I was out at Sunday brunch last week and a question struck me: Is brunch really brunch if it’s not a buffet? The answer is no. The point of brunch is that you get to try a little of each thing. You wouldn’t order a full serving of huevos rancheros, a burger and fries and an ice-cream sundae just because it’s on a brunch menu. Without the buffet, you are forced into a type of food rather than having the freedom to sample.

Just as in brunch, your social engagement strategy needs to be a buffet…not a menu. With Twitter, Pinterest and Facebook becoming more popular every day, the more and more brands’ customers are becoming acclimated to engaging in a short, direct manner. As a brand, you need to a have a full buffet of engagement options for users to engage in or they will simply order one thing off your menu.

Here are a few tools to think about when creating your online branded community experience.

1. Contests: An underrated way to spread word of mouth and increase engagement around a particular topic. Set the bar low for a barrier of entry (commenting on a blog or uploading an image) and provide social sharing tools for people to share their entries or let their friends know about the contest.

2. Surveys: Keep them short and simple! ComBlu has seen that when simple surveys are deployed into a community, the number of active members raises 20 to 30%. And think of all the data you can get ;). Mmmm…data with syrup.

3. Curate: Make it easy and fun to rate or bookmark content on your branded community. This provides an easy way for members to get active and it provides you with a quality rating of the content from your customers.

Brian Costea

Brian Costea