Online community badges are an interesting engagement tool.
Even when these badges do not have monetary value attached, members are keenly interested in learning how they can achieve them, and ultimately, how they can earn as many as possible. Why does this occur? Many psychologists and researchers credit this phenomenon to the fact that competitive pressure increases cognitive effort. When community members are up against others in a “race” to earn more badges, they are more likely to exert more effort to get those badges.
“Gamifying,” as some people call this process of adding game components, helps strengthen the community and member loyalty. Badges are just one part of this puzzle, but it seems to be catching on. Companies such as The Huffington Post are starting to add badges to keep its readers engaged.
My-Take has also begun to use badges in our online communities. Badges add a level of engagement, and even some friendly competition among members, which has increased the level of insight we receive in our online communities. In order to use competition to positively affect engagement, it is important that the badge metrics clearly match the goals of the community.
Badges are customizable based on client objectives. For example, for clients who want more rapid member engagement, badges can be awarded to those who are the first to participate in an activity. Alternatively, a “Photographer” badge can commend members who uploaded a photo to a survey. These badges allow community members to be publicly thanked for their contribution, an idea that many members appreciate. Customizable profiles on the My-Take platform allow members to keep track of their points, badges, and engagement, and leaderboards are conspicuously posted on the community dashboard, allowing all members to see how they stack up.
Based on early results, the badges have had a positive impact on engagement, and members certainly seem to be acutely interested.
Where does your company stand on this form of social engagement?