Diederik Chevalier worked in the marketing department for Motorola in the 1990s when marketing was totally different. There was no Facebook, no Twitter. After that, he worked for his family’s printing business for 10 years, but by the end of that decade, technology had come a long way.
“I think, nobody had a cell phone when I started, and about 80 percent had a cell phone when I left,” he told SocialTimes.
This inspired Chevalier, who lives in Rotterdam, The Netherlands, to launch a social media marketing company called Somention.
“Social media is going to be everywhere, and people can’t live without it anymore, and that will always stay,” he said.
But Chevalier explained to SocialTimes that when working with some clients, he found they weren’t interested in social media and didn’t want to be involved. He wanted to figure out a way to make social media more tangible for CEOs and their employees. However, when he was looking for solutions, he didn’t find anything that would show posts on screens beyond Facebook and Twitter.
Chevalier, along with two business partners (his brother Michiel and Luis Abreu), in March launched in private beta SocialWally, an online platform that lets businesses and marketers bring together social media posts from 12 social networks (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Tumblr, Klout, Foursquare, YouTube, RSS, Pinterest, Flickr, and SlideShare) and display them on a high-definition screen.
Breaking News: Next week, SocialWally will also be able to bring in social media posts from Livestream, an online platform that lets people record and view live video.
Businesses should have a high-definition (1920 X 1280 or larger) or Google TV to display social media posts with SocialWally, in addition to a computer that connects to the TV that uses the Chrome browser. Or SocialWally can be displayed directly on a computer screen.
SocialWally, which since June has seen 5,000 users participate in the 30-day free trial, was originally designed to be used in business entrances, sales offices, and back offices. However, Chevalier found that people are finding other uses for it as well, even at weddings.
“It can be for the visitors in your office, or if you have a shop or bar or restaurant, when people are at that moment offline,” he said. Or it can be used to help employees get motivated at businesses. “Social media for a business of course is more interactive if you have employees who are enthusiastic for it.”
Chevalier explained that he has faced two challenges with the launch of SocialWally, one being API changes from social media companies. “Within one night, all the Twitter accounts closed everywhere with everybody,” he said, adding that Facebook also changed its API. “It’s easy to add apps, but it’s of course more difficult to monitor them and see that there are not great changes in it.”
Also, Chevalier thought offices would have leftover LED screens lying around; however, that hasn’t always been the case.
“It’s easier to make SocialWally than to arrange the hardware,” he said. “That’s still a little bit our biggest challenge.”
According to Chevalier, recently, there was a soccer match in The Netherlands, and there was a big screen at the event. Chevalier set up SocialWally’s Instagram app and gave access to four or five reporters who were taking photos during the game.
“You saw a slide show with all the current pictures happening right now from different fields,” said Chevalier.
In addition, for another client, Chevalier set up a private Instagram account for salespeople who are on the road, so they can take photos while they’re out on sales calls, and broadcast them back to the main office.