I always get a little blown away any time I meet a social media “guru” or “specialist” who isn’t using Empire Avenue. Granted, I wasn’t impressed the first time I gave it a shot in 2011, but since rejoining the site in May of 2012 I’ve learned that it may be the most invaluable tool in the world of social media promotions.

The problem is that it’s a “game” and as a result, many social media people dismiss it. Who has time for fun and games when there’s Facebook posts to promote or blog posts to write? Once you get passed the gaming aspect of the service, you realize that it’s much deeper and more useful than that.

The community component of the service is strong. Yes, there are influencers like Chris Pirillo and Chris Voss on it, but it’s in the active user base of mid- to high-level social media experts that the real juice comes into play. The connections that are possible for active users (I won’t call them players because the game component of it is just too miniscule and almost a distraction) are of a higher quality than just about any site.

It isn’t just the community, though. There are plenty of places to meet influencers and people who work in social media. The tangible benefit is in the missions. Through missions, users are able to get assistance from high-quality social media users without having to coax or (gulp) buy engagement for clients.

Missions are actions that are paid for through Eaves, the currency on Empire Avenue. They have a wide range of possible uses from “read and comment on my blog post” to “retweet me”. Before you jump at me with an organic social media engagement tirade, keep in mind that the quality of the users fulfilling the missions is the highest possible. Yes, there are spammers on the site, but the bulk of the active users are great people with strong Klout scores and an abundance of active followers. These aren’t bots. The game is too hard for bots, making it a nice way to weed out the spammers.

That’s the key. It isn’t easy. You can’t just sign up for the site and get 30 people with high Klout scores to suddenly retweet you. It takes time. It takes activity. It takes playing the social stock market game component of the service and building up the currency to pay for the missions. This factor alone is enough to keep the spammers at bay.

Get on and get rolling immediately. Ford, Dell, Nokia – they all use the service. There’s an investment of time, but it’s worth it once you get to the point that you can start directing quality social engagements to help fulfill your goals through missions. There are easier methods, of course, but those normally end up giving you a lot of bulk numbers that bring nothing of value. On Empire Avenue, the value is in the people.

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Written by Scarlett Madison
+Scarlett Madison is a mom and a friend. She blogs for a living at Social News Watch but really prefers to read more than write. Find her on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest.