When ‘social’ was the ‘in’ thing online, businesses were falling over one another trying to turn their businesses’ online presence more social. Many were unsuccessful. Now… ‘gamification’ is the ‘in’ thing and businesses have a greater chance of riding this wave succesfully.
The social wave was misunderstood by many internet experts and business marketers.
They felt that to ride the social wave, businesses needed to make their websites more social. We saw chemists create social networks around their pharmacy, and plumbers did similarly. Nobody joined.
Eventually, many websites became social due to the natural evolution of the social graph, where companies like Facebook exported interactive buttons (e.g. ‘like’, ‘share’, ‘comment’, ‘recommend’) to our business websites, allowing customers to use their social networking websites of choice to interact about our products and services.
Opportunities in the ‘gamification’ era are different.
Wikipedia says “Gamification is the use of game design techniques and mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences”.
Essentially, gamifying is incentivizing. Providing a tangible or intangible goal to keep your customers engaged.
Offline, businesses have been providing such incentives for many years. Think loyalty discounts, competitions for prizes, etc.
When this practice was brought into the online world, or mobile world, the algorithmic mechanics of it were not dissimilar to those of a game, hence the more fancy title of gamification.
As businesses have been incentivizing offline for so long, it is more customary for them to evolve into gamifying online today and latching onto this craze.
Here are three simple ways to begin gamifying your business:
- Badges: where a cafe would once stamp your card on each visit, it can today deliver its customers a badge after so many check-ins, resulting in a free coffee.
- Rankings: an ice skating rink can encourage mobile ratings from members of fellow skaters, with those at the top after a year being given free gear or membership for ensuing year.
- Competitions: a digital camera company can run a photo competition, encouraging people to upload their top photos in order to win a camera or other prize.