“Gartner predicts that by 2015, over 70% of the global 2000 will have at least one gamified process”.

Gamification is the implementation of game mechanics to transform user participation with a portal, web collaboration platform or engagement network – into an all the more engaging experience. Nah it’s not video games – however, the same techniques being used by games are being implemented in web portals and communities too, making them fun and interactive. Many businesses are driving engagement with suitable types of gamification mechanics on to their customer/employee/partner engagement platforms.

Various brands like Coca Cola, Deloitte, American Express, Samsung, Philips Electronics, and more have been leveraging game mechanics to win and increase engagement successfully.

Integrate Gamification into your community

Gamification consists of a process where users involved can earn badges and points, receive awards, acquire elite status, win contests, compete on leaderboards and can do a lot more. Success of community depends on the member’s engagement and – it optimizes & engages users through behavioral science.

Different communities have different features just like Facebook uses “Like”, Lithium community uses “Badges”, key features and ways used to create engagement include:

  1. Elite Status: Provides the users with executive gold/bronze/silver or other custom level status, display different ranks and levels that shows participation level of the user. For e.g. Air Canada uses 3 status tiers Prestige, Elite and Super Elite.
  2. Leaderboards: Track users’ points and rewards in the community. These are often used to highlight the current progress of a user in the community to motivate others. For e.g. Twitter, MTV reward its users for retweeting content and award fans for voting.
  3. Real time interaction: Engages users in real time while they earn badges and see their total points through gamified behaviors i.e. game design techniques on site. It also enhances their motivation levels through instant feedback. For e.g. Samsung Nation awards users based on their participation.
  4. Badges: Come with default badges and an option to tailor new ones as per community specific needs. Similar to leaderboards, badges are used to motivate, reward, and engage community members. For e.g. lithium community badges such as kudos, round of applause conversation starter etc.
  5. Position Points: Build trust when these motivation pillars are used to reward people for different levels of participation and activities through experience, karma, and redeemable points. For e.g. Jive community uses points to rank users, from novice, medium, senior member to expert.

Gamification for community engagement

Here’s how community members benefit from it:

  1. Motivation: It becomes a cumbersome task to maintain a community engaged and motivated for longer intervals. Surprising members with rewards and awards on an ongoing basis leads to high motivation level
  2. Enhanced customer experience: Instant positive feedback makes us feel good about completing something and motivates to do it again. Feedback mechanics are the widely known gamification ways
  3. Customer engagement: Engagement tools that offer rewards, levels, messages, accolades, honor and leaderboards – drive maximum engagement
  4. Increased customer loyalty: It enhances emotional bonding – turning existing members into brand advocates by providing them familiarity and applauding their inputs and efforts in the success of the community
  5. Increased innovation and ideas: It also empowers users to share solutions & ideas and get rewarded for submitting their ideas for improving engagement. This also promotes healthy competition

Gamification is commonly implemented on SaaS platforms where companies take advantage of cloud services without much need of technical expertise. There are numerous platforms that implement gamified mechanics for online community such as Captain Up, Google Apps, Salesforce, Microsoft Azure, Lithium, Jive and others. Salesforce Communities are also widely known for providing out of the box gamification features that create rich, rewarding online experiences for customers, employees and partners.

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