Gamification: The Social Media Solution to Engagement?

ImageImagine you’re the CEO of a potato chip company and you’re watching your competitors launch products like tortilla shaped popcorn chips and pressure popped potato slices. Your curious customers are flocking to these companies just to get a taste of something different. So what do you do? You let your customers create their own flavor, you host a contest where the top 3 ideas will be sold in stores, and you reward the winners with a million bucks each!

If you haven’t already submitted your flavor idea, unfortunately it’s too late now—but winners will be announced in February! Frito Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” contest has engaged over 150,000 different fans, and thousands of people have either liked or commented on their contest posts. This is just one of the hundreds of examples of companies using gamification to drive engagement on their social media pages.

Gamification, in laymen’s terms, is transforming normal static advertising into games, competitions, or contests to drive consumer engagement. The company becomes deeply engaged with a consumer by offering a game or contest, and the consumer hopefully has fun doing it!

Companies like DailyBreak and Jebbit have successfully taken on the task of gamify-ing brand’s messages, and are offering brand content in the form of puzzles, quizzes and “challenges”. Is gamification finally the social media Holy Grail that brands have been desperately searching for? Potentially, but only if companies actually produce interesting content that consumers find worthwhile to engage in. If too many companies jump on the bandwagon without producing quality content, they might ruin the party for everyone. Let’s not forget what happened to click-through rates on banner ads once everyone started making them!

For now, I’d say gamification is essential to a brand’s success in social media, and honestly, to it’s success in the market. Engagement with current and potential consumers is vital for brands to stay relevant, and ignoring this critical tool would be a huge mistake on their part.

-Shaman Kothari

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