How gamification can boost social engagement

Social media is a noisy place. From ads to campaigns to user-generated content, everyone is fighting to be heard and, of course, get leads. But how do you get traction on your social content? Gamification can help, and here are ways we've used it successfully on our P&O Cruises social account.

Silvia MendesSocial Media Manager

You might be wondering what gamification is and how it can raise your social media profile. In short, gamification involves adding a gaming element into your social channels. It’s a structured yet fun way to interact with users and to boost brand awareness and engagement. Here are three example formats:

1. Hunt the emoji

A study by Hootsuite found that including emojis in tweets increased engagement by 25% compared with emoji-free messages. Using them on Facebook posts can increase your number of likes by 57%, and comments and shares by 33%.

With this in mind, we created a series of ‘emoji hunts’ for P&O Cruises’ Facebook and Twitter channels. This involved strategically hiding emojis within an existing brand image and asking the audience to find them all and to leave a comment when they had.

We saw our emoji posts receive 12% engagement rates on Facebook – up 200% against target, and 7.6% on Twitter (up 280% against target).

Granted, this kind of content won’t work for all brands – it’s all about tone of voice and your audience, after all. However, for those it does suit, our results show it’s an approach worth tapping into.


2. Start a conversation

Not every post on social media needs to have a call to action or website link – some can simply ask questions and drive conversation.

It sounds easy, but there’s an art to it that requires a good understanding of your audience. The tried-and-tested ‘complete the sentence’ format often works really well.

The audience for P&O Cruises engages naturally, but content that allows them to contribute has had great success.

Our content has achieved engagement rates of 13%, up 225% against target. Tying this to video also allowed us to reach a view-through rate (VTR) of 31% (up 520% against target). Simplicity mixed with fun can really drive engagement.

3. Give your audience a chance to shine

Knowing your audience and what resonates with them is key to creating any great content.

The P&O Cruises audience loves to showcase its knowledge, which is why we created a series of quiz-style content hooked on the popular #MondayMotivation hashtag.

The content enabled the audience to play and actively participate in stories. It achieved an engagement rate of 17% on Facebook, up 325% on target.

If you do decide that gamification is right for your brand and audience, it’s always vital to test different creative on social media. Making use of readily available tools will give you a better understanding of what content really resonates. You never know, it might even help it go viral.