Trapit, the combined company created from last year’s merger of startups Addvocate and Trapit, is unveiling the main result of that merger today — a set of tools for “employee advocacy and social selling” that includes features from both companies.
In other words, Trapit now offers a product where you can find relevant content (as you could in the original Trapit) and then pass it on to your employees for sharing on social media (as you could in Addvocate).
Co-founder and CEO Hank Nothhaft, Jr. gave me a demo of the new product, which divides teams into two groups. There are the curators, who create “traps” to find stories around different topics, and they go through those traps to select the content that they want other employees to share. Then there are the advocates, who receive recommendations from the curators, either through the Trapit website, iOS app or email digest, and can share as they see fit.
Advocates can of course personalize the posts, and they can set up a timer so that different posts go up throughout the day.
Nothhaft contrasted Trapit’s approach with other employee advocacy products, which he said don’t have real content-curation technology. Finding the stories and videos worth sharing is particularly important, he argued, so that employees can create “a differentiated stream of content that’s valuable and interesting, not just more yelling into the echo chamber with something that everyone’s seen a million times already.”
He also emphasized the idea of “authenticity,” a word that he acknowledged is overused: “The term ‘authenticity’ is losing its authenticity.” Nonetheless, he argued that Trapit increases authenticity (defined in this case as “removing layers of abstraction between the buyer and the seller”) by allowing employees to promote their companies without turning into complete “corporate shills.”
Still, when I think about authenticity, employees sharing content recommended by their social media teams isn’t the first thing that comes to mind. Nothhaft said that like any “flexible system,” Trapit can be used in the wrong ways, but he’s hopeful that we won’t see many cases where employees just share everything blindly.
“This is voluntary, right?” he added. “It’s not compulsory. Everything’s posted to your own account and it’s hopefully on your own behalf.”
Nothhaft also said that Trapit has declined to work with some “less progressive, stodgier” companies that only want to share white papers and other content that they’ve created themselves.
“That’s just their worldview; they don’t believe in curated content,” he said. “We opt out of those opportunities. There are so many companies that do embrace this that we can’t waste our time.”
Customers already using new the tools include Microsoft, Everbank, HD Vest Financial and SGI.
Oh, and since I had Nothhaft on the phone, I also asked him about his new job title. He was originally chief product officer of the combined company, but he was named CEO last month after the departure of the previous chief executive, Gary Griffiths. Nothhaft described this as “a mutual decision,” reached after examining how the product would need to evolve.