The concept of ‘gamification’ has been applied to numerous applications and products, and often goes hand in hand with user reward programs that incentivize users to become loyal customers. Gamification initially became popular when developers of products realized they needed a hook to keep players returning to their apps. Some examples of gamification are point scoring, competing with others, level systems, and rules of play. Even the concepts of ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ on social media platforms is a form of gamification, as individual users strive to gain more followers and likes because it makes them feel more popular, and like they are winning a game.
In web3, this effect is particularly pronounced, given that financial incentives enable users to earn ownership of the product through their contributions.
The key incentives for community reward programs
To build an engaging, gamified experience for users, the following elements may be incorporated as incentives in any user rewards program:
- Status rewards - a badge, role in Discord, or a piece of art they can display publicly. These act as symbols of recognition. These awards identify the user as having achieved a certain level of competence and help publicly display this achievement to other users. They are a visual symbol of users’ hard work and motivate newer members to strive for an award.
- Access to exclusive content - membership of private chat channels, access to exclusive written content such as newsletters, research papers, etc.
- Access to exclusive events - access to concerts, talk shows, seminars, etc.
- Increased influence or power amongst other users or community members
- Early access to products like an online game - users who are passionate about a prouduct's development become increasingly loyal when given opportunities to beta test the product itself and provide feedback. This often evokes a similar response in users as rewards that give users more influence
- Early access to merchandise - branded T-shirts, bags, etc. People enjoy owning a physical product that reminds them of the brand. The joy is magnified when they receive it as recognition for their efforts.
- Financial incentives such monetary or token compensation for contributions.
Ways to implement gamification in Discord
Reward systems are often set up in Discord, to make keeping large online communities engaged an easier endeavor. Gamification of Discord can be implemented through the following methods:
- Role systems - granting roles based on community contribution such as sending messages in the community, or following the brand on Twitter. If certain roles are know to be more senior, this can motivate others to also contribute more to strive to achieve a similar role.
- Gated community chats - only allowing people with a certain role, certain skill level, or who own a certain asset such as an NFT or in-game item into a specific Discord servers or Discord channels
- Private meetings with executives to give feedback - providing exclusive access to higher ranked community members to the leadership team. This becomes an opportunity to share feedback and showcase competence, which loyal users find enjoyment in.
- Quizzes - Hosting a quiz and giving prizes that contribute to community member status is a fun way to engage the community.
- Private or exclusive AMAs - Ask Me Anything sessions are one of the most effective means of increasing engagement. If you offer exclusive AMAs to higher ranked or more engaged community members, this incentivizes people to contribute to the community to gain the status or rank required to learn from leaders directly and ask them questions.
- Leaderboards - Community members should know and understand where they rank versus other users. This stimulates healthy competition and makes contributing to earn incremental rewards or status more compelling to users.
It is important to remember that engagement on Discord is a long-term goal. Gamification and reward programs help create attention and engagement, but sustained engagement and loyalty will take time and close nurturing of the community, and more than just a rewards system in place.
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