A word about categories
I am often asked what category of software Zapnito fits into. People like categories. They make things easier to understand. At times, we have been put in the Marketing Tech category, the Ed Tech category and the Publishing Platform category, among others. But we are not a content management system, a learning management system or even a knowledge management platform. Those categories are archaic, in my humble opinion.
When we set out to build Zapnito, we did not anticipate being part of the 'Community Software' / 'Collaboration Software' category. But that is what happened. So, I accept we are in this category of Community and Collaboration. And that is great, but we see ourselves trying to do something different to traditional providers in this space.
And so what if we fit into all of these categories or none of them? It doesn't really matter that much. What is important is that we want to solve a problem; we want to reconnect trusted brands and their experts with their customers.
We took inspiration from a few things early on. The first thing we observed was the convergence between the business services and media sectors, where services firms were becoming content providers and media firms were providing services. This created a new space in the market for a tool for those forward-thinking firms that enabled them to do both, well.
At the same time, the social media sphere with all its Twitter Trolls and Fake News and Cat Videos was doing our heads in. I mean, literally. True expertise was being lost in the noise.
Meanwhile, traditional business models were being disrupted by what I call the 'Mercenary Economy' (or Gig Economy if you are hip.) The mobile workforce, or the mercenaries, are ruling the roost. And it is very hard to tell who the true experts are in this environment.
The best curators of expertise are the ones who have been doing it for decades or even centuries. They are the ones that know who to trust and who to engage.
Facebook doesn't know how to do this and neither does Google or LinkedIn.
Our clients are the trusted brands. And this matters, this trust.
Our focus on trusted expertise, we think, differentiates Zapnito in the Community and Collaboration space.
So, what makes Zapnito different?
1. The experts are at the top of the food chain when it comes to our platform. They are the leaders in the conversation. Our clients know exactly who they are and how to leverage them. Without a hierarchy of expertise, you have just noise: look at Twitter (really just another community platform). In some respects this is why Twitter was so powerful in the beginning. But its success may become its demise.
2. At Zapnito, we believe that delivering an expert network is about delivering a product. Something that has staying power and evolves and creates new revenue and/or value streams for our clients. Traditional communities are too often add-ons to 'core' products that quickly become afterthoughts. We work with our customers to ensure this doesn't happen.
3. In the Community and Collaboration space, a lot of companies focus on features designed to drive 'engagement'. There is a fine line to walk between building features that truly drive engagement and those that simply create more noise. When it comes to engagement, it is easy to focus on volume of interactions rather quality of interactions and we always strive for the latter.
4. What happens within our clients' networks and - increasingly - across their networks is critical to their value. The data connections between experts and their expertise are starting to enable our clients to see connections and identify influencers that are very hard to gauge in traditional community models. (Watch out for more from Zapnito on this topic soon...)
As we evolve our thinking and products, we are going to be thinking a lot about 'Going Beyond Communities'.
What does this mean? It means more networking features, more focus on expertise and more intelligence around data. More tools and dashboards for our clients to see how their experts and content are connected.
We'd love to hear from you on how we can help you move Beyond Communities. Contact me or comment below.