Empire Avenue is the Most Important Social Media “Game” that You’re Not Playing

EmpireAvenue

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.

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Empire Avenue Goes Beyond Social Influence Measurement into the Realm of Influence Building

Empire Avenue

The world of social media influence has been a growing industry for years. Klout and Kred have emerged as two of the leaders in the segment with Trust Cloud and others making statements about their own growing relevance, but there’s a network (a game, really) that surpasses all of them in usefulness and has carved a unique niche for itself in the social networking universe. If you haven’t been paying attention to Empire Avenue, you probably don’t realize what you’re missing.

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Empire Avenue and My “New” Blog

Empire Avenue Profiles

As I begin the transition of Soshable from a blog into an actual social media business, the first roadblock that came up was about posting my personal stories. Soshable has always been a place where I can rant about just about anything and that wouldn’t be appropriate content for a place of business, so I dusted off the old WordPress blog and shot up my first real post there in years.

It’s about Empire Avenue, a social stock market game that has held some of my attention for the last couple of months. For most, it’s simply fun. It’s a way to enjoy the spoils of social media frolicking in an arena that acts like a Wall Street for Facebook, Twitter, and the like. For others, it’s a tool that allows enhancement of one’s social media presence through an excellent “mission” system; players can pay other players to perform social media tasks such as retweet on Twitter or thumb up on YouTube.

For me, the site is first and foremost the best social media profile rating tool available. Check out the post and my “new” blog and let me know what you think.

There’s Klout, Kred, and a dozen other tools out there that help people gain an understanding of where they stand in the social media world. They all use relatively complex algorithms to break down how influential an individual or entity is on Facebook, Twitter, and many of the other social networks. They assign scores, give kudos, have badges, and often offer rewards with those who are “good” at social media.

Read the whole story on my new blog.

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The Social Spectrum. FTFY.

Social Spectrum Full

Before going into why it needs fixed (FTFY=”Fixed That For You”), it’s important to note that Buddy Media, the company that produced this graphic, is definitely my favorite of the enterprise level social solutions. If I ran a corporate social media presence rather than a social media agency, I would be all over Buddy Media as my social partner.

With that said, this graphic is a scare tactic. It’s intended to demonstrate that, as Business Insider put it, social media is “insane” and “ludicrously complicated”. For 99%+ of the business world who needs social media, the vast majority of services on the list are completely unnecessary and in many cases irrelevant.

For example, most businesses do not need to keep up with what’s going on at Disney’s Club Penguin. Anyone outside of Hollywood can avoid Miso. Marketing on RenRen is tough even if you can read the language:

RenRen

For the businesses outside of the 1%, the social media marketing world gets a whole lot less complicated. There are plenty of tools out there, but Seesmic or Hootsuite work just fine and have the functionality and analytics that most everyone needs. For brand monitoring, Trackur is good for small businesses and Radian6 is good for larger businesses.

Bit.ly is the only URL shortener you need to know.

Watch your Klout score and build a presence (for missions, not for social scoring) on Empire Avenue.

Blog on WordPress if you have time and want it to look amazing. Blog on Tumblr if you don’t have time and want it to look good.

Instagram is mobile photo-sharing whether the Facebook deal goes through or not (and it will). If you don’t like Instragram, Twitpic works just fine.

There are tons of website plugins available, but Gigya and Badgeville do whatever you could possibly want.

Here’s the complete, trimmed-down version of the graphic. It’s just not as complicated as those of us in social media would have you believe.

Social Spectrum

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Why Empire Avenue Matters

Empire Avenue

Some would argue that the biggest problem with social media and the internet in general is that there are too many ways to waste time on it. Even before the rise of social games like Farmville and Draw Something, “surfing the net” was akin to a more interactive version of being a couch potato. The productivity potential has never been met. Not by a longshot.

Empire Avenue offers something a little different. There is actual value that can be found in playing the game that can help individuals and business achieve their social media goals. Before getting into how that works, it’s important to understand the game itself.

How Empire Avenue Works

In essence, it’s a social game where users buy and sell “stocks” of each other that are influenced by a wide variety of factors including social profile relevance, activity on and off the site, and the standard stock play of buying high and selling low. Users are given currency (EAves) and told to spend them on buying others.

A user’s stock price goes up based upon how many shares are being bought and sold. If, as it is pictured in the image above, a user were to buy a couple hundred shares of my stock, it would get a bump and be worth more. If someone else sells, it’s worth less. Simple, right?

The complication comes with the interactions on social networks. Empire Avenue uses various formulas similar to the ones used by Klout and other social influence measures and rates a user’s account based upon how well they’re doing. Being new to the game (I joined with the Soshable account on May 22), my influence score on Twitter is rising but my others are low. As a result, my dividends are lower. This is important.

Dividends are the monetary rewards offered daily for owning shares. If a player has a high dividend relative to their share price, they are more attractive to other buyers. The closer a person is to having dividends at 1% of their share price, the better of an investment they’ll be.

Empire Avenue Zaibatsu

In the example above, Reg Saddler’s Zaibatsu account is expensive, but it also has a relatively-high yield on his dividends. If I were to buy shares of his stock, I would receive around 3.39 EAves per share per day. This number goes up and down based upon social activity, but as you can see his ratings on Facebook and Google+ are extremely high and many of his other accounts such as Instagram and Twitter are also doing well.

At 3.39 EAves dividend against 445.11 EAves per share, it would take a little over 4 months to earn the money back from the initial investment and I would still own all of the shares to sell at some point or to continue earning dividend revenue.

How It’s Useful

Those who play the game regularly are able to accumulate “wealth” in the form of EAves. They get this currency when people buy their stock and when their dividends are paid out. They also get a little money from their own activities on social networks, but this is small. The benefit of activity on social networks is to make their dividends offered on their own stocks higher, thus making them more attractive for purchase.

The other way they can make earn revenue is through missions. This is also the key to why Empire Avenue is useful for business and personal use.

Missions are commissioned by users and usually require an action on or off of Empire Avenue. Here’s an example with the details blotted out:

Empire Avenue Mission

In this case, you can see that the user is requesting social media interaction and is offering 1500 EAves for up to 35 people to complete. It’s a very simple and straight-forward way to encourage engagement and improve the social media presence for a business, organization, or individual.

The quality level we’ve found from this sort of action is much higher than other services. Because users are invested (pun intended) in the game and it takes time (as you can see from my account) to get going, the spam level is much lower than on Facebook share groups or LinkedIn groups where people can join and start asking for comments on their teeth whitening blog. As we all know, not all social media accounts are created equal, so getting a retweet from @zaibatsu on Empire Avenue is better than getting a retweet from @hotrussiamchix4919.

Empire Avenue is a game of interaction and intelligence. It requires involvement, but once a user gets the hang of it they are able to do what they normally do on social networks and reap the rewards with minimal effort on the site itself. Sure, there are those who spend all day on the site buying and selling, doing missions, chatting and forming strategies; in other words, it can definitely be addicting and suddenly no longer be a productive endeavor.

Those who play the game right can help their company or themselves be more effective on social media.

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