The Gamification of Social Media

Robert Nissenbaum (follow him on Twitter at @RNissenbaum) of Tactical Social Media recently wrote a post about fun being the ROI of social media, which made me think. We’re all intrigued by fun, but can it lead to more business? If you read the statistics on how many hours people spend playing games, with every subsequent generation spending more time and money, then you’d say it makes a lot of sense. For instance, Millennials spend 1.47 hours a day playing games, according to the Wall Street Journal. 1.47 hours!

Anything Can Be Gamified

Gamification is the practice of adding gamelike elements to reward behavior in a non-game setting. Think: getting points every time you brush your teeth.Or an award for doing the laundry. Or washing the car. I’d like a prize for doing the dishes! Also: can someone please make music come out of the soap dispenser? Please and thank you.

 

Four Square and Gamification

 

Four Square and Gamification

Foursquare

Foursquare is one of the first social media platforms that made social more fun. With its location-based check-ins, badges, mayorships, and points, Foursquare gave users a way to measure excitement during outings. Foursquare’s explosive success has led to its morphing into a company that rewards its users in different ways now, without the intense competition that led to its early success. Still, the idea of play and social became intertwined with Foursquare.

 

Are Fun and Serious Work At War?

 

Are Fun and Serious Work At War?

Are Fun and Serious Work at War?

Fun and serious work can coexist peacefully. Playing games at work or playing games for work is possible when the purpose is to get work done. Many people experience a “flow experience” from playing music. And a game player achieves that same “flow” while playing a game. So why not play games at work? In fact, as Mario Herger explains “with new times there are new tools. And “Sales gamification platforms are one new set of tools that you can use.”

Could Gamification Work with Social Media?

Among your co-workers, how about running contests for the post with the biggest reach, or the most comments? You might consider giving away movie tickets, a night out, or a board game as a gift for the tweet or post that creates the most “likes” on a company account. Of course, the playing field would need to be level for each instance. You could also give away a prize for the best tweet during a tweetchat. Here’s a post about Twitter Chats: 101 tips for success.

 

Gamification Can Make You Smarter

 

Gamification Makes Us Smarter

Gamification Makes Us Smarter

Gabe Zichermann, in his excellent TED talk on gamification, explains how kids, given a game-based curriculum, improved in math and science from a third-grade level to a mid-fourth grade level. And the kids, when interviewed, say that “learning is fun.” He underlines that for Gen G (Millennials and those growing up on games), their primary form of entertainment is games or a game-like environment. And he recommends that we all get in the game so that we can understand kids. You might also like this article about how the San Francisco Giants can improve your game.

This article was written by Carol Stephen from Business2Community and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.


Mama’s Secret Recipe to Aid Viral Marketing

Whilst we can’t make something ‘go viral’, the below tips can sure help!

To increase the chance of viral marketing, splash in some originality.

As cliché as it sounds, originality is a vital part of viral marketing success. Our ability to be unique also adds to brand credibility and helps us stand out and be remembered.

Whisk in some storytelling

Stories have been told since the beginning of time. Why, you may ask? Because everybody loves a good story! Disrupting our audience to tell them a story increases the chance of them acting in a way that we desire than when compared to disrupting their life to tell them about the attributes and benefits of our product.

Stories that evoke emotion also evoke engagement, thus increasing the likelihood of them being retold. The chain reaction element of storytelling makes this a vital ingredient to jump start our viral marketing efforts. John Lewis doesn’t sell penguins (not real ones anyways), yet their Christmas ad tugged on the world’s heartstrings (over 23 million of them). When crafting viral marketing content, the audience’s heart is bullseye and the trick is having an understanding of which emotions best fit the campaign. Since Christmas is about friends, family and warm fuzzy feelings, John Lewis successfully plucked the correct heart cords with their adorable advert.

Content that is useful in making others lives’ easier also sees high levels of viral marketing success. For example tricks, tips and warnings are shared in thousands by the audience in the hope of helping peers; we only have to look at the shares from concerned mummies worrying about something or another to see this in action.

Add a handful of keywords

Ensure content is easily found by running a keyword search and tagging key phrases often. It’s also good to take on an integrated approach and make use of numerous platforms to promote content and capture a wider audience.

Add a sprinkle of good timing

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to know that the best time to post on social media is when the target audience is most likely to respond, but of course the optimum time varies from brand to brand. There are a number of great tools out there that analyse the audience’s interests and optimum timing to help us understand what to send and when. If Facebook is the desired medium to roll out a potential viral marketing campaign then check out Likealyzer, the free Facebook performance search tool.

Top it all off with the secret ingredient…

Mamma used to say “patience is a virtue”, and although we may not want to hear it, this is actually the secret to viral marketing success. Not all content clocks up millions of views in the blink of an eye; some viral marketing campaigns gradually build traffic over a few months; some can take years! It’s also important to take into account the size of our target audience, if the message is niche then a million hits is probably a generous target compared to content centred around human interest that has a likelier chance of being shared and passed on to a wider audience.

And finally, serve to influencers

Hundreds of thousands of messages are uploaded online daily and only a small fraction are read, watched or shared. The essence of viral marketing rests on word of mouth and visibility, thus it’s helpful to use targeted influencers to distribute and amplify the message for us. However, if the influencers have a wide reach, chances are we’re a drop in the ocean compared to the amount of requests they receive to endorse messages. So how do we encourage them to share ours? Well, it’s good to start building a relationship with them before we ask for a favour. We can share and comment on their posts, introduce ourselves on LinkedIn or feature them on blogs. Finally, we need to make sure we offer them engaging material; if their followers are likely to react positively to posts then they will be more than happy to spread the content.

So there it is, mamma’s secret recipe for the best viral marketing campaign in town! If you have an additional secret ingredient that this recipe could benefit from then let us know in the comment box below or Tweet us @meltwater.

The Taylor Swift Guide to a Winner Social Media Strategy

While many teens use Taylor Swift’s music as their make-up and break-up bible, marketing professionals could learn a thing or two to learn from Miss Swift as well.

It was announced this week that Taylor has stripped Kim Kardashian of her crown and is now officially the most followed Instagram user, boasting a whopping 45.9 million followers! To say that Swift has mastered her social media strategy is an understatement; let’s take a look why.

Swift Strategy Tip No. 1: Make and Use Influential Friends

Katy Perry and Tay Swift’s feud keeps making headlines. KP can RAWR loudly but Taylor has called in the reinforcements, an army of fans and influential celebrity mates, including her “Bad Blood” video costars. So what’s the lesson here? Like Taylor, when researching influencers, be sure that they add relevance to the social media strategy. “Bad Blood” features only young, female celebs, bringing girl power to a new, receptive audience and producing great content at the same time. Her famous friends then helped spread the work through their own communities.

Swift Strategy Tip No. 2: Join In

Stalking on social media is something we’ve all done but usually don’t like to admit. However to promote her album 1989, Taylor did just that, signing off with #taylurking. She browsed posts uploaded by fans and reposted their content via her Twitter account. Unsurprisingly, it didn’t take long for #taylurking to trend worldwide, a true badge of honour for a flourishing social media strategy. User-generated content campaigns are a great way to increase social engagement, as well as show that we recognise and appreciate interaction from our community.

#Taylurking is just one of the ways Swift continues to engage with her some 38.2 million Insta fans. The social media strategy takeaway here: Forge personal bonds with community members. Play games with them, like their photos, ask them questions and respond to their concerns. Such activities have proved to be very successful in profiling Taylor as a typical girl next door that could easily be our bestie and taking her image beyond a music icon and into a relatable brand that resonates with the audience.

Swift Strategy Tip No. 3: Surprise and Delight Online and Off

Brand love is the ultimate aim for any company, and what better way to receive love than to give it. Taylor often keeps her fans on their toes by surprising them (and building loyalty), both on social media, as we discussed above, but also IRL. Taylor makes her fans feel special by posing for seflies and even inviting them into her home for an exclusive album listening party, which she then documents on her own channels. A small surprise can make a person’s day (or a whole year in the case of ‘Swifties’) and encourages them to spread positive word of mouth. Understandably, delighting customers with gifts can be expensive, so to avoid blowing the budget, we can always make use of a media monitoring tool to help point us in the direction of the brand advocates.

10 Questions With Rebecca McDonald, Social Media Campaign Manager at The Co-operative

 

How long have you been The Co-operative’s Social Media Campaign Manager and what led you down this path?

For a year and a half now, although I have worked in Social Media for over three and a half years – does that make me an old timer yet? It is been an interesting time because of the fast nature of the industry, but also because I have been able to shape my role which has led me down the campaign route. I was already working in marketing communications and had worked on a couple of digital campaigns. I decided that was where my interest lied so I jumped at the chance to specialise and be part of The Co-operative’s first ever Social Media team.

What was your first ever job and what did you learn from it?

I have pretty much had a job since I was 11, but the first job I think I learnt the most from was when I was a florist’s assistant at weekends and during holiday time from the age of 13 to 18 years. The owner of the shop was an amazing man and I learnt a lot about customer service and business 101. I also learnt the value of earning my own money, although I still spent it on magazines and clothes.

What’s top of your bucket list?

Well I am not an adrenaline junkie, so there is definitely not anything like bungee jumping on there. Rather than aim for one big thing I like lots of smaller experiences, so there is a whole list of places I want to visit.

What is your favourite part of your job?

I love seeing a campaign from ideation through to delivery. I work with a great team and I love bouncing ideas off them and working together to see a result. There is a real energy in our office.

Who do you love following on Twitter?

I follow a lot of local accounts to keep on top of news and entertainment near where I live. I love dining out so Twitter is a great source of new restaurants to try.

Why do you like using Meltwater and how does it benefit you?

The Meltwater tool is like an extension of our team. It is the helping hand behind the scenes that allows us to manage our social media channels efficiently. With conversation about the brand growing, it is important that we can listen, analyse and engage with our communities and the wider social web.

What distinguishes The Co-operative’s social media marketing campaigns from competitors?

Our campaigns have to work on a number of different levels. We try to be relevant and topical, but our biggest difference is that we are a co-operative. The challenge we have is to demonstrate this difference in everything we do, as well as deliver commercial benefit to the business.

What is your top tip for creating a successful social media strategy?

Listen! With conversations happening about your brand or topics related to your brand there is no need to guess anymore. It can help shape ideas, gage reaction and gain real actionable insight. All you have to do is listen.

If you had the power to make one wish come true, what would it be?

For all my family and friends to be happy and healthy.

What is your favourite social media channel/which do you spend most time on?

I am not sure if I should admit this, but I am pretty new to Instagram. I use it for work, but I have just started to post content as myself and I am quite enjoying it. I also love Twitter for the topical nature of the platform. It is the source of my news and gossip, as well as industry information and local updates.

#MarketingMinds chat wrap up: Brand Extensions

Last week’s chat covered brand extensions. Here’s what participants had to say.

Q1. What are brand extensions?

@1DigitaLife explains brand extensions as a company’s attempt to add a new market or category and aligning that audience’s wants with the re-hashed product or service proposition.

Q2. Name three reasons why companies would choose to extend their offering.

@ThinkDesignbuzz suggests companies may choose to invest in brand extensions in order to rejuvenate the brand; furthermore brand extensions can also help achieve a competitor advantage and increase ROI and brand equity.

@YesSharleen adds natural evolution of products or services outgrowing the primary brand as an additional reason for businesses choosing to invest in brand extensions.

@Jack_ricketts1 further explains that extensions created by large core companies have the added benefit of economies of scale when it comes to promotion. Moreover, brand extensions can also facilitate brand awareness for the core company as well as amongst the new audience.

Q3. Around 84% of brand extensions fail. What is the key to success?

@ThinkDesignbuzz comments that one reason for a high failure rate amongs brand extensions is due to inappropriate timing. It’s therefore important to research consumer and competitor trends before deciding whether or not to invest in a brand extension, as @Jack_ricketts1 also explains.

@YesSharleen advises that a clear understanding of what we’re aiming to achieve is important, this can be reached by defining our brand position. For example, will the new brand leverage the primary brand, or be completely independent? @THINK_Lyndon adds that understanding our core brand values is essential and that we should keep these at the centre of everything we do.

Q4. How do you know if a brand extension has been successful?

Research conducted after launch is equally as important as prior to it. @AgentPalmer says one key focus area to look at is whether our audience feels there that there’s an alignment with the product offering and our brand; although it doesn’t necessarily mean we have failed if this isn’t the case just as long as the lack of alignment has a positive effect. @YesSharleen states that clarification over brand offering is also important to research. Check out our previous blog on how social media monitoring is the new focus group here.

@THINK_Lyndon suggests that we also monitor market share in the new segment and bench mark ourselves against competitors in order to determine brand extension success.

Q5. What are your favourite brand extensions of all time?

@ThinkDesignbuzz favourite brand extension is Apple and how they have developed their portfolio range from computers into MP3 players, phones, tablets, wearable technology (and the list goes on!)