A promising new start-up company, run partly by three ACU graduates, aims to help businesses track their influence and content on social media.
SocialRest was founded by Clay Selby, a 2011 ACU graduate with a degree in IT entrepreneurship. He pitched the original idea for the company in Nov. 2012 at a conference for start-up businesses in San Antonio.
Brad Neathery, a 2011 graduate with a degree in marketing, was the second ACU alum to join the SocialRest team, officially signing on in July 2013.
“I saw what Clay was doing, and I saw Christ in what they were doing,” he said. “I contacted him and asked if he had an opening.”
The third ACU grad to join the SocialRest team was Braxton Huggins, a 2010 international studies graduate.
Neathery and Huggins said their education at ACU helped them in their pursuit for success with SocialRest.
“COBA was by far one of the biggest factors in understanding how to be a Christian marketer,” Neathery said. “It was instrumental in finding a balance between being a missionary and a businessman.”
Huggins said the Study Abroad program was a valuable part of his education.
“The experience I gained through Study Abroad really let me see how people communicate,” he said. “You can see an international strategy for what people can relate to.”
SocialRest was originally a service designed to talk to social media for developers, but Selby said the broad approach was a “trajectory for failure.”
Selby and his team decided instead of acting as a go-between for web developers and social media sites, they could serve a particular need for a specific type of web developer – publishers.
“We build tools that measure how users engage with a publisher’s content on social media,” Neathery said. “First, we want to know if it’s re-shared. Second, we want to know if they come back. How are they engaging the content now? Are they making purchases?”
“We can capture information about a publisher’s content being shared, and we can understand how the content influences conversion – decision to purchase, follow, retweet – on social media,” Selby said. “What it drills down to is, who are the users? What are they sharing? What are their comments?”
Although the core team retains jobs outside of SocialRest, Selby said he would be leaving his job as a developer for the United Services Automobile Association (USAA) to work at SocialRest full-time.
“Right now we’re actively seeking investment,” he said. “We’re working on our customers, trying to serve to the best of our ability.”
Neathery said he saw God constantly at work in SocialRest.
“Doors have opened for us that wouldn’t have opened otherwise,” he said. “We’re doing everything the books say is wrong, and it’s working because He’s working. We’re not going to step in His way.”
“In business, God is an aggressive creature,” Neathery said. “He’s very counter-cultural in every sense of the word.”