the core of what we do centers around finding way to engage all the users of our communities, attracting them to become and stay active and thus create a vibrant and valuable community. Through gamification, we aim at triggering those “happy moments” (endorphine releases) which provide a gratification for users and hook them to our communities.
However, the current gamification system is highly geared towards specific activities around creation of content and misses other social activities that I want to endorse to drive a healthy community. I'm Think about a city: not only do you need roads and buildings, you also need water & electricity services, canalization, public transportation, etc.
Therefore I want to suggest to enhance the gamification system with additional triggers that are more geared toward pushing additional activities that bring value to the community and invite all of you to chime in :)
Personal recognition - creating a gratifying experience
Currently users don’t know what they earn points for and from whom. They can't see it e.g. in their profile. Therefore: Make earning of points and ranking transparent, e.g. add a stream in their profile dedicated to earning points & reputation. Additionally, allow community managers to be notified about users reaching/passing certain thresholds, so that they can immediately act/recognize.
Why does it work: People value personal recognition and recognition is one of the most powerful human desires (see e.g. Reiss’ Basic Desire theory). Making the earning of points transparent
- generates instant gratification (endorphins) for the user and
- enables community managers to personally target at milestones.
- Users can check how he earned points for writing a reply, for a reply being recognized as correct answer etc.
- Community Manager can immediately write a “congratulation” note when a user reaches new rank e.g. Expert Member.
Driving community value – by lowering barriers for engagement
90-95% of the community users are visitors who read the community content and then leave again. However, we know from surveys on our current community that 38% of these say that community content helped them. However, this positive impact is not reflected in the content, as only logged-in users can interact with the content. Therefore we want the option to allow non-logged-in users to engage at a low level, e.g. by “liking”, marking as “helpful” or sending a “Thank you-Badge”, etc. without having to have a community profile.
Why does it work
- drastically lowers the entry barrier,
- creates a powerful incentive for the active people (multiplied incoming points and thank yous – see endorphins & points above)
- Through high-volume input helps Community Managers demonstrate community ROI, helping identify current content/issues etc.
- User searching on Google clicks on top search result from community, as he quickly scans the page and notices that it helps him, he can leave a quick
- Community Manager notices massive increase in helpfuls for content x, he/she can escalate to other departments.
Helpful – triggering desired behaviors for a healthy community
As written at the top, I think that we need more activities in the community that can be targeted via gamification, i.e. that users can earn points/badges/ranks for, as they represent behavior that we want to push in the community
Among these are:
- “Helpful”: allow users to mark not only as "like" but helpful. Only about 12% of original posters comes back to mark the correct answer, and in large communities it becomes increasingly expensive to have moderators scan and re-scan for helpful replies. Enabling "Helpful" or "Most helpful" marking partially resolves this bottleneck while still providing orientation (=value) to users - especially when allowing for non-logged-in users.
- “sharing in SoMe Networks": target this to increase reach of the community, strengthen community & community content value and incentivize content creators (especially in combination with non-logged in users)
- "Participate in survey": imagine you are about to release a product and 1 week before launch your product team needs some very specific feedback. You pack this question into a survey and can use your gamification system to tweak participation, target users who participated in surveys before, target users who showed a specific interest, etc.