Japan-based Comnico has been helping many companies manage their Facebook pages over the past few years. But like many Japanese tech companies these days, Comnico has its eyes on overseas customers, and given the cultural and language barriers that come with international consulting, the company now has its eyes set on an interesting niche where it hopes to thrive.
So what’s the big plan? Comnico has developed a tool that will enable companies to better manage, monitor, and promote Facebook pages on their own. I recently had a chance to catch up with CEO Masayuki Hayashi, who gave me an overview of Comnico’s new marketing suite, which the company hopes to make available to overseas customers this spring. The suite actually includes four products, which can be broken down as follows:
- Post Manager: This tool lets users make postings to their Facebook pages from within Comnico’s marketing suite. It has a very slick multi-user interface that includes url shortening (custom domain available), plus access to Getty Images in case you’d like to supplement your update with attractive pictures . The post manager also includes a built-in image editor, making use of the Aviary API for quick cropping, addition of text, or other edits. Posts can then be scheduled, or saved as drafts if they require approval from others in your company.
- Insights: This feature can score your Facebook page, based on a number of criteria such as your reach among both fans and non-fans, and even the reaction you are getting per post. You can even compare your score with those of your competitors, and download and view the reports Excel format if you wish.
- Promotions: While it is normally very difficult and expensive to conduct a promotion or campaign on Facebook, this feature lets you create ready-made ones far quicker, letting you offer rewards to participants with relative ease.
- Monitoring: It can often be a chore to keep up with user discussion on your Facebook pages. Comnico’s tool helps detect flagged words, and also makes use of human monitoring through a partner company based in Okinawa. This monitoring feature lets you view posts by time, and it also includes multi-lingual support.
Shooting for businesses big and small
And while an offering with the apparent capabilities as this one shouldn’t come cheap, Comnico will be making pricing affortable to small businesses by tiering pricing according to the number of Facebook fans a company has. So for example, a company with less than 500 fans might pay 5000 yen per month (just over $50), while one with 20,000 fans might be 200,000 per month.
Who what kind of customers does Comnico foresee using such a service? Masayuki tells me that it would be a good fit for B2C companies like restaurants, for example. He adds that the advantages of a service like this in Japan are particularly apparent given that alternatives such as Gournavi charge a certain amount to manage fans, and that’s in their own closed system. That contrasts with Facebook, which is still growing in popularity in Japan, where companies can have direct access to their own fans.
Comnico has been operating this suite in Japan and is looking at April for the release of the English version. They don’t have any specified target for how many users they’d like to acquire in their overseas expansion, but they’re looking forward to giving it a try so they can see what happens. After its work in Japan the company has over 100 clients already under its belt — many of them very recognizable — so I imagine that should lend them some credibility in the eyes of potential clients.
It’s certainly good to see another Japanese company venturing beyond the nation’s borders in the interests of expanding business. Let’s stay tuned to see how they do.