Before June 1, 2011, Tout was just a start-up social video update service with just six weeks into existence. Now it is formally on the social media map after Shaquille O’Neal used the service to announce his retirement from basketball. Shaq’s video drove 500,000 viewers in just 3 hours alone.
It was Tout’s lucky day when their office got a call from one of the NBA superstar’s management team. Apparently, Shaq stumbled upon the application and asked his agent to set up a meeting with Tout CEO Michael Downing. Downing, at first, didn’t think the call was real. Calls like this don’t come everyday, especially if you’re just a fledgling social media startup. Eventually, he and Shaq reached a deal. According to Popdecay, “Shaq would announce his retirement by posting a Tout video to his more than 3.8 million Twitter followers. In exchange, O’Neal - who told ESPN he considered himself “the emperor of the social media network” - would get a seat on the company’s advisory board and get a small equity stake in the company.”
It was a win-win situation for Tout, who is now “legitimized” by Shaq’s endorsement of the service. It surely is a great business alliance with one of NBA’s most famous superstars, who will surely get his rightful place in the Hall of Fame.
The deal with Tout only emphasized Shaq’s sharp nose for marketing. The star is known not only for his stature in the NBA, but also for his effective self-marketing skills. He turned to social media way earlier than the rest of his peers and used it to his advantage. Shaq seems to have no intention of spending his retirement in total hiatus from his fans, as evidenced by this great arrangement with Tout. He has more than 3.8 million followers in Twitter and 2 million fans in Facebook. If these fans and followers begin using Tout’s services, it would be a major coup for the company.
“Shaq’s got a lot of different things going on, but he’s told us that this is his personal media network and he’s going to be using us to promote everything else he’s doing,” Downing said.
Image source: Teramoney.com