5 Ways Brands Gamify their Social Media Marketing

FarmVille encourages users to shareGamification in marketing is a great way to build viewer engagement with your content. Gamification is the use of game mechanics in content to create a more engaging user experience. The developer API’s being available on many social media channels offer many different ways to implement gamification onto their platforms. With the new tools available, marketers have been experimenting with new methods of social media gamification.

In this article I will take a look at 5 different brands and the ways they have implemented gamification in their marketing.

Drive Social Marketing with Gamification – Farmville (Facebook)

Farmville is a Facebook-based online Farm Simulation. The highly-successful game makes use Facebook’s features to add social elements and to encourage the player to share the game with others to unlock new items and rewards.

In Farmville, you will need to ask your Facebook friends to help you reach new goals and improve your farm. The social approach to gamification not only enhances the game experience for players with other friends playing, it encourages players to help spread the word about the game.

Gamify Social Media Features – Volkswagen Fox’s Twitter Zoom Campaign

This Twitter campaign based in Sao Paolo, Brazil makes great use of Twitter’s social and trending mechanics. The Volkswagen Fox Twitter Zoom campaign promoted Volkswagen Fox’s sponsorship of the Planeta Terra Festival by providing tickets through a Tweet-driven game mechanic. Volkswagen shared a map to ticket locations which would zoom in on the location each time someone tweeted #foxatplanetaterra.

Contest hopefuls would tweet the hashtag and encourage friends to do the same to help them track down their free tickets to the music festival. In less than 2 hours the #foxatplanetaterra became the top trending topic in Brazil. For four days leading up to the show, Volkswagen ran multiple races to the tickets, restarting each time someone reached the tickets. This helped keep up momentum for the hashtag through the four days.

The mechanic of this campaign is so simple and straightforward – perhaps its greatest strength. It’s easy for anyone to contribute and to help their friends, and was a great way for Volkswagen to connect with a younger demographic.

The Progress Bar – Reverbnation

Reverbnation successfully uses a common element of gamification in content marketing – the progress bar. When bands first sign up for Reverbnation, they are lead through their basic profile setup, building on their progress bar achievements with each step. Once the profile is set up, bands can continue filling out their progress bar by promoting their site, connecting social media profiles, and sharing their tracks.

Reverbnation also ranks bands by genre, city and country. This is a great way to engage bands and encourage them to keep promoting their Reverbnation page. One of my Portland bands, The Lovely Lost, quickly found that completing Reverbnation’s recommended social media promotion had immediate results on our band’s ranking. This encouraged us to continue working on and sharing the profile to get closer to that number 1 spot, setting benchmarks for finally breaking 200, 100, and so on.

This ranking system is an immediate payoff for bands, and follows through on the progress bar concept with rankings that actually help increase your visibility and provide bands with bragging rights along the way.

Reward System – History Channel’s Foursquare Badges

History Channel has done a remarkable job turning a national brand into a successful Foursquare campaign, and it’s largely thanks to gamification with a rewards system through Foursquare’s Badges. Followers of the History Channel’s Foursquare page will receive tips with historical information, and can earn badges for visiting historical sites around America.

In addition to incentivising historical education, History Channel makes great use of Foursquare’s location-driven mechanics and shows us that it’s not just brick and mortar businesses that can make great use of the Foursquare platform. The bragging rights that come along with History Channel’s badges are sure to impress any American history buff, and it’s proven to be a great way to build on the History Channel brand.

Enhance a Useful Service With Game Elements – Nike+

Nike+ is great gamification example

Nike has implemented gamification in many creative ways in its social media marketing, through its Nike+ campaign. With apps for mobile devices that can keep track of exercise times, run distances and more, Nike+ makes it easy to see your progress in your exercise routine.

Many of these mobile apps feature social media integration, allowing you to share your workout accomplishments (and inevitably create some competition with your friends).

This is a great example of lifestyle marketing that reinforces the Nike brand. It does a great job engaging users and provides a genuinely useful service for anyone trying to keep up their exercise routine.

How can you gamify marketing for your business? We’d love to hear your creative ideas!


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Ross Wilson is a writer, musician, and technology guru. He has worked in many facets of technology and IT since 2005. He also plays in, records, and runs social media for several bands and projects around Portland, Oregon, where he lives with his cat, Lewis.

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