Gamification on Social Media: An Effective Retention Method
Gamification is a term that almost everyone will have heard. It is the simple term of turning an activity into something resembling a game. It is rather simple to understand and not difficult to incorporate into any marketing strategy. However, for this article, we will focus on purely social media, rather than the entire marketing mix.
Gamifying your social media is a great way to ensure that yourself and your audience remain engaged in the face of an ever-increasingly competitive digital landscape. So, here’s what you need to know.
What Is Gamification?
Gamifying your marketing strategy doesn’t just involve creating games. It’s a lot simpler than that. It essentially means adding the same mechanics that video games have and applying them to your social media.
Gaming mechanics involve:
• Challenging your audience
• Creating pleasure
• Generate Urgency
Every computer game out there involves these mechanics in some form or another, from the original Pac-Man to Call of Duty. The overall emotion that gamification brings are fun and is gratifying. When people play games, it releases dopamine in the brain, a hormone that strikes pleasure as a reward for something good happening. The idea of gamification is to attach this reward hormone to your social activity.
What Are the Benefits of Gamifying My Marketing Strategy?
By incorporating the gaming mechanics correctly, you should start to see many benefits to your social campaign and your overall business. They include:
• Repeat visits to social platforms and engagement and traffic to your website/product/sales – whatever your social goals are.
• Brand differentiation
• One-to-one relationships with potential, current and past customers.
How Can You Incorporate These into Your Social Marketing?
Rewards are the most underlying emotion in any games as usually the culmination of time, dedication and skill result in rewards – such as receiving a high score or a secret level.
In a social media perspective, rewards are given after your audience does a specific task you want them to do, such as receive a ‘receive a discount voucher by signing up to our mailing list’ or ‘receive 1,000 likes and we will reveal our book title’.
Rewards needn’t be of monetary value – they can anything, such as a reveal to badges.
Rewards can be given both singular customers and to your entire audience. For a one-to-one, it will create a better brand image towards that individual. For your entire audience, it will help build presence (as anything ‘free’ is more likely to be shared) and encourage new and old customers to shop on your website.
Example: Dropbox and Uber reward people with more storage/free ride for those who introduce the app to their friends.
Create Urgency with Timing
Piling on the pressure on your audience will generate engagement. This creates stress for your audience that they may ‘miss out’ if they do not act. This can be a simple sale that ends at midnight.
However, we have found that extreme urgency on social media, such as flash and instant sales, provide great engagement and sales. An example:
40% off all trousers, jeans and accessories. Hurry! Only for the NEXT HOUR with code ‘flash sale’. Add a counting down clock GIF for added effect.
Generate Statistics & Competition
Everyone loves a good stat and games are fundamentally built around statistical information. These statistics can be shared with your audience – such a reaching a milestone in followers, the number of points a person has. Social media is similar – all the measurements that you have (followers, the number of tweets) are statistics. When customers have statics, they can compare it to their peers, creating competition.
This competitiveness can be harnessed on social media. Asking fans to submit something, with a reward for the highest likes, will generate interest.
Example: eBay is considered a competition. When you are bidding on an item, you are actively competing with the other bidders for that item. Some hard-core eBay-ers want to win the auction rather than win the item they are bidding on…
Challenge Your Audience
An easy game will get boring very quickly. Challenging your audience is the key to a good game and your gamification methods should be the same.
Remember the craze of finding the panda among snowmen? That became viral because it was hard but also fun. Finding your own version of that (or ask perhaps asking a hard question relating to your sector) will provide an increase of engagement.
Provide Something Educational to Your Audience
All games will require some form of learning to participate. Whether it is the controls, the rules or the narrative, the player will learn something. By knowing these things, the player is entertained.
The same can be applied to your social media posts. If you post something relevant to your target audience that helps better understand their interests, then it will generate a continual interest in your work.
Copy is important in these circumstances as they require action on the behalf of your audience. By trying to get your audience to achieve your desired outcome, your copy on the post will need to convey your intentions. Verbs are key and each desired outcome will have a different category e.g. creating competitions will be: win, challenge, fight.
It is also important to know what motivates your audience, so research and testing will be necessary.