"Everyone needs feedback on something." People need it for everyday life decisions. Businesses need it on their products and services. And politicians need it on their views, according to Felix Winckler, COO and co-founder of Poutsch, a European micro-polling startup leading a way to gather, articulate and understand opinions.
Poutsch is the brainchild of Winckler and two friends he grew up with in Brussels, Etienne Adriaenssen and Melchior Schöller. The co-founder trio pursued complementary business careers before coming up with the closed-ended question app in January 2012. It grew out of beta and onto the iPhone last week.
"At the time of the Arab Spring, we thought it was very difficult to make sense of all the opinions expressed on social media," Winckler said. "It was difficult if not impossible to identify the majority voice. We also considered that Facebook 'Likes' didn't tell much about where people stood. Then we looked at polling services and thought they were missing something."
The app's social environment allows even more than that extra something. Winckler says, "The web app is available for users of the mobile app, but with a few extra features. The one that will interest marketers is that they will find charts and graphs for every question, the age and gender split, location of votes and the evolution of votes over time.
"Poutsch questions are great content for community managers," said Winckler. "A question is a great way to engage your audience. And what you get is much more than a Facebook 'Like.'"
On top of that, the platform offers a social layer that allows users to understand the opinion of the people and organizations they follow, their opinion match with others and the level of influence of other users. "Because you can share your questions on social media or email and embed them on blogs or websites, you can leverage your existing community to make a question go viral," Winckler added.
"We are a community of citizens and consumers who can collectively give weight to our opinions," Winckler explained. "If enough people join the movement, we envision Poutsch becoming a power shifter."
Thus the genesis of Poutsch's name. It's a fun play on the German word putsch, which means a political coup. The startup was a bootstrap operation for the first three months before moving last year to the LeCamping accelerator in Paris. The three founders relocated to Brooklyn in January to launch and grow Poutsch in the Made in NY ecosystem.
Winckler believes Poutsch can be very helpful to community managers. "At the end of the day they are working on community engagement. They are constantly looking for new content. We give them smart and insightful content to be shared in one click."
The team is working on the proposal for promoted questions, premium accounts, paid access to the API and data analysis services based on information collected from polls.
Most of the time, Winckler says brands only want their customers' opinion. But with Poutsch, Winckler thinks, "It's a great way for brands to build their opinion identity."
Social Startups is a weekly Social Media Today column written by Shay Moser about the newest and most innovative social companies. Look for the next installment next Wednesday morning. Logos by Jesse Wells.