Game On! How to Make Gamification Work for Your Community
As a marketer, you’ve likely heard the term “gamification” thrown around a lot and perhaps wondered what it really means within a community.
In order to be successful, businesses need to engage their community members in a way that matches their business objectives, whether that is by increasing engagement with employees and customers, reducing support costs or promoting a greater sense of community and recognition.
Start with online communities
Online communities are purpose-driven whether for customer support or being solely relationship-driven. Customer communities are used by customers, employees and partners as they work through various decisions or processes, such as purchasing new products or getting support for existing products.
Gamification is used to augment and reward those interactions.
Reward with Pixels not Pennies
Badges in the community can be created by community managers to correspond to specific achievements. Badges also allow community managers to recognize and reward top contributors and promote participation with pixels not pennies.
Building an engaged workforce or customer audience is a common goal of gamification; badging gets companies well on their way to achieving this goal. For example, as a way to get members engaged, Microsoft Dynamics awards every new member with a welcome badge for joining the community. This allows members to immediately feel involved in the community and promote participation from the get-go. Microsoft Dynamics even takes it a step further and lets members showcase their competitive spirit by allowing members to compete with one another.
In addition to badges, members enjoy collecting points—think about how well airlines and other travel services have executed this concept. Community managers reward members with points for facilitating and participating in conversations within the online community, which can help decrease support costs, because members are able to look to the community for help and get answers.
Communicate with community members
In order to keep members engaged and encourage participation, community managers need to communicate with their members—and thus track and monitor where their members stand. It’s also a good idea for companies to recognize their top users on leaderboards and at company events. This not only encourages those top contributors to keep up their activity, but also encourages other members to reach that same status.
In order for gamification to be most effective in a company community, end goals should be well understood and tactics built around those objectives. In order to win the game, businesses need to focus on the objective at hand, encourage employees and customers to step up to the plate and reward those that hit it out of the park.
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