Almost Timely News, 14 November 2021: Community Engagement, Mental Injury, Reflections

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Almost Timely News

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What’s On My Mind: Engaging Communities

I sat in on a Twitch stream the other night, watching a team of friends playing Apex Legends. The game itself was irrelevant and not terribly interesting, but what I found fascinating were the mechanisms that the content creator, SiwaPyra, had set up on their Twitch channel to reward engagement and keep audience interest high – things we as marketers are desperate to do and fail badly at. Here’s how it worked.

Picture of the Twitch stream

People who joined the chat received tokens, free bits of virtual currency for every certain number of messages they posted to the chat. The content creator, SiwaPyra, had then set up a list of things in an in-game store that people could spend those tokens on; mostly fun stuff like the ability to highlight your own messages in chat or to tell SiwaPyra to take a drink of water while they were on camera.

In Game Store

But SiwaPyra also had some interesting token purchases that crossed the virtual boundary: big-spending audience members (who of course can buy tokens on top of earning them) could spend on stars, and they would literally take a silver or gold star and glue it to a star board they kept and showed on air frequently.

All of this is badge value, prestige purchases. There’s nothing tangible that an audience member can buy, save for reputation and prominence in the creator’s community and perhaps to the creator themselves. In smaller communities, this might not seem like much, but in large communities with legitimate gaming superstars, it’s the equivalent of being able to purchase a backstage pass with your favorite rockstar.

And of course, it isn’t just gamers and gaming on Twitch, though that certainly is a sizable portion of the audience. Twitch attracts tons of livestream views from musicians, artists, and even politicians. Prominent US Congressional representative Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez’s channel sports almost a million followers for her livestreams of playing Among Us and other items.

What’s the key lesson here? When we think about engaging our communities – be it in major social networks like LinkedIn or YouTube, private communities like Slack and Discord, or even in real life, we often think of tangible things or very conventional things to drive engagement. New content, limited editions, etc. What we could learn from Twitch streamers like SiwaPyra and others is that badge value and just fun stuff can be incredibly engaging, especially if our community mechanisms reinforce engagement as the most valued action automatically. The idea of measuring and rewarding people based on participation is not new, and yet we fail to do that incredibly often.

Finally… I would strongly encourage you, as a marketer, to step outside the boundaries of traditional marketing channels. Go watch some Twitch streams, go watch YouTube live, go join some Discord servers, and see what real people are doing to interact with each other. There’s a whole world out there traditional marketing isn’t paying attention to, and we’re missing valuable lessons.

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ICYMI: In Case You Missed it

If I had to suggest only one of these articles to read from this week, it would be a non-marketing piece, the one on the concept of mental injury. I think it’s vitally important we expand our vocabulary around mental health and I ask that you make the time to read it through at least once, and if you think it helpful, please share it with a friend or colleague.

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Thank You Notes

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What I’m Reading: Your Stuff

Let’s look at the most interesting content from around the web on topics you care about, some of which you might have even written.

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Required Disclosures

Events with links have purchased sponsorships in this newsletter and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

Advertisements in this newsletter have paid to be promoted, and as a result, I receive direct financial compensation for promoting them.

My company, Trust Insights, maintains business partnerships with companies including, but not limited to, IBM, Cisco Systems, Amazon, Talkwalker, MarketingProfs, MarketMuse, Agorapulse, Hubspot, Informa, Demandbase, The Marketing AI Institute, and others. While links shared from partners are not explicit endorsements, nor do they directly financially benefit Trust Insights, a commercial relationship exists for which Trust Insights may receive indirect financial benefit, and thus I may receive indirect financial benefit from them as well.

Thank You!

Thanks for subscribing and reading this far. I appreciate it. As always, thank you for your support, your attention, and your kindness.

See you next week,

Christopher S. Penn

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