Closely, a social marketing technolgy company created and run by the founder of MapQuest and Jabber, has released version 2.0 of its Perch mobile application -- which lets your organization keep tabs on what the social sphere is saying about your brand, product or services.
The biggest change is that the application isn't just focused on activity related to your own company: it can help your team watch how your competition is faring, which might help them adjust or refine their own messaging and activities.
"The premise is the concept of creating a bird's eye view of your business neighbor, so you can stay in the know," said Perry Evans, founder and CEO of Closely.
Perch 2.0 includes a complete user interface overhaul, and a real-time stream of posts pulled from sources including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, Yelp, Foursquare and various deal sites such as Groupon or Living Social. It offers reports that analyze social reach, providing a MarketPlace Graph that compares a company to its competition (expressed as a Watchlist) when it comes to social activity, promotional offers, consumer reviews and photo posts.
The application (available for Apple iOS and Android) is free. But if you decide to take action on an update or a suggestion that the app makes, you might wind up paying for resources that help your company rectify the situation. To that end, Closely has assembled a series of partners with services that help do this, including Constant Contact, Dudamobile and GoDaddy. More partnerships are in the offing.
"SMBs know that digital marketing is mission-critical, but the noise is deafening, and they just don't have time to sort it all out," Evans said. "Our approach is unique -- we start by improving everyday productivity through personalized local intelligence and then serve up insights into their competitive position that the SMB can immediately apply to their digital marketing."
Closely is signing up between 8,000 and 10,000 new small businesses per month for the Perch application, and Evans said its target is to reach 100,000 companies by mid-2014, and 250,000 by the end of the year. "We are comfortably on pace with that," he said.
Most of the small businesses using Perch to track their social reputations will have about seven or eight competitors on their Watchlist, generating an average of 30 activities per month, Evans estimated.