02 Jan 2019 | 03.34 pm
Interview: Stephen O’Leary, Olytico
His Social Media Wall might suit your reception area
02 Jan 2019 | 03.34 pm
There’s a lot of comment on social media networks. Stephen O’Leary’s Olytico sorts the wheat from the chaff for corporate clients
Olytico tracks and analyses a company’s life on social media channels, seeing what marketing campaigns are working, what customers are saying about them, the firm’s share of voice relative to competitors and so on.
It then parses the data into weekly, monthly or quarterly reports for its clients, depending on the extent of their social media presence.
Olytico was established by Stephen O’Leary (35) in 2009 and clients include Liberty Insurance, Electric Ireland and media buyer Mindshare. Operating company O’Leary Analytics Ltd had net worth of €94,000 at the end of 2017, when seven people were on the payroll.
O’Leary is pinning his growth hopes on Olytico’s Social Media Wall. This comprises an aggregated display of social media posts from various platforms, and Web Summit uses it at its events. Price plans range from €500 a day to €1,000 pay-as-you-go monthly rate.
O’Leary’s career journey took him through journalism, sales and web design before Olytico, and he also lectures on journalism in Griffith College Dublin. He says the idea for Olytico was born out of frustration.
“I spent two years working in a software firm,” her recalls. “We were selling great software but clients wanted a hybrid approach; they wanted a service as well as a software solution. There’s only so long that an entrepreneur can hear about a problem before they try creating something to fix it.”
O’Leary worked on ideas for a business compiling insights-based analyses of social media content. Part of that process would involve creating proprietary software, O’Leary reasoned.
“The biggest challenge was learning we didn’t need to do it all,” he explains. “In lots of cases, there are excellent providers of general social or data services.
“In our early days, we tried to replicate this, instead of focusing on where we bring most value – the categorisation, analysis, insights and delivery. We now work with a range of excellent partners to collect data. Our engineering efforts focus on what happens to this data once we have it. It’s about how to deliver as much value as possible for our clients.”
Establishing Olytico in the teeth of the recession didn’t concern O’Leary, who saw more opportunity than risk. “In 2009, the economy was certainly a challenge but office space was plentiful and there was a lot of talent too. As well as this, lots of companies were looking at small startups to provide them with services, due to the costs associated with using the big enterprise solutions.”
There are four aspects in Olytico’s business model. The firm provides real-time social media monitoring, retrospective social media reporting, the social media wall and news media monitoring.
“The largest part of our business is the reporting and insights-driven services we offer. In the last 12 months, the demand for the Social Media Wall has increased beyond all our expectations,” says O’Leary. “We spent 18 months on R&D for the social media wall and that process is ongoing. User feedback has been very positive.”
Social Media Wall clients tend to use it in-house, in company canteens, boardrooms or other areas where employees gather. The social media feed is moderated either by the company marketing team or Olytico (for an extra fee).
“With businesses on social media, staff who work in the marketing and communications teams are very familiar with how the brand is projected and received,” says O’Leary, as he warms up his sales pitch.
“But if you work in sales, customer care or senior management, you might miss a lot of that on social. The Social Media Wall brings those positive social media mentions to the entire company, in a moderated way.”
O’Leary sees further traction for his Social Media Wall reception areas, where if there is AV screen it’s usually tuned to Sky News on mute. “The screens are there and can be used to display really good content. Once the Social Media Wall is live and moderated, the content will cycle through. It’s not like the brand is selling itself – it’s more about looking at all of their happy customers.”
Olytico’s bread-and-butter trade is social media monitoring reports. “Our reports are produced by an analyst in collaboration with the client. Some clients are interested in sentiment, others in share of voice. More will want to know about engagement, while others will request their own proprietary analytics included. We can cater for all that.”
The go-to social media platform for most businesses is Twitter, says O’Leary. “There are a number of reasons for this. One is that Twitter is a public network, while Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn are private. Twitter is also the network of choice for customer complaints, and it’s where people go to share their reactions to live events.
“Over the last 12 months, we’ve seen much more expectation from consumers on Twitter that brands are listening. The level of conversation on Twitter about our clients is increasing each year. A lot of these are indirect mentions of the brand or product, as opposed to direct @ mentions or official hashtag conversations.”
Olytico recently secured funding from Dublin City Local Enterprise Office to help it expand. O’Leary says that the cash is being used to develop Olytico’s website and hire more staff.
“Dublin City LEO also provided us with access to a mentor who was pivotal in transforming our approach to financial planning, forecasting and cashflow,” he adds.