Social media is one of many digital technologies available for brands to increase awareness of their products and services.
Companies can use social media to build a community of fans and potential customers. It is also an effective marketing tool for producing user-generated content (UGC).
In this post we will discuss:
- Social media gamification and its benefits
- Five real-world examples of social media gamification
- Three tips for creating interactive posts
By learning how to leverage gamification in social media, you can sustainably increase the success of your future marketing campaigns.
What Is Social Media Gamification?
When companies work game mechanics into their social media strategies, they can harness the powerful motivational pull of gamification.
Social media gamification methods include running polls, adding interactive elements, offering rewards for engaging with social posts, promoting marketing games, and encouraging UGC.
UGC encompasses all the content created and curated by online users (not companies or brands).
Examples Of User-Generated Content Include:
- Social media posts with text, images, audio, and videos
- Forum questions and answers
- Videos hosted on YouTube and other platforms
- Product reviews
Many industries and sectors, such as health, education, retail, and ecommerce, have harnessed gamification to improve customer engagement and boost sales.
Of the same group of surveyed users, 26% say that actively finding products to purchase is one of their main reasons for using social media. They also use social media to find interesting content (30%), read the news (34%), and see content from their favorite brands (22%).
With so many people already using social media applications for purposes other than keeping up with trends or sharing family photos, it shows immense market potential.
Social media networks are built on UGC and provide platforms for all online users to become content creators, sharing their knowledge and connecting with like-minded people.
UGC is valuable for marketing because the content is unique and comes across as less biased. This is because online users consume multiple products and often compare different brands with each other.
Nonetheless, many brands have successfully used social media tools to interact with customers on a more personal level.
Understanding The Benefits Of Social Media Gamification
Social media applications already have gamification features, such as showing the number of followers, likes, and posts, and adding verified badges to high-profile accounts.
Similarly, notifications, profile customization, certifications (such as those awarded on LinkedIn), and progress bars are all video game-like elements that have strategically been added to promote habit-forming actions.
Traditional video games have provided a blueprint for social platforms, making them both entertaining and potentially addictive.
Gamification for social media marketing purposes is a logical step for companies that want to reach their audiences on these highly optimized interactive platforms.
Social Media Gamification Enables You To:
- Boost social post engagement
- Increase reach
- Spark curiosity about the brand
- Drive more traffic to the company’s website
- Add more value to the customer (fun, achievement, rewards)
- Create an emotional connection with the audience
- Build trust and community
- Convert leads to signups and sales
With so many benefits for your company and considering the significant amount of time users spend on social media (a quarter of their leisure time), gamification is one of the best strategic methods to amplify your online presence.
Now that we have covered the Why, you probably wonder, “How?“
Admittedly, social media gamification can be more challenging to execute successfully because so many individuals and companies are vying for attention.
Besides following the basic principles of gamification marketing, your approach should be tailored to your company’s social media channels. You have to consider current social media trends, the differences between search intent online versus on a social media platform, and how the user experience and user interface design (UX/UI) influences user behaviors.
Paying attention to current events, pop culture, and the jargon your ideal customer persona (ICP) speaks is also crucial. It is all about being relevant and helpful.
Let us look at some examples of social media gamification campaigns.
Examples Of Games You Can Run On Social Media
The power of gamification is not new to social media creators. The most popular social technologies (such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram) feature polling, tagging, mentioning, and emoji-like reactions.
These features solicit responses to boost interactivity and create a sense of community. Feedback features often spark competition: seeing which posts get the most ‘likes’ or the thrill of posting a controversial question to draw out reactions from others.
Businesses can use these gamification features to understand customer behaviors better and sell them the right products.
5 Ways Companies Use Social Media Gamification:
Let us deep-dive into these examples of how companies apply marketing games in social media.
1. Polls And Quizzes
As mentioned, most social networks offer poll, quiz, and survey features to encourage audience participation.
Asking customers for feedback on social media gives them an accessible way to communicate directly with your company. It is also the fastest way to find out about their immediate needs or pain points.
Polls are especially engaging because they allow participants to see the results and how their feedback compares with others’ responses.
But using this social media feature has its advantages and disadvantages.
Advantages Of Using Social Media Polls:
- Instant participation and results
- Easy social sharing
- Little to no design work is required
- Enables piggybacking off existing social media trends
Disadvantages Of Using Social Media Polls:
- Unbranded content (appears in the social media platform’s UI)
- Limited customizability
- It does not drive traffic to the company’s website
- A short lifespan (for example, Instagram Stories or LinkedIn Polls)
- Difficult to replicate on other platforms
- No dashboard with analytics
You can use a gamification platform like Brame to create customized, branded quizzes that you can share via a link on your social media channels.
Another significant benefit of using a gamification platform with social sharing capabilities is a broader range of quiz-type options. Brame offers question-based Game Concepts like Swipe, Personality Test, Quiz, and Survey.
Not only will iframe-embedded polls drive more traffic to your website, but they will also bring longevity and a consistent experience to your campaign. Moreover, you can access all the relevant data on one intuitive dashboard.
2. Influencer Promotions
Influencers seem to be dominating the social media space. As social media enthusiasts who have a bearing on other social media users’ buying behaviors, companies often approach influencers to run promotional campaigns highlighting their products or services.
They variably use gaming features such as rules, time limits, challenges, social sharing, and opportunities for autonomy (such as prize options and different ways to participate). Most importantly, influencers leverage social capital to activate their third-party marketing campaigns.
Social capital encompasses valuable intangible assets such as networking, social influence, status, belonging, community, trust, and development opportunities.
When using influencer marketing, a company can provide prizes such as products, discount coupons, monetary vouchers, and free memberships to incentivize follower participation.
The most important consideration for companies is offering the kinds of rewards that the target audience will want to compete for. This is why it is crucial to understand your ICP and help them establish an emotional connection with your brand.
3. Viral Hashtag Challenges
Many brands have ‘hacked’ the hashtagging feature on social media platforms to create viral marketing campaigns, also known as branded hashtag challenges.
The premise of a branded hashtag challenge is simple: Create a hashtag and add an action to be copied and shared. For instance, KFC launched the #DoTheColonel challenge on TikTok in 2020 to increase the franchise’s popularity in Germany.
KFC’s social media campaign included several key elements to ensure its success and relied on UGC to market the brand.
KFC’s #DoTheColonel Hashtag Challenge Elements:
- Catchy hashtag
- Soundtrack with a few basic dance moves
- 22 German social media influencers to launch the dance challenge
- Virality through social sharing
Not all branded hashtags will be equally successful if they simply add the four elements of the KFC campaign. However, hosting a social media challenge can still be an effective approach to niche marketing. It can activate a core group of your target audience to become paying customers or brand ambassadors.
4. Playable Ads
Social media is used extensively for paid advertising in the form of “sponsored” posts that appear in a user’s feed.
While this can be an effective tool if the targeting is right, in our experience, social ads do not always deliver the desired results. However, ads have their place in the ecommerce ecosystem and can be enhanced to become more interactive.
It starts with adding compelling calls to action (CTAs), which elicit a response from the ad viewer.
Today, it is not always enough to simply add a button that says “Buy Now” or “Try Me.” Consumers want to know exactly how an action will benefit them and gauge whether it is worth their effort.
And this is where gamification can take social ads to the next level of customer engagement: Instead of the ad prompting the customer to buy the product, it can prompt them to tap on a link to participate in a branded game and win a prize.
The game can be used to educate potential customers or get them to share zero-party data. This data can be captured in your CRM and used for nurturing marketing-qualified leads (MQLs) into paying customers.
5. How-To Videos
Companies use video-sharing and other social platforms to post step-by-step videos explaining how to assemble or operate their products.
How-to videos are usually posted as UGC, such as those on YouTube. But many businesses have taken the initiative to create their own as an authoritative resource for their customers.
How is this a form of gamification?
Providing incremental steps to achieve a goal is a successful learning tactic and a game element. It motivates people to achieve a higher level of competence or reach a milestone.
Video content hosted on social platforms can also be a springboard for more in-depth content on your website and other marketing campaigns to attract customers.
We have looked at five methods to use social media gamification strategies, but there are many more ways to gamify specific features for marketing purposes.
Creativity is vital to engage your audience in a new marketing campaign. The messaging accompanying your social media game mechanic is as important as the actual game, so let us look into how to craft social media gamification messages.
Tips On Crafting Your Messages Using Social Media Gamification
Although it is a learning process, you can use some proven strategies to create engaging posts on social media. The content should inform the user and use sincere, relatable, and appealing language.
3 Tips For Crafting Social Media Messages:
- Apply Game Mechanics To Drive Engagement
- Follow Best Practices For Creating Engaging Posts
- Measure Success And Refine Campaigns
Customers will take action on social posts when they understand the goal and are motivated to achieve it.
1. Apply Game Mechanics To Drive Engagement
You need four elements to make a game: goals, feedback and rewards, rules, and opportunities for autonomy.
Whether using a social post to share a marketing game or run a giveaway campaign, it is good to try and tie in all four elements.
Questions When Applying Game Mechanics:
- Does the post give the customer a clear, desirable goal to achieve? For example, “Get a free classic donut with the purchase of any beverage.”
- Are you highlighting the reward (a free donut)?
- Did you set any limitations or rules? For example, the customer must purchase a beverage to be rewarded with a free donut; it must be a classic donut, and the deal is time sensitive.
- Does the customer have opportunities for autonomy? In other words, are you giving them choices? For example, they may purchase any kind of beverage and choose any flavor of classic donut for free.
2. Follow Best Practices For Creating Engaging Posts
Each social platform has its focus area. Instagram for sharing images, LinkedIn for making professional connections, Twitter for short texts, and so forth.
But in general, there are some easy ways to create attractive and engaging posts.
Best Practices To Create Engaging Posts:
- Write for easy reading.
- Address the reader (“You,” “Your”).
- Use limited, appropriate hashtags.
- Mention the accounts that are involved in the campaign.
- Share something helpful, valuable, or entertaining.
- Add a clear call to action (“Here is how you can win,” “Comment below,” “Participate by tapping this link,” “Learn more,” etc.).
- Add rich media, such as images, GIFs, videos, audio, or link previews.
- Tag relevant accounts in images, and use the location feature when appropriate.
- For TikTok, pay attention to the trending songs of the day for increased discoverability.
3. Measure Success And Refine Campaigns
Social media platforms provide limited analytics tools to track the progress of posts. You can access better analytics tools to track engagement if boosted with social ads.
A Few Things To Consider About Social Ads:
- Some posts cannot be edited after they have been sponsored.
- Certain social platforms enable A/B testing to find winning posts.
- A “Sponsored” notice will appear on your post.
- Social media ads are notoriously costly but still cheaper than traditional advertising.
- Audience targeting may require trial and error before correctly delivering your ads to the desired leads.
If you run a campaign using a gamification platform like Brame, you can accurately track user engagement and capture leads in your CRM while driving more traffic to your website.
This also means you can use website metrics to measure and segment your social media referrals, which gives you more reporting capabilities.
Your Next Level In Social Media Marketing
Social media is a powerful tool for marketing and an inviting space to engage and educate your audience.
People are already using social media to find products and services to purchase. Brands must provide compelling, gamified content to get their attention and keep them returning.
Brame is a web-based platform that enables you to create customized, branded games that you can share on social media. You can embed games, add lead capture forms, measure customer actions, and manage rewards all on one easy-to-use dashboard.