Gabe Zichermann is the chair of Gamification Summit (June 19-21) and author of the books Game-Based Marketing, Gamification by Design and The Gamification Revolution out next year. He is also the founder of Dopamine, a strategic consultancy specializing in engagement science.
Despite recent issues with its stock, Facebook remains the juggernaut of social media. With the platform on track to reach a billion users, and a new emphasis on revenue, the company is increasingly focused on how to make social work for business customers.
Currently, the most prolific Facebook feature for business is the brand page. At last count, there were more than 42 million of them, with activity that ranged from 10 likes to millions. As a result, mainstream marketers are increasingly focused on attracting, retaining, and engaging audiences on the platform.
As marketing on Facebook pages grows, so does the interest in using gamification — or the process of leveraging game thinking and mechanics to engage audiences — to drive results. There are actually a number of core patterns and approaches used by the best practitioners. Here are the top six for Facebook marketing, and how to use them.
1. Know Your Funnel
Consider your users’ engagement over time through the shape of a funnel. At the top, there’s the simplest social action they can take — usually liking your page. At the bottom are complex actions like buy, subscribe or refer others. Your goal is to get as many people into the top of the funnel, and as many through it as possible. In order to do this, you need to start by identifying the major waypoints in the process (e.g. read, like, share, link, invite, buy, subscribe) and then track the metrics as users move through. These progress metrics should be shared by everyone on your team, and form an essential part of your dashboard. You can see an example on Fanzy.com, a Facebook gamification provider.
2. Assign Points for Social Actions
There are a wide range of social actions you might want to drive on Facebook, from likes and joins to invitations and messages. One of the simplest and most motivational elements of gamification is a point system for social action. Start by offering a small number of points for every action (say 5 to 10), and consider the relative values of subsequent behaviors. Allow users to see their progress in a score window and potentially in leader boards. Don’t worry just yet about how the points are going to be redeemed. Based on behavior, over time, you’ll add more meaning to the points by making them redemptive towards status and achievements. Of course, if you run a large loyalty program like JetBlue’s, then your Facebook app should leverage your existing point system.
3. Run a Contest
Contests are arguably the oldest gamified Facebook marketing strategy and a great way to use Facebook to drive interest. Generally, the key to running a good contest are clear rules, easy actions, a great prize, and lots of promotion. It’s important to understand however that most contests are not viral and self-perpetuating. There is a disincentive to letting others know about the contest if prizes are limited and not skill-based (e.g. the fewer people play the lottery, the better my odds). If you already have an established user base and want to bring them to Facebook, or you’re doing something skill based — like Panda Express’ Best Photo Contest “Raise the Steaks” — a Facebook contest can be powerful. Contests are also amplified by regularity so consider holding them at defined intervals to encourage appointment dynamics.