In a time when much of the talk in social media is about the implementation of algorithms that are supposed to be smarter than humans in determining user preferences, there is a new social network called, beBee, that is based on affinity networking. What does that mean exactly? I was curious, so I sought out the CEO himself, Javier Camara Rica. He describes the concept below:
“Maximum affiliation among users who share the same tastes, interests and personal and professional experiences”
While beBee is a global network their headquarters is based in Madrid, Spain. Spain is a country that is more known for its love of fútbol (soccer), historic culture, beautiful architecture, tapas, and their tasty red wine than it is for being a hotbed for social media innovation. However, this social network is catching on and growing fast. Nobody can deny the huge success they had in 2015 their first year in existence by adding over 9 million users (Now 10.5 million). There are plans to move well beyond that in 2016.
I had a conversation over Skype with the CEO to find out a little bit more about beBee and how they plan to differentiate themselves in a social media space that is now more crowded than ever. Here is an excerpt from our conversation:
John: Javier, you have been in tech your entire career which has included leading other companies from startup to successful and then sold. How did the idea for beBee evolve into what it is today?
Javier: A little more than a year ago, I realized that people had to choose between having a social or a professional profile on the Internet. They could have both but always separated. beBee was born to change that because we believe that users are professionals but at the same time, people with hobbies. Some of the biggest social networks have a lot of noise, and their algorithms do a poor job of connecting users with relevant content. We noticed an opportunity to give our users the full control of their experience on social media that they have been missing on other networks.
John: Can you go into greater detail about what it means to be an affinity based social network?
Javier: Affinity networking connects you to both users and content of interest based on what you like. We don’t use a fancy algorithm like other social media platforms are using that determines the type of content the user will see in their feeds. Our algorithm, which is called Affinity Rank, helps users connect with content and people related to their career or hobbies. The algorithm gives the users the control to decide what type of content they would like to see and how much of it appears in their feed.
On beBee, you can elect to follow posts of people that share both your professional and personal interests. We leave it up to you determine what you want to see. If you are a CFO that likes running, you are going to see posts about finance and running. beBee will give you suggestions on people to follow people or groups where you can find content based off your interests. However, at the end of the day, the choice is 100% that of the user and not an algorithm.
Other social media platforms are very elusive when it comes to talking about their algorithm and what users can expect. We aim to be very transparent with our users and let them be in control of the algorithm, not the other way around.
In other words, beBee is designed to give user controls over important features such as notifications, the type content they view, and how they interact with others of similar interests.
John: When I joined beBee, I noticed a like on one of my posts from a Javier Camara Rica. I was curious to see who this person was, so I clicked on the profile. I was shocked when I saw that the CEO of the company had liked my post! Since then I’ve noticed you regularly engage with users on beBee. This is something that users may not be accustomed to seeing from CEOs, especially those that are in charge of the social media platforms themselves. Why are you taking a different approach towards engaging with your user base?
Javier: As an affinity based network, we believe there is a place for everyone on beBee. It is the principle philosophy behind everything we do. So, as CEO, I am just one of many users that make up a global community. We cannot call ourselves an affinity network if we do not live and breath it ourselves, that includes the CEO. If you join beBee, watch out for me, I might just pop up in your feed and say hello.
John: So, at this point, I’m sure that a small percentage of readers are ready to go give beBee a shot. However, there is a bigger group that likes what they hear, but they are probably thinking, “come on, I’m already on five or six social networks and I barely have time for those. I’m certainly not going to join another one.”
Let’s take me personally. As a marketer and blogger, I’m on more networks than I can count. So, Javier, seriously, with so many social networks out there, tell us, why should we be on beBee and what type of social user is beBee the right fit for?
Javier: As I stated before, we believe there is a place for everyone on beBee. However, let’s go a little deeper than that. In 2016, people are looking for solutions that are sustainable. Wouldn’t you agree? Nobody can sustain keeping up with 5 or more social networks and remain productive in the other areas of their life that matter the most. beBee offers people an integrated experience on social media. We believe as time goes on we will be able to offer people the same or more value in beBee that they currently have to log in and out of three or four networks to get. People won’t have to remember quite so many username and passwords for their social media!
That said, beBee is great for:
Entrepreneurs, Sales Pros, and SMB: We offer users 5 services on their profiles that they can market to prospects when they visit their profile.
Job Seekers and Recruiters: We have thousands of job listings on beBee from big name global employers all the way down to mom and pop. Job seekers can attach their resume to their profile for employers to see when they visit their profile.
Bloggers: Our interest-based groups cover just about every topic you could write about. Bloggers can share their work with our groups to gain new readers and organically grow their following. More on bloggers in a minute.
There is truly a community for everyone on beBee. However, if we don’t have one yet in your area of interest, create a group yourself and begin inviting like minded individuals in your network to join you.
John: What can we expect to see from beBee in 2016?
Javier: Our goal for 2016 is new market penetration. In 2015, we grew at an astonishing rate on our way to 9 million users. Those users are primarily in Spain, Europe, and Latin America. The amazing reception we have had in these markets gives us confidence that other areas of the world are ready for affinity networking. We would like to increase our presence in the US, Canada, India, Australia, and other large and small markets.
In terms of features, we are hard at work to continue to improve our platform and make it the best most user-friendly social media site out there. We’ve got a lot of work to do, but we will be listening to the feedback we get from our user base the whole way to be our guide. One piece of feedback we are currently working on is the development of publishing tool. We’ve received a lot of interest from bloggers that would like to be able to publish their thoughts and insights on beBee. We hope to launch this new feature in Q1 of this year. Stay tuned!
To learn more about beBee or to sign up Click Here