Building your online community – Gaga style

It’s been a busy one for brand engagement this week what with Paypal launching their new mobile app and rumors of a Facebook Smart Phone resurfacing (again). But the one which really caught my eye was news that Lady Gaga is set to launch her own invitation-only social networking site this summer (yes – that really is the name she gives her fans).

ladygaga littlemonsters 300x159 Building your online community – Gaga style

It got me thinking about brand engagement and how far we’ve come with engaging our online communities via multiple platforms. First there were chat rooms and stand-alone forums, and then came the Big Four: LinkedIn (‘Groups’), Facebook (‘Pages’ and ‘Groups’), Twitter (‘Chats’) and Google+ (‘Circles’ and ‘Hangouts’). Then later developments such as the Ning Network (this is one of the ways the band Linkin Park engage directly with their fans). But now it seems we’re moving on a stage further.

Setting aside the Gaga ‘brand’ for a moment, it’s an interesting twist in the social media (r)evolution. Clearly her team understands the power of fans and how the various social media platforms which fragment the brand (Twitter, Facebook etc.) may be diminishing the overall brand power. They are also utilising Backplane to help develop the new site – one of the most high-powered, intricate and heavily funded entertainment-based social-media ventures in the marketplace.

Her manager, Troy Carter, spoke of the new site saying: “The level of engagement must be spectacular. They’re highly motivated fans. This one isn’t for the passive. It’s for the die-hard die-hard. We could go to Facebook for pure numbers. But give us 500,000 really engaged people, and the blast radius will be enormous.”

I like fighting talk and brands that push the boundaries with their online engagement strategies, so this is definitely one I’ll be watching over the summer. You never know, I may even get an invite…