Toronto-based startup KnexxLocal today announced a new app called Instamonial, along with a $1.1 million seed funding round from investors including Bruce Coxon, LavaLife co-founder and Dragon’s Den (think Shark Tank, but in Canada) star. Instamonial, the company’s new free iOS application, is aimed at fostering word-of-mouth marketing for local businesses.
The app, designed for iPhone, helps users build what they call “instamonials,” which are essentially micro testimonials designed to be shared on social networks including Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest. It’s aimed at small business users, allowing them to quickly build a testimonial using photos stored on or taken with your phone, which they can then email or share with customers for their approval before posting. The idea is that you make it as easy as possible for customers to share their good opinions of your business in a way that’s controlled by the business owner, and takes relatively little time or know-how to set up.
“The shift in consumer expectations and growth in online reviews over the past few years has presented a big challenge for local business owners who don’t have a lot of time or resources to dedicate to online marketing,” Investor Coxon explained in a press release. “Simplifying the process for business owners to receive referrals from satisfied customers and distribute them easily online is the ultimate goal of localized, online word-of-mouth marketing.”
Instamonial can be set up to automatically shoot out your customer testimonials over various social networks at once, too, which means that it truly creates a one-click sharing option to cover the range of online presences for a small business owner. The approach of targeting users who may not have had access to more expensive or comprehensive social media campaign management tools with software that lives in their pocket and helps to ease the awkwardness associated with asking your customers to give you props and spread the word.
On the other hand, this kind of approach can come off as impersonal, which is something that small business owners are unlikely to want for their business. But Instamonial does allow for a fair amount of customization, and it also ensures that what you’re sharing will come out as a decent-looking product, as opposed to something slapped together, so there are both advantages and disadvantages to Instamonial’s way of doing things.
KnexxLocal’s funding will help the company expand its customer base, and KnexxLocal founder Paul Chen, whose previous ventures include FloNetwork (acquired by DoubleClick), and Fortiva (acquired by Proofpoint), will use the brand to continue to provide solutions that help businesses connect with more customers locally.