Posted on Friday, August 08, 2014
Tripp Schoff '08 recently teamed up with founder and CEO of Whatt, Simon Berger-Perrin, to launch the company's first app globally on July 3. Schoff is the community manager for Whatt and is responsible for all marketing and promotional aspects of the social media app.
"Simon came up with the idea for the app and did most of the product development, and I'm responsible for spearheading marketing operations," explains Schoff. "When you work for a start-up, you can't ever say 'no, it's a bad idea' to anything, you just have to try a lot of stuff and see what works."
It's Schoff's open-minded attitude and tireless efforts to promote Whatt that has helped the app to achieve more than 10,000 downloads in its first month and be featured as the No. 1 social networking app in the U.S. App Store and as best new app in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, and Luxembourg.
"It's an app that's specifically designed for personalized status updates or text based updates with a more exclusive, closer network of friends of your choice," explains Schoff. "When you post a status on something like Facebook or Twitter, it's not guaranteed that your group of friends will see it, but Whatt is designed precisely for this purpose."
In an effort to give users a unique platform to communicate with a smaller group of friends in a more efficient, fun and simple manner, Schoff and Berger-Perrin seek to eliminate issues that arise in the status-update functions of other popular social media platforms and applications.
"At one point Facebook and Twitter were efficient for people to use the status update function," Schoff says, "but now it seems these posts get lost in the moment."
Available for iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, users can download Whatt in the Apple App Store free of charge. After signing on to the app, users can create an account that will sync contacts from their Facebook and Twitter accounts, or choose friends individually. Schoff likens it to a "private Twitter."
Whatt differentiates itself from other social media platforms not only by giving users the opportunity to communicate with a smaller group of friends, but also by eliminating advertisements and prohibiting accounts set-up by businesses or high-profile celebrities: "Whatt users won't be bombarded by advertisements or other things they don't want," says Schoff. Unlike Apple's group-texts for iPhones, Schoff also explains that Whatt gives users the option to decide whether or not they want to participate in a conversation.
Though Whatt provides an ideal means of conversation for all types of users, Schoff believes Whatt will be especially successful in the college campus environment. In the coming school-year, Schoff plans to launch an ambassador program at several colleges and universities to give select students the opportunity to promote the app on campus. "It'll provide another way to get feedback on the app and provide a great resume builder for students," he says.
As community manager, Schoff says he is currently in the process of testing various markets and promoting the app in a number of different forms. His next step is to introduce Whatt as a communication means for events and festivals. Schoff explains that the event host can make a Whatt account and then encourage festival-goers to friend the event.
"From an event perspective, Whatt will work well because you can friend the event and see what's going on in real time at the event," says Schoff. "It's easier than looking through the event's Twitter feed and it can even help vendors reach customers they thought they couldn't."
Schoff, who majored in international relations at HWS, was formerly in the financial services industry, but says his focus now is "100 percent" on marketing and promoting Whatt. This August, an article featuring Schoff and his work with Whatt appeared in the New Canaan News in Connecticut. Schoff is originally from nearby Darien, Conn.
"You have to be promoting or marketing at all times or else you could miss an opportunity," he says.
As for the future, Schoff and Berger-Perrin already have plans in the works for more innovative new apps.
Visit Whatt's headtalker account to help support the app: https://headtalker.com/campaigns/private-twitter-whatt/