Gamification methodologies such as “Leaderboard”, “Reputation”, “Badges”, “Rewards” and “Points” are very commonly implemented by startups just to encourage certain user behavior,virality, & increase activity – but not all users respond to these techniques homogeneously.
Most of the time, these so called incentives deliver undue results to startups; they are like slow poison – kill user growth; you won’t even know the cause of your user’s dissatisfaction and disengagement;
Many wrong incentives happen to right users.Let your product and its features become inherent rewards and badges for its users.Let your user community organize around who gets benefited by the ecosystem and who gets sidelined rather than you implementing fake badges and fluffy leader boards.
- These individuals have huge twitter followers. They don’t have followers because they are actively using Twitter. They have followers because of what they have done outside/before Twitter ever came into being. For example Beyoncé Knowles has over 5 millions followers but she has only tweeted once so far. J.K. Rowling Twitter has over 1 million followers but she has sent less than 20 tweets.
- These game changers are not motivated by # of followers they can gain in Twitter. In fact some of them don’t even know that they have a huge following on Twitter.
- People who follow them – follow them for that one rare opportunity to hear what they are going to say. Millions of followers follow these “no tweet game changers” because of what they have done outside the Twitter sphere.
User behavior accountability is very important for all startups and exposing/displaying some of that data with the community has many benefits to the startup as well as to the community.Exposed user behavior data should actual benefit the community rather than spam, distract and pollute the environment.
- Ability for active users to get/gain more visibility.
- Ability for other users to gain from people who are contributing to the ecosystem.
- Do Not force yours to “act” certain way to increase virality of your user base or promote your brand or increase activity in your platform. I am not saying a rule less community. Criteria for rules should not be to promote your brand(aka virality) and increase fake activity in your platform.
- When exposing your user activity to other users, in the interest of virality, please keep in mind of your user’s privacy. Most common of these is activity feeds and time lines which are common place in most of the consumer apps/platforms.
- Most of the virtual denizens do not need policing – most of the communities figure out a way to reward right behavior without the platform provider needing to police by fake incentives/rewards/leader board. Baring criminal and grossly unsavory situations, most of the time, this rule of thumb applies. Let your community deal with it.
- Not all your users will respond to incentives with same interest. Your incentives, tangible or intangible will dictate the type of users you will attract in the long run.
- Once again, your product, product benefits, its features, the value created by your users to other users should be the core incentives and motivators.
- Never ever tie your “product feature” access to user behavior data. I would use this as a general rule excluding exceptions/fringe cases/unique circumstances.
Tags: Beyoncé Knowles, Data, Facebook, Gamification, Incentives, Leaderboard, Mahalo, Motivators, Online Communities, Quora, Rewards, Social network, Twitter, User Activity, User Behavior Data, User Timeline