PopJam: Where Creativity Drives the Connections
My last article introduced PopJam and why it’s an appropriate social media platform for younger users. In this article I’d like to share insights about how content providers can capitalize on the PopJam culture to build ongoing relationships with kids.
Anyone who has spent time exploring PopJam is struck by the kids’ passion for the platform, its culture and its community. Kids love PopJam because it fosters creativity; the app’s entire culture is centered upon user art.
A drawing program has been incorporated into the app’s main interface. It features a selection of brushes, opacities, colours, a rotobrush tool, fonts, stickers, and access to the device’s camera. Kids always have a choice to respond to posts by typing a message or by drawing.
Most users quickly become familiar with the app’s play patterns and its unique culture, and participate in the community. There is an art competition called the Daily Challenge, where the winners are rewarded with app-wide recognition; top artists are awarded a Neon Star. And there are things that users do for each other: fanart,where they dedicate artwork to other users; shoutouts, where they mention other users in posts; and rejams, where they re-share the art of other users. PopJammers are also very eager to connect with the official PopJam staff, who judge the competitions and monitor user activity.
The usual marketing strategy for a social media platform is to cast a wide net and go for numbers. Get as many eyeballs on your page/channel as possible, because quantity equates success—even if those followers are barely involved with your product/experience. But we have a content-driven brand, one that seeks deeper engagement between its audience and its product…
The Heart Street Market app, based on the Hearts For Hearts Girls® brand, features four characters from different regions in the world. Its larger mission is to celebrate diversity and expose kids to life in other cultures, promoting a “global citizenship” through digital play. At its core are the characters’ stories and a play pattern of making friends, collecting, servicing others, and building community.
How could we connect this experience with PopJam’s users in a meaningful way?
As I mentioned in my last article, one barrier to user satisfaction on PopJam is achieving creative recognition from the larger community. (Art is such a personal expression, perhaps that’s why getting it seen means more to users than a typical social media post.) We decided that we would rather start out with a smaller set of followers who could achieve some of that satisfaction, while also engaging in the content of our brand. We would create a community of “avids.” The following outlines our experience taking the PopJam foundation and building an audience for @heartsforheartsgirlsgames.
Our characters are from India, Ethiopia, Mexico, and the US. So, in the channel’s first posts, we offered girls activities such as colouring Indian saris, designing Ethiopian water containers, and decorating Mexican cookies. Our community manager kept a close eye on the channel and any comments on the posts. In response, she began rewarding exceptional artwork with shoutouts, and channel participation with fanart. Hearts’ audience soon realized they could acquire the recognition they sought through our channel. They also liked the content themes on which our activities were based. Many girls became regular visitors.
Next, we wanted to reward regulars with an experience unique to our channel. So we started the “Hearts Club.” The Club connects users with our community manager in the feed for a couple of hours every week. She proposes a theme and everyone draws something. All the member drawings are combined in a collaborative image that’s eventually posted in our channel.
The results have been exciting. The collaborative images or “collabs” are much more than the sum of their parts, and every club member feels vested in the final piece. Collabs have included “Saving Giraffes,” “Saving Bees,” and “Raising Awareness for Pride Month.” The giraffe image was shared dozens of times and one of PopJam’s staff members shared the Easter post.
Each week in the Hearts Club, we are witnesses to girls’ creativity and their passion for making the world a better place—and how our brand is uniquely qualified to fulfill those attributes. Our numbers are building, perhaps more slowly than a wide, scatter-shot campaign might—but also without a huge investment in platform marketing. And best of all, the members of our community are eager, responsive, and vested in our brand.
PopJam is a unique social media platform—and it provides our brand with the tools necessary to foster girls’ better natures. Visit us on PopJam @heartsforheartsgirlsgames and see what we’re doing.
The next article will discuss creating connections between a PopJam channel and a mobile game.