When it comes to the seriousness and professionalism that characterize communities, the concept of using game-design elements may sound like a mismatch. After all, it’s a relatively new phenomenon that draws its inspiration from the achievement systems and progression paths found in many modern video games.
Nonetheless, gamification is already being used with a great deal of success across a wide range of industries, such as marketing, education and retail.
Here are five benefits that gamification will bring to your community.
Foster Customer Engagement
It’s human nature to do things to achieve a sense of purpose and receive recognition for your efforts. Gamification techniques capitalize on the fact that many games are highly addictive, with people chasing achievement points and trying new ways to complete levels.
Applied to a community forum, this sense of progression increases engagement by injecting some fun into the equation. B2B communities don’t have to be serious all the time. Besides, today’s audiences are more receptive to gamification than ever before.
Motivate Constructive Involvement
Gamification isn’t just about playing games and having fun, and things like achievement points don’t have to be superfluous. For example, by allowing people to upvote and downvote posts, and assigning reputation points to members accordingly, you’re providing a system that gives constructive participants formal recognition of their efforts.
This also makes moderation a simpler endeavour, since it allows members to determine what sort of content is valuable to them. By contrast, unhelpful content with too many downvotes may be automatically greyed out to decrease its visibility – good for UX.
Inspire Brand Advocacy
An engaged community member is someone who enjoys being part of something. Studies show that an engaged customer is three times more likely to recommend a product, service or brand to a friend.
That’s why your community portal is among the most powerful marketing tools of all: it creates an environment where brand advocates are born. Since gamification motivates members through rewards and recognition, constructive posters feel appreciated as valuable members of the community, and will be all the more willing to spread the good word.
Gather Useful Customer Data
Among its more practical applications, gamification also gives your business another source of data to improve community relations. For example, if your self-service support forum is seeing a lot of upvotes, it may indicate that your customers are adept at helping one another. On the other hand, if there are lots of downvotes, it might be time to intervene by clearing your community of poor-quality content and curating more useful feedback yourself.
In another example, allowing your members to accrue ranks and reputation points gives you the opportunity to identify the most valuable people in your community so you can thank or reward them directly.
Your business’s reputation is now more than ever in the hands of your customers, and the role of branding and user-generated content in marketing simply cannot be ignored. To stay relevant in today’s fast-changing and technology-driven world, you need to know how to leverage user participation and feedback to build your reputation and reinforce your brand.
Gamification allows you to retain a degree of control by giving you the necessary tools to steer the conversation in the right direction, and build a community that truly reflects the values of your brand. The system is now so common that your customers would likely accuse you of being outmoded if you still not using it.