Are Using Contests To Build Community A Bad Idea?

83/365 So many board games.I read a recent post by Patrick O’Keefe, a very well-respected community manager and blogger, about the place contests and giveaways have in building community. Rather than a community-building tool, he says that “contests and giveaways are marketing for your community”.  While its true that the oeuvre of traditional marketing knowledge indicates that the most common usage of contests and games is to recruit new members, there is a lot of good research to back up the notion that games can be used in very effective ways to build community. (more…)


9 Ways to Drive Online Engagement At Your Next Conference

In the realm of what I call distributed social business, where your community members are geographically dispersed, I think one of the best ways to increase participation and engagement is through conferences. In most social business or deep collaboration environments, the real world is still where the rubber meets the road in terms of actually pushing forward towards the group’s common goal. So it makes a lot of sense to fully leverage a conference where most or all of your online community members will be. Doing so can deepen bonds among fellow members, enhance the overall sense of community, and build solidarity around the community’s common goals and vision.

I just returned from a conference where nearly half of our online community key players were attending. The goals of the conference were similar to that of the online community’s, so it made a lot of sense to tie the community website to as many pieces of the live conference as possible. I’ll dig into 9 ways we leveraged the conference to foster higher levels of participation and engagement with our community website. (more…)

Social Media Marketing: Sorry, Still Mass Media

I’m currently taking a professional development course at Portland State University called “Social Media Marketing” to brush up on the latest trends in social. It’s part of their Digital Marketing Strategist professional certification. The focus has thus far been how social media has usurped mass-media. Traditional forms of mass media have changed. It’s now social, spanning various digital mediums and social networks, and most importantly, there is now a conversational component. Everyone has a voice. The proposition is that mass media is no more. It’s social media.

Many examples were given about how Coke or Ford or Pizza Hut have created these amazing social media campaigns that have increased sales and brand awareness.

The sales pitch for this new form of media is that it’s better because it’s more social. The dialogue is more two-way. In class, we’re talking about how you can create a social media campaign to assist in reaching your big business goals. Lots of digital marketing consultants are talking about how content is king;  How creating a mix of various types of media, such as case-studies, interviews, videos, white-papers and webinars can really push the needle on engagement and drive towards your goal.

I’m also hearing a lot about the importance of community. “This company reached out to their community”; “That company promoted a contest with their community”. “Their community is 139,000 strong”.

And the term “engagement” is the big buzzword. “”Photo images improve engagement 54% over text posts”. “Videos increase engagement 32% over text posts”.

But just how social is this type of media? Is “community” really the right phrase to describe fans? And what does engagement really mean? (more…)