The first word that jumps out to me when I hit the intro page for Empire Avenue is “Engage.” When I joined Empire Avenue more than nine months ago, I truly believed that I was setting up an account to be part of some new social game. A game where virtual currency allowed me to buy virtual shares in other players. I found it interesting at first because the value of your shares grew based on what you did through your connected social networks. This was a no-brainer for me. With tons of followers on LinkedIn and Twitter as well as thousands of friends and subscribers on Facebook, YouTube and other networks, I knew that my stock was going to skyrocket. What I didn’t realize at the time was how this little “game” of social Monopoly™ would help further define my view of social media engagement.
Empire Avenue is flooded with major brands. Companies like Intel, Audi, AT&T, Nokia, LG, Dell, Microsoft, eBay, Ford and many others have taken a position in the “game” and maintain daily activity. Why? It took some time for me to really get it. What makes this platform better than say, getting a badge for being the mayor of the gas station?
While “engagement” might be the first thing I see when going to the site, it’s not the lone reason for participating. In fact according to EA, the purpose of the site is actually three-fold: expand, engage and evaluate. In the end, what good is engagement if you can’t monetize.
So here is what I found. Through Empire Avenue you can connect to new people. You can do this by “investing” in them, joining communities, and participating in group chats. Once you connect, it becomes more than just a follow-to-follow-back type of relationship. You own shares in each other. You will directly benefit when they succeed. Intel, for example doesn’t sell products to the public so why take such an aggressive position in an end user focused network? It’s simple, Intel understands that they are creating personal connections with thousands of people. Those people want to see Intel succeed on EA so their virtual value (and dividends) increases. When an EA shareholder goes into a store to buy a technology product, they will most likely give the product with Intel-inside more of a priority than something that might not have the Intel processor. In a psychological way, helping Intel succeed in the real world will help the EA investor succeed online. Not to mention the deep personal connection the user now has to the brand because their social “shares” hold a lot of emotional value.
Engagement through Empire Avenue is also powerful – more than the follow-to-follow-back mindset, EA offers an own-to-own-back opportunity – where the desire to help someone’s value grow. When someone owns shares in you, they are more likely to follow you on Twitter, watch your YouTube videos, and connect to you on LinkedIn.
What about measuring the success of Empire Avenue engagement? That comes with the third purpose – evaluate. Empire Avenue just launched a feature that allows you to engage people to take action through missions. Essentially, you offer people virtual currency in exchange for completing a mission. For example, I will “pay” you 2000 eaves (their virtual currency) if you follow me on Twitter and re-tweet three of my recent messages. This type of mission might gain you 50, 100 or even more followers and get you hundreds of real personal retweets. Let’s look one step further. You have an online business and you want to drive real people there. You wrote a great article and you want people to read it and take action. You are looking for real people for a series of focus groups. You are looking for real people to answer a LinkedIn question. The possibilities of what you can do with an engaged group of hundreds to thousands of people are endless, especially when those people have the common purpose of seeing your virtual stock flourish.
One of the greatest things about the platform is that, while you can pay real money to build your profile, you don’t have to. You earn dividends when you invest in people. Their dividends go up based on their activity and every day you get a payout of dividends. After nine months, my daily dividends are more than 125,000. With those Eaves, I can buy shares in other people, run missions, and expand my network and presence on Empire Avenue through upgrades.
I love Empire Avenue and look at it as the next level of social media – where networking meets engagement with measurable results.
You can connect to me on Empire Avenue through this link - http://empireavenue.com/?t=cigoet3o&s=c
*Mike Magolnick is a bestselling author of two books on social media. He has been a public speaker, corporate trainer and entrepreneur for more than ten years. Find Mike on Twitter @magolnick.