Hello Austin friends and non-Austin friends. It’s that special time of year in Austin when I get to roll my eyes at SXSW visitors as they inundate the city with selfie sticks, blazers paired with start-up t-shirts and lanyards. Next year – selfie drones? Kidding…I love this town. The reason I bring all this up is because just a few weeks ago, the icanmakeitbetter team visited New York City for the Quirk’s Conference with our t-shirts (no blazers or selfie ticks though!) and lanyards in tow.

We thought it would be useful to pass along a few things we learned and found interesting while at the conference and in the Big Apple.

Here are some of the key take-aways from the NYC Quirk’s conference:

Ideas to improve community engagement:

  • Gamification – Encourage members to solve problems. For example, give trivia questions a try. Members will come back to “play” and you can even incorporate facts about the brand.
  • Selfies and Visual for Millennials – Consider asking a community of Millennials to record a video of themselves or take a selfie. Millennials like image/video sharing, as does just about everyone else – a picture is truly worth a thousand words or 15 survey questions. When communicating with to use images where possible to convey something instead of text.
  • Response rate – Average response rates should be about 45% (although this may vary given the purpose, incentives and composition of the community).
  • Support – Respond to the community members within 1-3 hours if possible and never go longer than 2 business days without responding – common sense we know, but sometimes end-user support takes a backseat to other fires – don’t let that happen.
  • Incentives – Consider providing a monthly incentive based on activity requirements. For example, members will get $10 each month if they participate in 2 of the 3 surveys and at least 1 quick poll. We always like to steer away from pure pay-to-play. This puts the wrong motivation behind tasks and just gets more expensive as the community grows.
  • User Profile – Ask members to update their profile survey every 6 months to make sure that you have the most up-to-date demographic information in your community.

Thoughts on the conference:

  • This was the first year for The Quirk’s Conference and it was simply awesome! They did an amazing job attracting the right mix of clients and suppliers.
  • The Brooklyn location was a fun change of pace to the typical Manhattan locations (but we still love Manhattan and being in the center of everything).
  • Not too big and not too small. It was great to connect with new clients and partners, mingle with the other suppliers and in general learn over a few drinks.

Tips for NYC:

  • It can get really cold. Our icanmakeitbetter hats were a hit!
  • Central Park is always awesome.
  • You have to try pretzels from at least 4 stands – 50% will be dry and horrible the other 50% will be nirvana. And, definitely get a falafel from the carts, the best 4 bucks you will spend in NYC!
  • Bryant Park is gem – ice skating, food stalls and the New Your Public Library – a must see.
  • What looks like solid ice can actually be a 9 inch mud puddle on the curb and go straight down your boots. It took some of us (Paul!) several times to learn this.
  • Uber is great, but the subway can many times be faster and way cheaper. The best way around NYC? If the weather is even close to nice – WALK. The sights and sounds are amazing and you never know who you will meet or what you will discover winding off the Wall Street, through the Village or within the many parks and bikeways (oh yeah, we did not do it, but a CitiBike is on the list for next time when it is above 10 degrees).