Super Forum Lookback: Drive Engagement & Bring Gamification to Your Community

By Kelsey Hession posted Sep 29, 2014 03:07 PM


HUG Super Forum has come and gone, but the impact of all its great ideas is just getting started. One of my favorite sessions from the conference was Drive Engagement & Bring Gamification to Your Community on Day 1, held by our own Lauren Wolfe and Angelika Lipkin – or "Laurgelika," as they're fondly known by us here on the Higher Logic team.

What's gamification, you ask? Angelika explained that it's about applying game-thinking and game-dynamics to a non-game context in order to gather results on specified actions. Put more simply, it's about making participation on the site fun for your members. 

There are many industries that use gamification to drum up participation, many of which you may have been a part of, maybe without even realizing! A few examples Angelika gave were airline rewards programs ("Just 100 more miles before you level up to Platinum Member!"), apps that gamify ordinary tasks to make them more fun to accomplish (like Epic Win, an app where you gain points for accomplishing items on your To Do List), and even something as simple as "leveling up" from second to third grade. There was even a study done by a college professor who began rewarding his students with badges for completing their work, which he found to be a much stronger motivational force than the standard grading system, and improved work collaboration to boot.

All great evidence that gamification works, but the good news didn't stop there. The session was bursting at the seams with great ideas for how gamification can be applied to Higher Logic community sites. Ribbons and badges can be used to identify members who have "leveled up" on the community site, which can then get other members wondering how they can get involved when they see them. Similarly, rewards systems can help members feel appreciated for their participation and show them their contributions are valuable, while simultaneously encouraging them to contribute more in the future.

Lauren gave us a fantastic client case study of how the Professional Ski Instructors of America and American Association of Snowboard Instructors (PSIA AASI) uses easy-to-share digital badges as part of their "Promote Yourself" campaign, to encourage engagement and reward achievements on the site. She went start-to-finish with PSIA-AASI's campaign, from the initial goals, to the delivery, to the best types of data to use to the program's progress and see how it succeeds. To learn more about PSIA's gamification campaign with over 50+ badges, contact Chris Rogers, PSIA's Marketing and Sponsorship Specialist in HUG!

The possibilities really are endless. As Lauren and Angelika pointed out, the place to start is one simple question: what activities do you want to encourage on your site? Do you have a new Mentoring or Volunteer program that you'd like members to get involved in? Are you trying to encourage lurkers to come out of the shadows and start contributing to the conversation? Or would you really just like more of your members to upload a picture on their profile?

No matter where your need is, they had ideas to help you get there. If you have a staff member who is an expert in the field your association specializes in, maybe consider hosting an "Ask an Expert" session to get people talking and entice members who may have not yet logged in to the site. To encourage discussion between members, host "Question of the Month" polls to get opinions flowing, and then start a discussion on the site to compare answers. To pull people into the site or to get members excited for new features, create a newsletter highlighting the best of the community.

Those are just some of the ideas Lauren and Angelika gave us, and there were even more from clients in attendance. If you missed the session, take a look at the PPT here on HUG to get more great ideas, as well as tips on how you can start getting gamified on your own site!