You’ve worked hard on building the infrastructure of your association. If you’ve been around for a while, then chances are you’ve seen it change, perhaps in ways that render it nearly unrecognizable. Sure, the message is the same, but what was once accomplished with physical meeting places and paper copies of magazines is now handled online.
All of your content, as well as your community area, is now accessible any time of the day from just about anywhere in the world. But there’s a drawback: the loss of synergy. When you’re meeting with your members face to face, it’s easy, or easier, to get them motivated, and to get them communicating with one-another; but how do you transfer that to the digital environment where people may be online at completely different schedules from one-another? You add some play.
I get that “play”, at first sight, feels like the antithesis to the serious work your association is trying to accomplish, and I am in no way suggesting that be diminished. However, if you want to promote engagement between members who may have never met face to face, you will need to do something to break the ice. And that something is gamification.
Gamification is something of a loaded term, but if we reduce it down to its simplest element, gamification is simply a tool used to foster engagement. It can be implemented in a number of ways, and doesn’t need to be complicated at all. Adding badges that members can earn for various means of engagement is a great way to start. By incentivising certain methods of interaction, you can gently steer your members into interacting with each other in a fun, and long lasting way.
The most important rule for implementing any type of gamified system is that it must be public. If you do go with a badge system, each members badge must be viewable by the other members. Doing this will make the system feel like a community activity.
Gamified systems also appeal to different personality types: competitive people will want to earn the most badges, social people will enjoy the communal aspect, while explorative personality types will like the unexpected reward of earning a new badge.
We have a lot more to say about gamification, and how to foster active engagement with your association’s website. Click here to watch our exclusive video, Three Web Strategies to Increase Active Member Engagement, and learn how to transform your associations website into an experience your members can’t resist!