8 Share Spiking Tips For Empire Avenue

by Michelle McGinnis on Monday, April 25, 2011 in Social Media

The latest social media measurement tool to takeoff is Empire Avenue. It may sound like a new property on the Monopoly board. But it's actually a startling addictive new social media engagement site.

Part game, part ratings system, Empire Avenue works by allowing users to create a ticker linked to their activity on various social media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. The system measures that activity and the level of engagement your content provokes, and then assesses your share price based on that activity. People can buy shares in you and you can buy shares in others, which leads to a virtual social currency that moves up and down just like a stock.

Some big name brands have already jumped in including Ford, Audi and Intel. Eloqua is one of the early b2b brands to get on board. With Empire Avenue taking off we wanted to provide some tips for increasing the value of your shares and net wealth on the site.

1.     Create Great Content
The number one thing you can do to increase your value, says Tom Ohle, Vice President of Marketing and Media Relations at Empire Avenue, is make great content. The system largely determines value based on how people are interacting with the content you create across all platforms. That means the number of likes, comments and retweets really matter. According to Ohle, if you have 200 followers on Twitter and they are all retweeting what you say that matters more than having 200,000 followers who ignore you.Tips For Empire Avenue


2.     Join Communities
Your share price increases as a result of how many people are buying your shares. The only way to do that is by engaging with fellow users. Empire Avenue has a large number of communities based on location, brands and personal interests. Becoming an active member on these communities by joining and starting discussions makes it easier for fellow users to find you, learn about you and make an investment in your stock. You can only join two communities per category (after that you have buy the ability to join more) so choose wisely.

3.     Watch for Newbies
The great thing about Empire Avenue is that it’s so new big-time influencers are just joining now. “One key tactic is to look for either players or brands that are likely to be socially engaged, and purchase their stock right as they join the game,” says Jeremiah Owyang, Partner at Altimeter Group and an early adopter of Empire Avenue. Rookies stock starts off dirt cheap at about $10 and can jump fast. Keep your eye on the “Recent Arrivals” section on the right of the home page.


The Backstory on Empire Avenue



  • So what’s the story behind Empire Avenue anyway?

  • The site represents the efforts of a collective of former co-workers from the video game development company BioWare, says Ohle. The original purpose of the site was to measure influence. But, Ohle states, “we kind of made a pivot. Now at this point it’s scoring your network value.”

  • Your ticker on Empire Avenue is meant to show your level of activity within social networks and how people are responding to that activity. “As a PR guy it’s really handy to go in there and measure which networks you are effective on,” Ohle says.

  • But the gaming aspect is designed to keep users coming back and engaging with the site. With other influence-measuring sites like Klout, says Ohle, you don’t have much of reason to visit multiple times a day. Empire Avenue’s stock market structure, on the other hand, is designed to keep people playing the market.

  • There are some issues. Empire Avenue’s interface can seem as complex as a Bloomberg news terminal, with multiple indices, shares, notifications and reports hitting you all at once. Ohle admits that user experience can feel overwhelming at first and the startup is working on cleaning it up.

  • The company plans to make money by selling virtual luxury items. For instance, $100 real U.S. dollars will get you a virtual castle, which provides not only brag-worthy real estate but a fresh cache of virtual currency every week. Ohle also sees the opportunity for advertising where big name businesses could slap their brands on these luxury items, for a fee. “You see a lot of companies creating their own kind of brand of games online,” he adds. “What we’re doing is introducing it into our sort of broader platform.”

  • Empire Avenue is truly bootstrapped with only $300,000 in funding. Still, the startup has seen traction in the past couple of weeks, all through word-of-mouth. Says Ohle: “Every time we have a spike it’s because someone caught on and posted about it.”



4.     Buy Before Market
One way to increase your net wealth, and thus your share value, is to buy into someone’s stock before they join. Empire Avenue’s “Twitter Index” enables you to pre-purchase someone’s shares based on their Twitter handle before they join the game. You won’t make much by way of dividends until that person joins, but it can lead to a big payoff when they do. For instance, I bought pre-shares of Joe Chernov before he joined and made a bucket of virtual currency once he did.

5.     Be Chatty
You can start a chat on just about any subject – from podcasting to publishing – and find likeminded users. While the chat feature doesn’t automatically lift your engagement level on the site, says Ohle, it can be a great way to find potential investors. If they’re talking to you, then they feel like they know you. Investing is all about relationships.

6.     Advertise
Empire Avenue allows you to create a tweet-sized ad for the virtual cost of about $0.20 per page view. You won’t see it on your page, but others exploring the site can. This is a great way to make a funny, poignant or just downright economical case for yourself. But like any form of marketing, be sure to monitor the ROI of your ads.

7.     Buy! Buy! Buy!
Empire Avenue follows similar implied structural rules found on Twitter. You don’t want to be a jerk that only sets up stock and doesn’t invest in others. One of the best ways to get people to buy into you is by buying into them. It creates a sort of virtual introduction and, hopefully reciprocity.

8.     Go Big Brand
Some of the most social media savvy brands out there have huge followers and fans that are engaging with their content. Those brands will have some immediate and effective clout on Empire Avenue. Find and buy into those brands early, but be sure they’re the type of brands that will keep all of their social networks vibrant and stocked with fresh content.

Have you tried Empire Avenue yet? What are your tips for increasing share value?

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