Posts Tagged ‘Activity’
I’m starting to notice a major difference between B2B and B2C communities and when asked the other day to sit down and think about Gamification elements for a B2B community I spent a lot of time staring in to space. The biggest hurdle for me to overcome was the one that goes “is it worth it?”. Gamification for me is about enhancing the experience of users, setting challenges to encourage participation, risk and reward along with gaining the ability to brag about how much better you are.
But what about B2B? If your community only connects on a [user - brand] level and not [user-user] because it’s all business focused then some elements of Gamification become null and void. Bragging rights don’t really work but leaderboard might, ranks and levels for contributions aren’t as fulfilling if users aren’t going to engage with each other, rewards have to be geared towards B2B like discounts on account renewals and overall it becomes a shadow of a former glory.
Don’t get me wrong it can still work, and I’ll be working to try and prove that but when compared with some of the cool stuff you can do in B2C communities, it just isn’t quite the same, at least from where I’m sitting. If anyone has had success with Gamification in a B2B environment then I’m all ears but from this side of the table, I’m not sure the effort involved would generate enough of a return for the business.
Perhaps not quite in a literal sense but there are elements of Community Management that can be likened to those found in a game. If you’ve played any games that involve completing tasks in order to progress why not think about increased engagement and contribution in the same way? “Your task is to increase the level of contribution from your audience, your reward will be better web stats to show your boss”. Ok, that’s put it in quite simplistic terms but hopefully you get the point.
Likewise, puzzles and challenges could be the equivalent of dealing with an awkward user in your community or having to work with Customer Support in order to solve a user’s issue.
Those bosses you face at the end of every level or area? Well that’s your realworld boss. Sometimes you need to take several attempts to overcome them and maybe even leave short periods of time before you try again. Last night was my 4th sitting in about a month at trying to beat a boss in a videogame I’m playing, on the 6th attempt I managed to do it and progress. Internally you might be in the same situation. If you are looking to make change, increase headcount in terms of moderation or change the way you communicate with the audience you may need to keep chipping away at your boss with justifications for doing those things until finally you’ll overcome them and they’ll give you the green light.
If Community Management really is one big game then shouldn’t we all be playing to win?
As is becoming standard practice for one Thursday evening a month it was once again time for a #DigitalSurrey event. Last night the host was Canon at their HQ in Reigate and the speaker presentation was about the evolution of the photo and the impact Social Media has had.
Whilst focusing more on the history and evolution rather than how we are using photos today it did make some interesting points in relation to communities. Where previously photos were used for the purposes of conjuring up memories of events or people, or defining identity, they are now being used for communication. Communication of an activity, experience or both.
As technology has developed we’ve become more accustomed to sharing photos, storing them online rather than in photo albums and taking photos has become more about the social experience rather than just focusing on the immediate circle of friends and family.
Back to communities and community management. Do you share photos from the offline events that you operate in order to show the rest of the community what happened? Do you get the community to contribute their own photos on topics? Someone once said a picture is worth 1000 words, should we therefore not be placing more emphasis on using them in our communities to get a point across or drive discussion? “What’s your favourite holiday memory?” “Insert picture of Mount Everest” – I’m sure that would drive some fantastic discussion in a travel related community.
I’m definitely going to be seeing how I can incorporate more photos in my content plans and also attempt to get users to contribute their own for certain things.
Whilst listening to Heather Taylor (@heatherAtaylor) last night at the Digital Surrey event talk about the way giffgaff goes about it’s community activities she made a couple of comments that really struck home with me. One of those related to legacy and how with all the best will in the world if you’ve got legacy software being utilised for housing your community, or legacy in terms of internal business structure it can be really difficult to make those changes you know need making.
I’ve found myself in that position on more than one occasion. There are loads of things I’d love to try and do to improve the levels of engagement in the community, get them contributing more content and generally being more active but a lot of this would require some serious tech work and potential overhaul of everything that is there. For those in the process of starting communities or developing strategy mark this down as something to consider. Future-proofing your community is something that needs to be done in order to keep your community evolving and growing. If you are a CM that’s operating on a legacy platform with little support to change it then I feel your pain. What I would like to do though is propose a few ideas based on what occured to me following Heather’s talk last night.
If you are using a legacy platform and haven’t got the technical support to make those sweeping changes can you make processes easier instead? Can you tweak the way certain elements of the community work so that your users can get more out of them? This could be the structure you have for your forum areas, it may be the way they submit comments to your published content or the way they interact with you as the CM. Even the little changes can potentially have a big impact even if they don’t quite equate to the blue sky thinking of where you’d like the community to be.
For me looking from the perspective of the particular community I’m managing at the moment I’d love to be able to reward users for their contributions with a measured system for providing those rewards. I’d like to create new areas of the forum with extended functionality to more easily share content. I’d like to extend the experience by drawing stats elements from their profiles across other sites on the network into their forum profiles where they spend the most time. Pretty much all of this would require extensive dev work but there might be a few “quick wins” I could get away with. What I’m trying to say is that while legacy platforms can hamper continued and future growth always look for ways to overcome that and show the community that you are trying to provide them with a better experience.