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This article was published on May 24, 2012

Celebs are great, but brands might be even better: Socialcam grabs the OWN Network

Celebs are great, but brands might be even better: Socialcam grabs the OWN Network
Drew Olanoff
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Drew Olanoff

Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for onlin Drew Olanoff was The Next Web's West Coast Editor. He coined the phrase "Social Good" and invented the "donation by action" model for online charitable movements. He founded #BlameDrewsCancer. You can follow him on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, or email [email protected]

The latest trends for startups, specifically mobile applications, is to attract celebrities with big followings to their platform. So far, it has worked for companies like Instagram, Mobli, Viddy, and Socialcam.

While celebs bring a select audience, depending on how young, old, and rabid those fans are, brands can grab much more attention, since they appeal to a wider set of people. For “products” that entertain us, feed us, and make a true difference in our daily lives, joining social networks is a way to engage their consumers.

Socialcam is on a tear lately, bringing the Brooklyn Nets onto its platform, and announcing a whole slew of new brands who have joined Socialcam to share content with fans. Most notably, Oprah’s television network OWN has joined the site to share previously unreleased content with its viewers. Its first video is a teaser for the network’s summer season.

In addition to OWN, it looks like sports teams are taking a liking to Socialcam as well. Joining the Brooklyn Nets are the Milwaukee Bucks, New York Jets, and Philadelphia 76ers.

If you watch commercials these days, a lot of companies are directing viewers to their Facebook pages. It’s a complete shift towards trying to engage potential customers immediately, rather than send them to a boring website or simply asking for their dollars upfront. People want to interact with who they’re buying from.

It’s not just sports though, as Socialcam now counts these various brands as users: Discovery Shark Week, Meow Mix, Brisk, Sierra Mist, General Electric, Kibbles ‘n Bits, and LIPTON Iced Tea.

We spoke with Socialcam’s CEO Michael Seibel about this trend and here’s what he told us:

TNW: How have the interactions gone between Socialcam and brands? Are they approaching you?

Michael Seibel: Brand interactions have been great. At least 20 brands and agencies have reached out so far this week. But even better, many brands are just setting up accounts and starting to post videos by themselves.

TNW: What types of things are brands hoping to get out of being on Socialcam?

Michael Seibel: Brands like 3 things about Socialcam. First, they see Social Video as a new trend that they want to get in front of. Second, video is their most powerful promotional tool and Socialcam allows them to distribute video to their target audiences. Third, Socialcam is a new platform that is growing very quickly and brands who establish themselves early are getting a ton of followers.

TNW: Are you working on features specifically for brands to leverage your community?

Michael Seibel: We are currently offering two products to brands. The first is membership in our VIP program. That gives them promotion, a vanity URL (, and 24/7 support. The second is the ability to sponsor custom filters and soundtracks. Brands have been very responsive to both of these opportunities.

What does all of this mean? It means that the smartest brands who are already engaging its customers on sites like Twitter and Facebook are now looking for new channels to interact with them. Social channels are in essence “free advertising” and can pay huge dividends for brands who understand the power behind them.

Of course, when handled poorly, be it by not adding new content or responding to fans, this can explode in a brand’s face. While its too soon to tell what companies will use an app like Socialcam for exactly, the community contains quite a few eyeballs.