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As part of Vodafone’s #Firsts initiative, we take a look at burgeoning start-ups that will change the face of technology. First up: Socius.

At Highsnobiety we’re always on the lookout for new technologies that make it easy and entertaining to discover the countless products released regularly. In collaboration with Vodafone #Firsts, we came across a Berlin start-up by the name of Socius. To learn more about the innovative platform, we spoke to Socius’ Co-Founder and CEO, Daniel Butler.

Read our interview below and try out Socius for yourself here.

Please introduce yourself.

I’m Daniel Butler, Co-Founder and CEO of Socius. My background is as a graphic designer, interactive art director, art curator and concept developer. Prior to forming Socius I worked in creative agencies in Oslo and Amsterdam delivering digital 360 experiences for brands.

How does Socius work?

Socius is a web app built for brands to easily collect, curate and showcase the best brand related content from social media into an engaging social hub. The software collects content through a combination of specific user accounts and hashtags plus some algorithmic magic. Our social hubs are responsive for cross device browsing, all content is fully interactive retaining the original functionality, and beyond being integrated into a brand’s web page they can be shown at POS and out of home with our Live Social Wall animated display mode.

Where did the idea originally come from?

We read a Mashable article titled “How to follow New York fashion week online.” This was basically just a huge list of social media accounts; far from a NYFW experience. With our backgrounds in advertising and branding we built our first ever social hub: facesofnyfw.com giving fashionistas everywhere a VIP pass.  We received a ton of enquiries from brands wishing for their own social hub and realized there was a huge gap in the market to reinvent social media for brand communication.

What was the inspiration behind the design?

Both my co-founders are Norwegian and we are driven by Scandinavian design principles: simple, functional, beautiful. We believe this helps us to provide a premium user experience for our clients and their users delivering the power of social media without the confines of the format.

As part of Vodafone #Firsts, where do you see Socius’ role in the increasingly saturated digital platform market? Is Socius only for businesses or for individual users as well?

This increased saturation is exactly the reason why we exist! According to Mark Zuckerberg the amount we share is doubling each year. Smart curation platforms like ours will be increasingly necessary to make great content accessible from the noise. Although we label ourselves a B2B company our platform can be used by individuals who are brands in themselves – musicians, artists, bloggers VIPs and celebrities.

What sort of relationship are you aiming to foster between brands and customers?

The beauty of our platform is that unlike traditional advertising channels it works not only for the benefit of the brand but also the consumer. Social hubs provide entertainment by giving consumers access to high-quality content typically lost in the noise. It also gives consumers social currency when their moments are featured by brands with much larger followings than themselves. Brands using our platform are able to deliver powerful authentic stories 24/7/365 dramatically reducing the need for costly and time consuming content creation. Drop a social hub into an e-commerce environment and a brand gives proof that your ass will look great in those jeans!

Socius was named one of the “Top Digital Innovations at Fashion Week,” how do you see Socius interacting with brands and designers down the road?

We definitely see consumer facing fashion brands as being the early adopters of our platform as they already have such a visually engaged audience. Brands that are running Instagram content can use Socius to take their campaign across multiple social networks and visualize their ambassadors in a brand safe environment. We envision that social hubs are the future of brand home pages.

Socius is comprised of the Web Social Hub, Live Social Wall and Socius Dashboard. Can you explain the differences between the three?

The dashboard is the control center for the hub. Here you can easily manage the content you wish to publish and interact directly with users from different networks to drive awareness. Our social hubs can be integrated into a brand’s web page by either embedding or CNAMING and if they want to display their hub out of door or in stores they can use our animated Live Social Wall display mode.

How can brands use Socius in a live setting? For instance, at a fashion show?

Our Live Social Wall display mode is great for generating buzz at events. This works hand in hand with the web social hub which extends the reach of physical events to a much larger online audience. In retail environments and POS a social hub can keep customers in the stores longer and connect communities across geographies.

Does Socius have a practical purpose outside of brand promotion and curation?

Absolutely! Our social hubs can be used by publishers to deliver stories around topics of interest. This can be for entertainment or for spreading knowledge of a significant event.

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