If you are looking for an inspiring story to go with your Saturday morning coffee or lunch break sandwich, stay with us. Today we are sharing an interview with Sameer Ahmed Khan, Co-founder & CEO of the Social Champ – an application that has made rescheduling our social media content smart & easy.
What inspired Social Champ?
Actually, it was an accident. It started out as a tool that I wanted to create to solve my problems, but as it turned out, many other people shared the same problems and were interested in my solution!
The story is this: I was totally focused on our startup “OuzelSystems”, and wasn’t much involved in social media. I didn’t really exist on Twitter. Most of my tweets were published after midnight, and therefore didn’t have practically any visibility. However, with time my strategy changed, and I started checking out my timeline to see who is tweeting on Twitter. Next I deleted my previous posts manually, and tweeted again so that a specific person could actually see my tweet. And it worked!
But I also wanted to learn, so I started reading. First on my list was “The Art of Social Media” by Guy Kawasaki & Peg Fitzpatrick, which gave me confidence that “The Art of Repeating” is a proven strategy. I quickly googled platforms that allowed republishing a post in a much quicker way – and found none that did. The results of my search were disappointing, and that’s when the idea of a small web app, which would allow me to repeat my tweets in a simple way came to my mind. I shared the idea with one of my close friends – Zohaib Ahmed Shakir – who promised to finish making such an app before my upcoming birthday and present it as a gift. So, we spent many a weekend together, working on my idea, an managed to finish before my birthday! Once it was ready, I shared it with an e-magazine “TechJuice” which later gave feedback that recommended using my app forever <3.
All this was very promising, so guess what I did next? I contacted Guy Kawasaki, asked for his feedback …and received his reply to my tweet and emails (actually, many of them). Eventually we added more features that users requested, and thus “Social Champ”, came into existence.
Now that I think of it, we never did have an official launch day – it was launched when I started using it for the first time, and since then it has been growing and evolving basing on user feedback.
I am also very proud to say, that “Social Champ” was also lucky enough to be mentioned by Guy Kawasaki in his presentation titled “How to Audit Your Personal Marketing”.
What makes Social Champ different?
We help users and brands to increase their audience reach by 75%. I know it’s a big claim, but we have stats to prove it.
The above screenshot is from a tweet repeated multiple times, you can see that each tweet got an average of 70 clicks. If a person doesn’t repeat their message, they miss their audience which is on Twitter at different hours. Ideally, we recommend to repeat a tweet 3 times, every 8 hours.
But that’s not all. There are many other “pain points” that we handle. For example, we allow a single social media profile to be added by multiple users, and to share their scheduled posts between each other. Maybe this feature doesn’t sound like something big, but it is really loved by our users. They now can manage both their personal accounts as well as add the brand accounts that they take care of.
We also have a very productive and simple to use Chrome extension. Imagine that you are reading an interesting article and want to share it on Facebook together with an image. The normal flow would be that you download the image and then upload it on Facebook. Social Champ’s Chrome extension allows users to share the image directly from the article they are reading. It shows an orange “Share” button that enables users to post or schedule it from the browser itself.
Screenshot of the Chrome extension’s quick & easy image sharing
We also allow users to search for quality content and add it to their collections, which makes it super quick to stay updated and share stories on social media. For example, I searched for “Openness Microsoft” and added it into my collections to keep myself updated.
Screenshot of the add-to-collection functionality
Thanks to this option I can check the latest stories from the “Microsoft Openess Blog” anytime I want to, and instantly share content on social media.
There’s more, but I think it would be best for you to try the app out before you decide what works for you. If you think something is missing or can be improved, shoot us an email. I assure you that we will answer within 48 hours!
Why is Azure important for Social Champ?
Azure is the backbone of our web application. We are utilizing Azure Blob Storage, Azure Virtual Machine, as well as Node.js Web Application, so scalability is not an issue anymore. Azure’s super friendly user interface makes it stand-out from its competitors out there.
We are also glad to be included in Microsoft’s BizSpark program. I’d like to thank the local DX Karachi Team in Pakistan for connecting me with the right people. They really are promoting a lot of startups from this region, especially Muhammad Hassan Raza is taking far measures to make useful introductions. The workshops, seminars and hackathons have really empowered many startups and University students in our region. This reminds me, we all were Microsoft Community Speakers, Former Student Partners, and hey, I was a Nokia Developer Champion too (equivalent to MVP).
What are your plans for Social Champ?
Our vision is to have one platform that is truly focused on providing one value, which is to make scheduling smart, easy and to save the time of social media managers. There are many platforms available on the market, so many, that users are confused in choosing the right platform for themselves due to only slight differentiation between them.
What I’m trying to say is that we are building something based only on the feedback we receive from professional social media experts and celebrities. All the upcoming features are exactly what they need and request, and we have a lot coming. For example, apart from the Chrome extension, soon we will have an iOS and Android app that will solve scheduling problems on Instagram. We also plan to have an Office 365 Connector app too – there really is so much more coming!
Any advice for future entrepreneurs?
I can tell you this: it’s a long & exciting journey, full of ups and downs. At first, I thought that building a startup would be cool, but in reality it’s more of a roller-coaster ride that was never tested. Remember, having your own business does not mean that you can come & go to your office anytime you feel like it, it’s more the other way round. You have to be more punctual, spend more time working, and… take more risks! But, at the end, it’s all worth it!
My motivation is to do something for my people & for this nation, this need has always kept pushing me further. It may seem very dreamy, but somehow I feel indebt and that drives me to give back to society. The skills that I acquired, the friends that accompany me on this journey, the teachers & mentors; I feel obliged to serve my society. For startups, money cannot be the ultimate motivation. There is more, there is something beyond that – a sense of accomplishment, that when you fade away from this world your product will last and serve the world – which is incomparable with anything else.