Internet is a global village, where users expect that all their digital experiences will resemble what they enjoy on social media.
Thus, companies that thrive on principles of online communities and gamification are able to create more meaningful connections which gradually leads to higher engagement, customer satisfaction, loyalty and profit.
Gamification is when mechanisms that bring fun, joy and interest in different kinds of games are applied in non-game contexts.
Online community is one of those places.
Without gamification online communities will be a decent platform where members sometimes exchange knowledge, talk to each other and participate now and then.
Gamification is like pixie dust that adds extra-ordinary effect to a product that already functions in a solid way. Gamification brings WOW into things and services that we use so that we start using them with more fun, laughter, insights and aha-moments.
How does gamification function?
Gamification is based on the principles of behavior change and its effectiveness depends on three factors: motivation, ability level and triggers.
When humans interact with digital interfaces or others their motivation cannot be sustained for too long. If a product contains elements of gamification, the motivation of users can be increased after it went down.
In online communities, community moderators can actually help the members maintain high levels of motivation and focus the time they spend on particular content.
Ability is the second ingredient for successful gamification. People are compelled to work on activities they can complete and that are within their competence level. Likewise, people will lose interest if tasks are too easy for them and if there is no the element of a challenge.
In other words, there should be a good proportion between the easy and difficult for people using any platform. The tasks they engage in should be slightly above their abilities, challenging them to use the platform more.
Finally, there is trigger that encourages user to keep being involved. This trigger can be some notification, reminder, or the personalized cue so that the users are there on a regular basis.
We discussed in this article about transforming your business digitally how habit formation within our brains is a three-step loop.
Technology companies: from software, gaming, entertainment or media industry know that and utilize that heavily.
First, there is a cue, a trigger that tells your brain to go into automatic mode and which habit to use. Then there is the routine, which can be physical or mental or emotional. Finally, there is a reward, which helps your brain figure out if this particular loop is worth remembering for the future.
What are some examples of gamification?
Stephen Dale, Founder of Collabor8now Ltd, an organization focused on developing collaborative environments (e.g. Communities of Practice), shared several crucial gamification examples that different businesses can incorporate:
- Achievements (experience points, levels, bonuses);
- Exercises (challenges, discoveries);
- Synchronizing with the community (leader-boards, collaboration);
- Result transparency (experience bars, continuous feedback);
- Time (countdown, speed);
- Luck (lottery, random achievements).
How do you bring gamification into your online community?
There are many functionalities that bring elements of gamification in the online community.
On Nichiate we used these examples of gamification for community members.
- Crowdsourcing information in the shape of blogs, reviews, curated content
- Industry-specific Q & A – questions and answers
- Personalized experience
- Customer Support
- Avoid negativity
Thanks to gamification there will be incentives that may motivate the users to participate to a higher extent and get some rewards for distinguished achievement.
Questions and answers enable community members to contribute in a measurable and meaningful way.
Company or organization building the community may reward its members as they submit their questions or answer them.
Nichiate users are able to choose the content they see thanks to tagging system, different topics to follow, dynamic homepage and elastic search options.
One of the first steps in community building is to obtain personalized news feed as a community member. For instance, in order to get the personalized news feed, your first step is to choose five topics to follow. The platform will also show you the topics to the depth level that you want to read about.
When appropriate, the extra level of gamification can be added further to each segment of personalized feed of our community members.
Thanks to diverse forms of content, especially Q&As companies using online communities can reduce the workload of call centers and decrease the costs of the customer service.
Thus, the call center infrastructure can be actually replaced to fit the needs of contemporary customers that prefer to search for information in writing instead of calling and being called.
Gamification is added into these functionalities especially when users receive notifications via their email. For example, they should take some extra step that will be rewarded or other members commented on their pieces of content.
Community members on our platform do not experience negative behaviors such as removal of community rankings and rewards. Instead, desirable behavior is encouraged through code of conduct and our company’s culture.
If a member behaves in such a way to jeopardize other people’s communication or community safety, then warnings or restrictions will be send towards his or her way.
We believe that you build an inclusive environment as you motivate others to participate in meaningful interaction that benefits all sides rather than punishing inactivity.
Written by: Milena Milićević