Do you ever feel like you deserve a little cash from all the work you put into your social media presence? Maybe you don’t expect cash, but a reward, just some sort of fruit for your social labor would be nice. With Sharesi.es this is a reality. Sharesi.es, is a social media platform that allows you to upload pictures, music, and other postings in return for rewards from their network of reward partners. Whether its Ghirardelli, Domino, Acer or Stub Center, you can continue your normal habitual tendencies to over-post on social media, except this time you’ll have more of a reason to.
AlleyWatch chatted with founder and CEO Russell Craig about the ins-and-outs of Sharesi.es and how they are planning on becoming a contender in the social media sphere.
Tell us about the product or service.
Sharesi.es (pronounced like selfies) is a brand new social networking app that gives users rewards when they share pictures and videos. Our users get free products and discounts on brands like Ghirardelli Chocolate, Butcher Box, Sally Beauty Supply, Contiki travel when they share. In total, we have over 60 other brands and retailers giving rewards to our users so far. All for sharing content through social media.
At the same time, advertisers are getting access to more likely customers with less advertising waste. Sharesi.es users are looking for rewards and offers, so that they can make online purchases. This is very different from the display advertising business that is more equity and awareness driving. Sharesi.es is about purchase conversion.
How is it different?
We are used to sharing our lives on social media, Sharesi.es isn’t changing the way we do that. We are just adding a rewards component. We are saying that social media should be a two-way street, where users are given something back for sharing their content.
What market are you attacking and how big is it?
The app is available for iPhone and Android in the US only. That is driven by our focus on this market and US advertisers. With success in this market, we would look to become available in additional countries. According to the Pew Research Center, around 2/3rds of US Adults are using social networks.
What is the business model?
Sharesi.es makes money when our users like the rewards they receive and make purchases on the advertiser’s website. We are also working on specific branded campaigns to drive product trial through in-app and live events.
What inspired the business?
Russell, the app’s founder, has been working in marketing and advertising for over 10 years. He feels the current advertising model is broken and generates a lot of waste. Display ads, ads within social media feeds, commercials that interrupt the viewing experience… These create disruptions in the user’s social media viewing experience. These are all removed from the Sharesi.es experience. Users can browse through social media posts without advertising interruptions. The advertising we do share, through rewards, can be saved or ignored based on the user’s preference. It gives more control of the advertising experience to the user.
What is exciting is that users are loving the rewards and the opportunity to get something back for sharing content. More than 75% of our new users return to share again in the app, perhaps due to the incentive of sharing and receiving rewards. We have received many testimonials already about the usefulness of the rewards and how our users were able to do something fun or buy something new because of what they got from the Sharesi.es app – all for sharing a picture or video they wanted to tell the world about.
Are you concerned about authenticity in your platform given the incentivization structure?
We of course want users to post authentic content that they would on any other social media platform like Instagram or Facebook. There is a lot of psychology behind what users share. We all know what we share on social media goes out in to the universe and it has our name on it. Therefore sharing on our platform has the same ownership as other platforms. Sharesi.es is also integrated with Facebook, so users can still share to their other social networks, while getting rewards through our app first.
What are the milestones that you plan to achieve within six months?
We are quite small at the time, and so our goal is just to continue proving the concept and growing our user and rewards offering roster. Our goal is to get to 10,000 users in the next 6 months. That will help show some larger advertisers we are the real deal and worth giving rewards to our growing user base! It would also be great to get an investor or two involved – as the app is currently self-funded.
What is the one piece of startup advice that you never got?
There is probably a lot of advice we can still use because we’re new and we’re all ears to any and all advice. Perhaps the advice we need to hear the most is how to create a habit. We want to put an app in to the universe that is beneficial to users and brands, that keeps people involved and excited. We’ll be looking in to ways to continuously improve the app experience and offering, so that users can really love browsing what is being shared, and sharing content on Sharesi.es to get great rewards.
If you could be put in touch with anyone in the New York community who would it be and why?
AlleyWatch founder Reza Chowdhury, seems like a fantastic person to get to speak with given his work with startups. We’d love to pick his brain! Additionally, any app developers and other startups that have been small and grown in New York City, to hear their advice and missteps we should try and avoid. We’d also love to speak with members of the investment community that may be able to guide us in this early stage.
Why did you launch in New York?
This is one of the best cities in the world and for sure the best in the US. We wouldn’t want to be anywhere else in the US to get started. There is so much going on that is share-able and we’re creating new memories and experiences every day. Our local users post some fantastic content from their daily lives here!
What’s your favorite restaurant in the city?
Eataly is my favorite restaurant and marketplace in Manhattan. They have really captured the European feel without having to take a plane. Every restaurant I’ve tried within is amazing. The fresh food marketplace, believe it or not, has reasonable prices if you’re planning to cook at home. Entrepreneurs can get their caffeine fix at the authentic stand-up coffee bar. I love it!