Phlanx.com is the brainchild of two Greek Australian entrepreneurs, civil engineer Steven Piliotis and director of Sydney Public Relations agency Tina Zafiropoulos. Even though they come from different professional backgrounds, they agree that the online tech space and the endless potential that remains untapped on the internet is their passion.
The two combined their knowledge and creativity and recently
launched a digital platform that aims to revolutionise how marketeers and clients approach talent.
Essentially tapping into influencer marketing and PR, Phlanx does away with talent and model agencies and commissions, empowering both the client and the influencer.
Instagrammers, Facebook personalities, bloggers and YouTubers, not to mention professionals can be approached directly by labels or apply for jobs that would until recently be given to whomever an agent would decide was suitable.
Meanwhile, to minimise fraud, Phlanx also offers social media engagement calculators and documentation for businesses to avoid being duped into paying ridiculous amounts of fees for fake following and legal advice respectively. Neos Kosmos contacted Tina and she helped shed some light onto this new social media-based marketing reality.
How has this first year been for Phlanx.com, did you achieve your initial goals?
The first year skyrocketed to 90,000 monthly visits, and the last quarter has seen a monthly growth rate of 100 per cent. We never launched with numeric goals in mind, however, initially we wanted to create a community platform that connected a directory of influencers straight to small-medium sized business owners.
We are very passionate about the marketing space and we swiftly began to add features that made Phlanx.com an all-inclusive platform with a social media engagement calculator, a contract generator and a collaboration portal – with more to come!
Were you planning on hitting the UK and US markets this soon? How does this translate into numbers?
Expanding into the US and UK markets began swiftly after our developers made it [the website] internationally friendly including currency conversions and sorting by locations. Our sign-ups are sitting at 50 per cent Australian and we’ve captured 35 per cent of the US, 10 per cent EU and five per cent of the UK market.
How many members does the platform have? Can we break this down to businesses and influencers?
Since inception the platform has acquired 861 members. The majority of our members are small or medium-sized business owners, and industry professionals such as marketers and PR employees.
How do you choose your influencers? Is anyone able to join?
We select our influencers based on particular categories including: business, lifestyle, health and wellness, entertainment, and creatives and the like. We have a myriad of micro-influencers on the directory who have become a go-to for business owners looking for purely contra arrangements (product/service in exchange for promotion on their social platforms). We have medium sized influencers (between 20 thousand – two million) and celebrity influencers well above the two million mark.
Business owners browse the directory and can contact whichever influencers they think will suit a campaign. The engagement calculator on the platform tests how good their engagement is – that is, the ratio of followers, likes and comments.
In your opinion, what is it that makes Phlanx.com so popular within such a short timeframe?
There are so many PR and marketing agencies out there that run campaigns for brands, however we found a gap in the small and medium-sized businesses who simply did not know where to start and could not afford an agency. Our members absolutely love that they can log in for $35 per month, run an influencer campaign, test their Instagram engagement or simply cross-collaborate with other business owners on a project.
How does your entrepreneurial model differ from other platforms of this kind?
Other platforms in our space either take a percentage of sales or charge $100 – $5000 monthly for this service. We never thought about this business from a profitability standpoint, we thought about it from the point of view that we wanted even the smallest business owner to have this platform accessible. As a result, we were able to make the platform approachable and create a happy community of members.
Where do you see Phlanx.com in the next two years?
Phlanx.com in the next two years will continue as an all-inclusive platform with a myriad more features added in order to bring immense value to business owners. Our vision for the brand is to be the one-stop-shop for marketing needs, and an addition to any marketing or PR professional’s tools.