Creating brand standout through engagement is a digital marketer’s ongoing challenge. With the vast majority of brands competing in crowded categories without the benefit of deep pockets for above the line campaigns, pertinent engagement is the highly sought after sweet spot of marketing.
Long gone are the days when brands could get away with running basic photo and sweepstake campaigns and achieve extensive engagement, if you want supercharged engagement then there’s a new game in town.
Social gamification has the potential to deliver this holy grail in engagement plus much more. Delivered successfully, it ticks all the boxes of awareness, education and even driving product trial all through entertainment.
In essence, social gamification is creating a Facebook application that educates and incentivises new and existing customers to play, win, share and shop. Take this entertainment and amplify it through a brand’s social and digital platform and you can create a marketing activation that has the potential to bring new consumers to your brand, not just to engage but to purchase too.
When it comes to delivering social gamification successfully, follow these eight rules:
1. Define one key objective
What do you really want to achieve with your campaign? Smartphone app downloads, growth of social communities, social commerce, customer acquisition or perhaps all of these. Stick to one or two objectives and deliver them well.
2. Playability meets relevance
To create standout, fun interaction between your brand and the user is essential. It requires a high quality, branded environment where the user can have a degree of fun without having to think too hard. Added to this, an element of competitiveness is needed to drive repeat visits as well as sharing: time trials, brainteasers or perhaps even pitching community members against each other and offering rewards in the process.
Within this branded experience you can also educate consumers in a subtle way. The result? People having fun on your social channels while subconsciously learning about your brand.
Prizes are the key element that draws prospects to your activity. From virtual prizes, coupons and exclusive content to physical prizes, what would spur an action from your prospects?
When it comes to the game/app mechanic, instant wins have a far stronger appeal. From the consumer’s perspective, they get the news they want sooner (win or lose) which in turn builds a strong degree of interest and trust in their subconscious around your brand, allowing them to quickly feel engaged with the business and maintaining their interest in your channel.
Finally, use your prize mechanic to drive your social presences further. Offer additional chances of winning if users follow your other social channels or tweet it out to friends. This is where running gamification on social media really comes into its own.
4. The five second rule
With so much noise across social channels, your campaign instruction needs to be obvious within five seconds - what does your visitor need to do to get involved and what’s in it for them? If they don’t get it, they won’t engage.
The same applies to ensuring all imagery is good quality and eye catching. No matter how good your game is, without the correct standard of imagery, it will either not get prioritised by Facebook’s algorithms which impact upon reach, or consumers will simply not engage.
5. Mobile is number one
Mobile is now our ‘first screen’. With over 60% of adults now owning a smartphone, anything you do on your social channels must be mobile-friendly. Ensure any images, content or games you play are seamless on mobile as well as desktop. This includes the ability to play with fingers (mobile) and mouse (desktop).
6. Digital amplification
Establishing your campaign to your audience is 50% of the battle. Without having any planned marketing activity, especially on Facebook, your months of hard work could be wasted. Maximise and amplify your campaign as effectively as possible using digital platforms; online display ads and PPC can help you reach new audiences in a targeted way.
7. Keep them coming back
Don’t be fooled into thinking that consumers can get tired of opportunities to win. If you have an instant win activation or a daily prize draw, you can keep them coming back. But always keep in mind what’s in it for the user or you will lose them.
8. Turning fun into hard cash
So how can your campaign help you drive sales? Aside from consumer education, social gamification apps have the ability to become a coupon dispenser. But this isn’t about giving coupons away to everyone, it’s about allowing entrants to ‘earn’ them. Experience shows that, when a consumer has received their coupon in return for them doing something, it has a higher value to the owner and with it a high rate of redemption.
Consumers turn to social media for escapism and entertainment. If you can take this demand and turn into the chance for them to have fun, learn about your products and receive discounts or free products, then you can make gamification work hard for your brand.
By Hayden Allen-Vercoe, Chief Operating Officer at Orbital Media.
Orbital Media is a social media agency that specialises in the development of award-winning gamification apps.
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