Interview with SocialYell

-Social Yell Icon-SocialYell is a recently launched site designed to provide online promotional tools for organizations and non-profits. From profiles to forums, SocialYell helps individuals find organizations they’re looking for while providing a media distribution tool for the organizations themselves. A large part of what SocialYell is aiming to do is extend discussion platforms for people to converse about a particular organization, whether it’s to determine a plan of action for an event or to merely raise awareness.

While the SocialYell site is new, the concept behind it has been around for some time. I did an interview with SocialYell founder David Rostan to learn a bit more about the site and to hear about the ways in which SocialYell is looking to stand apart from the crowd.

Kristen Nicole: What is SocialYell?

SocialYell is a social media community that enables individuals and organizations to discuss, discover and promote socially responsible, environmentally progressive and globally aware businesses and organizations. It is a directory for socially and environmentally responsible organizations and it is a forum for discussing and rating those organizations.

Conversations, voting and rating in the SocialYell community make businesses accountable and rewards social and environmental responsibility – benefiting consumers, organizations, businesses and society. SocialYell users raise their voices to make organizations and business better global citizens.

Kristen Nicole: What are your objectives in regards to creating a communication platform for social impact organizations?

The one objective of SocialYell is to improve the positive social impact of organizations. That objective has several underlying drivers. Those include –

1) giving organizations a credible way to participate in a user-driven community (SocialYell memberships and participation rules)

2) avoiding “greenwashing” or other truth-obscuring tactics (open discussion and transparency)

3) promoting organizations that are socially and environmentally aware and responsible (“Yell” and Rate).

Kristen Nicole: Tell me about some of the key features that you employ for helping organizations get the word out?

The primary way for organizations to get the word out through SocialYell is to participate in the community – do good things and talk about them on SocialYell. This puts the right message in front of the right audience. Additionally, SocialYell provides a comprehensive picture of social responsibility within its five social categories and the score(s) can be easily communicated to and understood by consumers through the organizations traditional PR and marketing communications.

SocialYell will also work with our Corporate/Organization Members to promote them to our network on other social platforms (Facebook, twitter, etc.).

Getting the word out, however, is far from the only benefit of SocialYell for organizations. Organizations are using SocialYell to find best practices for social responsibility in business, non-profit or other areas. They area also using it not just for outreach, but also for intake – finding out about sentiment before it affects sales, support, donations or relationsips.

Kristen Nicole: And what about the features you offer to end users?

Users come to SocialYell for many reasons. One of the first is to find socially responsible organizations. SocialYell has a robust advanced search feature that users can use it to identify either “good” or “bad” organizations in any social category. Users can narrow by locality, tag and number of “Yells” (a key element to find organizations that are not only highly rated but judged to be very impactful by the community).

Users can, of course, add organizations, comment and discuss them as often as the like, rate their actions and “Yell” the discussions they feel are rich and important. Users who participate in this way will form the backbone of the site content and community.

Forums enable users to host discussions on important social or ecological topics that do not link to a particular organization.

Kristen Nicole: There are a good amount of other services that seek to give social impact organizations a voice. How are you different from the others?

Several key differentiators are:

1) In the environmental and social responsibility area, SocialYell is the only user-focused social community that invites organizations to openly participate, so both users and organizations work together to not only determine which organizations are socially responsible (thru discussion, rating and voting), but also to help organizations become more socially responsible (thru discussion and interaction).

2) The combination of voting and rating enables users to assess both quality and magnitude. e.g. a rating of 5 says the business is responsible and 25 “Yells” says that the community thinks the discussion is important, accurate and robust.

3) Having multiple (five) social categories gives a complete view of social responsibility and does not punish great organizations to which certain categories may not apply.

Kristen Nicole: Do you have any social networking integration with sites and platforms such as Facebook?

We have a presence on Facebook and Twitter and we use those to spread the message about SocialYell’s mission and discuss organizations that are featured on SocialYell. We have plans for applications that let users participate from other platforms, but we are gathering user feedback and input on our mission and goals before we finalize how those widgets and integrations will work.