Six Gaming Techniques to Make Communities More Engaging

I was answering a question at Linked In about motivating users and thought it would be good to keep my notes here as well.

  1. Points Points are a great motivator for users. You can use them any way you like. At the simplest level, points can be mapped to contributions or user actions and tabulated behind-the-scenes. Points can also be exposed to users, provoking competition to earn the most points. I you want points to be more than status symbols points can be redeemable for whatever you want (access to site features, virtual goods, real goods). This in turn creates a virtual economy for your community which can be very useful if you want to get some behavior to happen quickly like taking survey.
  2. Levels Create levels that recognize historic contributions. Make each level a status symbol for your users.
  3. Leaderboards You can use leaderboards to keep track of and publicize your best and most active community members. You can keep statistics on anything you want people to do: most invitations, most forum posts, most consecutive days logged in, etc.
  4. Collections Allow users to collect things that they can show off. Avatars of other users, sets of virtual goods, etc.
  5. Challenges Challenges give your users something to strive for. And after they’re earned, completed challenges can be displayed in the users virtual trophy case.
  6. Features Create tiered features that granting access to special content or functionality. This can also be a way to make points worth something in your virtual economy.

If you have other ideas add them as a comment.

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