After an all-day marathon of sessions and all-night parties, I must admit that it was hard to get up and get motivated for another full day of activities. Fortunately, I was able to get myself together because the SXSW panels on Sunday were just as great as the ones on Saturday. Here are my top three takeaways from day two:

  1. Level Up: No matter your industry, activating your community members is key to maintaining an engaging any social program. It’s essential to track and reward your members to take them to the next level of participation. However, don’t forget, while badging and rewards are a great motivator, you want to keep your core messages and conversations in the forefront of the program and don’t let your reputation management system turn into the star. Always remember, your members are the real stars.
  2. Metrics kill bad designs: Let’s face it. All of us give our clients options when it comes to rolling out a new app, online community or blog. Without fail, clients always seem to pick the one option that you think is the worst. By investing time up front to test different architectures and copy, you can better bolster your recommendations to clients on site design with a solid set of metrics that prove your point. And let’s face it…clients LOVE metrics.
  3. Gaming in your own backyard: Oh man. Talk about taking gaming to a whole new level. There are several new mobile apps that leverage check-in technology to make your everyday surroundings a “real life” gaming environment. My favorite was Seek’n Spell, where players can play a real life game of scrabble by starting an app, we’ll say while sitting in a park, and the app downloads your surroundings to your device and drops letter tiles on the map. Players then have to run around the “map” or in this case, the park, and grab the letters to check them in to spell out the words. My mouth is still salivating thinking about the opportunity to write a proposal for a brand to integrate this into their community strategy. Did I mention I am excited about this one?! Definitely expect me to elaborate on this concept soon.


As a side note, things are also getting stranger as the days go by. Below are some of my favorites that definitely fall into the “keep Austin weird” category.

Brian Costea
Brian Costea