Whether or not you “like” marketing your business on Facebook, your users want to do much more than “like” your business in return. They want to be engaged.
Though marketing on the world’s largest social network is no game, infusing your campaign with gamified elements is one of the best ways to get ahead. Installing gamification at the center of your strategy drives usage and bridges the gap between clicks and meaningful activity, building both community and a healthy content stream.
The following five steps are meant to help all companies apply successful gamified solutions to their brand’s Facebook page, ultimately increasing awareness, adoption, engagement, loyalty, and retention.
1. Know your users’ engagement flow. Sure, users might initially start by “liking” your page, but ultimately you want them to buy, subscribe, or refer. Those are the things you like. In order to elicit these actions, you’ll need to start by tracking every stage of user engagement on your Facebook page. Start by identifying all the major waypoints in the process (e.g. read, like, share, link, invite, buy, subscribe) and then track metrics as users move through each. These progress metrics should be accessible to everyone on your team; as an essential part of your dashboard, they can inform strategic shifts and help capitalize spikes in behavior.
2. Assign points for actions. What do almost all games require? Points! Facebook naturally lends itself to a points system by way of its many social actions, including likes, joins, tags, invitations, shares, and messages. One of the simplest and most motivational elements of gamification is a point system for these social actions. Start by offering a small reward for every action (say 5 to 10 points) and consider the relative values of subsequent behaviors. Of course, build a scoreboard, too -- all gamers want to see their progress, be it in a score window or a leaderboard. Don’t worry just yet about how the points are going to be redeemed; over time, you’ll add meaning to different actions by making them redemptive towards status and achievements. Of course, if you already run a large loyalty program, make sure your Facebook app leverages the existing system.
3. Run a contest. engage users. repeat. Contests have come a long way since Publishers Clearing House. On Facebook, they’re one of the best ways to use the network effect to drive interest. The keys to running successful contests are clear rules, easy actions, a great prize, and lots (and lots!) of promotion. It’s important to understand that most contests are not viral and self-perpetuating; audiences need to be informed of prize availability and whether contests are skill-based or not. Contests are also amplified by regularity, so consider holding them at defined intervals to encourage appointment dynamics.
4. Design gamified challenges for the everyman. You know why there are so many people on The Social Network? Commenting and tagging isn’t exactly rocket science. While Facebook users might be engaged, they aren’t necessary challenged. Set yourself apart by rewarding their social actions with short-term bonuses, then tie those actions together across a campaign that eventually yields prizing. One example of this is Oprah’s Thank You Game, which asks users to express their gratitude each day based on challenges issued via Twitter or Facebook. The key to gamified challenges is focusing on simple, authentic actions that anyone can do.
5. If you build it, they will come. Just don’t build it yourself. The hardest thing about nailing gamification isn’t nailing the technology -- it’s nailing the design. Today, a plethora of technology vendors help make gamification technology turnkey, both on and off Facebook. Companies like The Game Agency [shameless plug], Bunchball, Badgeville, and BigDoor offer tools to make all your engagement objectives come to life. That way, you can apply your resources to building memorable user experiences versus building out custom technologies. For this, your users won’t just like you -- they’ll thank you.