Within the past few weeks my colleagues Pam and Colleen started a ComBlu blog series that looks at the four primary areas of community vibrancy best practices: engagement, content experience, community management and gamification and how they measured up based on a study we conducted on behalf of Lithium Technologies. Their blog posts: Community Engagement: Mixed Reviews and Community Content: Primed for Improvement covered the first three vibrancy best practices. Today I will be continuing the series and talk about gamification as a key component of community vibrancy.
Utilizing a gamification system within your community is a great way to keep people involved and drive participation. It helps encourage community members to engage over time and the reward and/or recognition aspect of gamification serves as a solid return motivator.
Our study revealed that gamification by large is not utilized to its full potential. Among the communities we studied, 70% offered some basic gaming functionality, which includes some or all of the following:
- Points system
- Levels (rank)
- Community leaders recognized
- Status and expertise clearly conferred
- Status is associated with high-value content
However, most communities today do not take gamification to the next level and use it to it fully engage members. Big misses include:
- Not recognizing or showcasing high-performing members
- Lack of leaderboards
- Lack of specific engagement/activity badges
A full 91% of the communities studied did not offer an all-time leaderboard. In addition, only half of the communities had a rolling leaderboard. These gamification functionalities provide micro fame and increased recognition within the community – something many members really enjoy.
In addition, 68% of the communities we studied are not showcasing or spotlighting a member and their success in the community, and only 31% had some type of MVP/VIP program in place.
Interestingly enough, the communities with MVP programs are using them well. Ninety-two percent offer a clear explanation for how they work and how to apply, and 71% actively recruit members into the programs. Communities that have a stable membership and do not offer a VIP/MVP program miss the chance to leverage brand advocacy and create a system that sparks both contribution and engagement.
Communities need to focus on identifying and recruiting a group of mentors, designated as VIPs/Experts to help with support responses, build engagement, and grow the brand knowledge base. This will also ensure top contributors feel valued and will go a long way toward enhancing overall vibrancy and will help your gamification thrive within the community.
Do you have a gamification strategy that engages member to their full potential? Please share!
Social engagement and community manager specialist. Current focus on: online communities, community management, consumer/advocate content and engagement strategy, advocate identification, social media measurement and tracking, and social listening programs, along with production and event management. Brenda has 18+ years of experience in both traditional and social marketing programs