At a recent seminar I went to about building online communities, one of the speakers said that the best way to engage people through social media was to get them competing against each other. So if you had an online forum, introduce a star system so people who had made more posts had more stars under their names.
I haven't introduced this for people who comment on DIYWeek.net because we believe that you get kudos for your comments and opinions in our online community from being good at your business and known in your industry, not for having commented on lots of our news stories.
However I do think there is something to the idea that people still see online discussions, particularly on Facebook or Twitter, as a place where they should be enjoying themselves. They are seen as a lighthearted method of communication and if you have a dull Twitter account people will simply unfollow you. A good friend of mine used to tweet for a well known charity and he had to have every tweet checked and double-checked to ensure it adhered to company guidelines and standards for communication. Humour was considered unprofessional and risky and this all resulted in a Twitter feed that was dryer than a camel's urethra. His bosses were then surprised when they didn't seem to be able to accumulate traffic from Twitter the way other charities had done.
The DIY retail community on Twitter however, has cottoned on to this fact and I'm seeing some great hashtag games crop up. These games are simple, can get a conversation going fast and reach new people who were not following you before.
, whose Twitter feed is a great example of how to mix business with interaction and fun, ran a #diyceleb game a few times which was great and they even offered a prize of HSS vouchers for the best one as an extra incentive to join in.
And today my Twitter feed is full of DIY suppliers and retailers going mad for #DIYsongs
. The feed is funny to read but also gives everyone a chance to let the rest of the industry know about their Twitter account. It's clever, free marketing and it takes seconds to join in. And there's no need to start your own game because joining in and contributing to someone else's acheives much the same effect.
Of course, to join in you do have to think of some clever puns. Hmmm.