empire avenue solutionsAs I mentioned in Recommendation #5, for Empire Avenue to truly be “social media rocket fuel” users must be able to target missions to their specific niche. EAv is on the right track with enabling users to form a community for their niche and then target missions to that community, but it falls short because communities fall short.

Recommendation #6 is all about improving communities so that people who share a common interest can help each other and advance towards  a common goal.

Communities in demand

Some EAvers will tell you that EAv communites are irrelevant and unnecessary, but I believe the highest level of engagement among EAvers takes place in communities… those communities just aren’t on EAv. The most interaction, discussion, networking and helping each other among EAvers takes place in Facebook groups.

This demonstrates EAvers want to band together with other EAvers that share their interests, but EAv’s communities currently provide such a poor user experience they go elsewhere to create them.

Inherant advantages

In fact, EAv communities have inhereant advantages over Facebook groups. If EAv could improve them to the point where they were comperable from a usability standpoint, I believe EAvers would choose to form their communities on EAv rather than Facebook.

  • Targetted missions. As mentioned in the intro, EAv will only truly become social media rocket fuel when people can effecitvely target missions to their niches. Once people see the power of this, they will want to be in EAv communities for their niches both so they can launch missions and do missions to further their interests. With this incentive to be in EAv communites, being in a Facebook group for the same niche is redundant.
  • You know who everyone is. On Facebook, people are constantly asking others what their EAv ticker is or managing documents that list users. That’s not necessary on EAv as posts & comments automatically link the users name to their EAv profile.

Shamelessly Copy Facebook

Since EAv communites have the inherant advantages above, when it comes to usability, all EAv has to do is match Facebook to make EAv communities more appealing. So, they should simply copy the functionality of Facebook groups as much as possible. That means…

1) List communities in a consistant left sidebar. Like Facebook, EAv should have a left side bar that is the same no matter where you go on EAv. And in that sidebar should be a list of links to the communities the user is a member of so all of us are always just 1 click away from our favorite communities.

2) Sort posts by last comment. In EAv communities, discussions quickly fade off into the sunset. But in Facebook, the best discussions stay at the top of the group as people continue to post comments because Facebook sorts discussion topics by last topic.

3) Make comments more user friendly.

a) Show the last few comments of each post. That way like facebook we don’t have to click to see them.

b) Use AJAX to quickly display all comments on a post rather than loading a new page with just that topic and its comments on it.

c) Sort comments with the most recent one at the bottom.

d) Include a box after the last comment on each topic to quickly add our own comment.

4) Facilitate posting of pics and vids. Currently we can’t embed an image or video in a community topic, only post links to them.

5) Create a community search. Currently it’s nearly impossible to find communities one is interested in. EAv should dump the ginormous pages used to browse city, interest and personal groups and create a quality community search function.

Surpass Facebook

EAv could make communities even better and more useful to EAvers with a few more improvements…

6) Display active community missions at the top. In an effort to promote commuinty targted missions, EAv should list active missions targeting that community at the top of the community page. If there are too many, just list the 3 most recent with an AJAX link to view all.

7) Add incentives for community leadership/engagement. EAv users who administer communities should either get eaves or a boost to their dividend based on the quality of their communities. To a lesser extent, everyone who creates topics and posts comments should also be rewarded by EAv for contributing to the success of their communities.

Revenue Opp

Attention Dups & co, supercharging EAv communities is also a significant revenue opportunity as ads could be placed in each community targeting that niche. Right now you are just letting Zuck & co pick your pockets.

What do you think? 

  • Please vote in the poll below. With so many “sub-recommendations” in this recommendation, it would be cumbersome and time consuming poll on each individual sub-recommendation, so when you vote, just vote on whether you agree with improving EAv communites and their visibility on EAv.
  • Please post a comment and share your thoughts on the sub-recommendations as well as your ideas for improving communities.
  • Please share the link to this post with others, encouraging them to weigh in on this issue.

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Read & vote on all the recommended improvements at 12 Critical Improvements Empire Avenue Should Make