business-online
Business Management

Bruno Teuber (UK) - Getting Under the Skin of the Social Customer part 2

In the first part of this two parter, Bruno Teuber looked at running social businesses. Bruno continues by highlighting the importance of building a brand.

Building a ‘Brand Nation' and an army of ‘superfans'

Gamification is a vital component for brands to master to be able to build brand advocacy online, however, even within the industry we're seeing a lot of confusion around what gamification actually is. It certainly does not mean building games for customers to play.

Gaming mechanics are effectively principles and rules that drive behaviour through incentives, feedback, and rewards. Leveraged by marketers effectively, for example, being explicit about community members' ‘rank' and ‘reputation' is a great way to encourage participation. The rewards are particularly significant if you are able to identify your ‘superfans' - the people who are the heart and soul of a community. They are the most passionate, engaged and vocal of your social customers. As a disproportionately active one per cent of a community, they circulate as much as 40-60% of a brand's content, engage new customers and evangelise your brand and products to countless others who place a lot of stock in their word.

Oriented in the right way, applying gamification is a great strategy for businesses that are looking to build long-lasting relationships with their customers and deliver value that motivates participation and interaction within communities. It is also one of the most effective strategies for designing social media marketing that measurably improves a brand's marketing and sales, accelerates innovation and increases customer engagement and satisfaction (particularly at a time when traditional marketing efforts are being re-considered due to their ineffectiveness).

We're already seeing many brands adopt gamification methodology in online communities to improve their operational effectiveness. Many are fostering engagement and motivating people to participate in a conversation, and incentivising them to do so through rewards. Effective reward systems often move beyond badges for positive contributions to the community. For example, key influencers may receive additional community privileges, a first look at a new product, a free sample or even free airtime in exchange for answering questions typically handled by a costly contact centre. The return on investment from adoption of social media and online communities follows quickly.

From a customer's perspective, gamification can also help push brands to ‘level up', focus not on ‘likes' but a deeper, more meaningful level of engagement - ‘loves' if you like. Gamification in a community builds trust and cohesion, finds and cultivates your superfans and provides addictive fun - all key ingredients for vibrant social destinations that offer experiences that social customers crave. It's a very effective way to drive action and influence. I've seen it in our client's community data. There are community ‘superfans' who spend more than 30 hours a week participating in a community. While these superfans are simply passionate about the brand they are engaging with, part of their behaviour and desire to make a difference can be attributed to the gamification of community participation. So don't ever underestimate the business value of fun.

How are you socialising your customer relationships?

Missed part 1? Read it here.

By Bruno Teuber, VP & GM (UK), Lithium Technologies

 

 

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