic global brands, including sporting royalty like Manchester United, whose new social hub is powered by the company. A partnership with the Commonwealth Games is the latest feather in Stackla's cap.
But giving clients the tools to create their own social media narrative is just one aspect of what has made Stackla so successful. Mahoney says the real magic is in facilitating customers to write brands' stories for them. Content marketing may be the bread and butter of every brand, he says, but there’s no stronger endorsement than the one volunteered by a satisfied customer.
It's a dynamic that applies to just about any business engaging with consumers on social channels, and Mahoney suggests that the next big window of opportunity lies in the retail sector and social commerce. Stackla is currently working with Myer, Michael Hill and Apparel Group (SABA).
Mahoney says that while social media is already used a lot by retailers, it doesn’t necessarily deliver the traffic they're after. The key reason for this discrepancy, he says, is the message -- it needs to be far more nuanced than the promotion of the next bargain-basement price drop.
Customers want context, and Mahoney says this is where the ability to let satisfied users become brand ambassadors -- irrespective of the social network they use -- becomes important. “We try to provide the retailer with a host of compelling product endorsements to give a customer a lot more context, and more importantly stick around," he says.
In an online world where engagement and ‘stickiness’ are important measures of success, the business of curating user generated content looks set to deliver a lot more good news for Stackla.