What: By now the conversation on social media is less about what it is and much more about how it can be used. With her tech PR background, Sumaya Kazi is leveraging popular platforms such as Facebook and LinkedIn by connecting people to others they don't know, but should.
"Existing social networks are really focused on reinforcing existing personal relationships," says Kazi, CEO and founder of San Francisco-based startup Sumazi. In its 1,700-person survey on building social media connections, Sumazi found the average number of valuable connections people make a year is four, with 40% not knowing with whom they should connect.
How: "We are building technologies that connect you intelligently to people you don't know," says Kazi. Sumazi users are encouraged to broadcast their needs and opportunities on the platform by posting it on Sumazi. The user can then preview the message, edit it, and post across multiple social networks simultaneously.
The message is a unique URL that's posted to your social networks. If nobody in your social network is interested in your need or post, they can then share the URL within their networks. "I'm empowering my network to really help me out," explains Kazi. Right now, Sumazi is integrated with Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.
Why: "There are many important contacts in your extended network; people with whom you don't have a connection who can be a great connection," says Kazi.
She wants her service to go beyond existing relationships in social networks and start connecting users based on their needs and opportunities.
"This is not about how we accumulate as many friends as possible," she emphasizes. "It's how we connect you to the right person at the right time."
Who: Kazi, whose previous stint was running social media for Sun Microsystems, says Sumazi is valuable for businesses and professionals.
"The nature of PR is to get connected to the right people," she notes. "It's about useful introductions and getting connected to people who have a history and reputation of being the right people."