5 Ways Gamification Can Magnify Social Media Campaigns



Whether it’s rewards which encourage sharing, increase urgency, or give away points, gamification can certainly amplify any social media campaign.


Access exclusive SMW+ content by marketers whose careers you can emulate with a free 30-day trial!

No one doubts the power of social media. One Tweet or Instagram image can reach millions with just a click of a button. Despite the virtually limitless potential of social media, most people don’t reach these levels of unabated success.

For every YouTube video with 1+ million views, there are thousands of single digit viewed videos collecting dust on the YouTube servers. That is why it is imperative to have a strategic social media strategy in order to streamline success and reach, (and attempt to reach YouTube’s 1 billion users).

One underrated yet strategic method for amplification of social media is gamification.

You might be wondering, what is gamification and what does it have to do with social media? Why can’t we just Tweet out brilliance and expect the world to appreciate our cute and clever listicles? Well, you can, but why leave things to chance? Gamification offers a structured yet fun strategy to help engage users, which can then amplify your social engagement.

Gamified education and corporate: say hello to social media

There are number of types of gamification: There is education-based gamification, which is tailored toward students by encouraging them to study and learn more. And then there is corporate-based gamification, which incorporates the same fundamentals as education-based gamification, but with corporate aspects such as ROI which are involved. And now, there is social media gamification.

In terms of the fundamentals of how gamification can raise your social media to the next level, there are four primary facets:

1. Reward triggers

It sounds simple, but there is some social benefit for handing out rewards.

One of the reasons that Uber took off the way it did was because they offered a free ride to any user who shared the app with friends. Sure, this takes some financial backing as well, but I’d bet that most companies have spent millions in ads when they could have a lot less than that toward offering free services. And as we know, anything ‘free’ is immediately shared in individuals’ social media circles, be it Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp or wherever.

The point is they are engaging with the app in a way they wouldn’t have, had their not been a reward trigger. Rewards are a huge part of gamification on both an emotional, and even physical level – there is pleasurable dopamine-release effect when one receives a reward.

2. It’s all about timing

One big element of gamification is the time factor. Just like most sports games are exciting due to time constraints (generally in the form of a big overhead clock), apps and website offers can be gamified with a time element in order to increase urgency and excitement, and ultimately engagement.

In a landmark book on mindfulness and education, Malgorzata Powietrzynska, Kenneth Tobin note that “…the biggest error made when trying to make change is to not create a high enough sense of urgency among enough people.” It is clear that urgency is a motivator – and in a world of Tweets, Facebook statuses, and Instagram pictures – motivation will certainly increase engagement in many ways.

3. Statistics

Everyone loves accruing points, as it makes the user feel as if they have accomplished a goal, and, perhaps more importantly, allows them to compete. According to a recent Stanford panel, points are great motivators: “The system of points, badges, rewards and leaderboards featured in most massively multiplayer online games… account for people’s different motivations and needs for interaction or self-expression.”

One of my favorite examples of gamified statistical integration within the sphere of social media was the famous Nike+ Running campaign. This app tracks time, distance, pace, calories, and location. Additionally, all of these stats can be shared publically, mostly on Facebook, which encourages friendly competition and of course social engagement. Additionally, the app offered ‘cheers’ for every Facebook like that a participant received from their Nike status updates. Talk about encouraging engagement. All from a bunch of statistics.

4. Leaderboards

Statistics are great, but only if shared on a leaderboard. For companies that are strapped for cash and cannot offer the cost-heavy free rides that Uber handed out in order to encourage social engagement – have no fear – there is another low cost option. And that is a very public leaderboard which displays points and badges.

The popular maps-based direction app Waze offers points to riders in order for pointing out car accidents, traffic delays, or even police in the area. There is no monetary gain, yet the entire app is built upon drivers submitting real time data, all in exchange for points. Though to be fair, there is certainly an intrinsic incentive for users to submitting data in order to contribute, regardless of point allocation or leaderboard climbing.

5. A gamified user experience

I don’t think anyone doubts the importance of gamification. My point here is to show that it is not just a tool for education and corporate training sessions. Rather, it can be used by literally any company or brand that has a social media presence. Whether it’s rewards which encourage sharing, increase urgency, or give away points, gamification can certainly amplify any social media campaign.

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

Image Source: Local Search Group

Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.

Learn More

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here