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July 10, 2014

Learning from the Pols

By Karen J. Bannan

This summer members of the House of Representatives are engaging in two separate social media contests designed to improve social media standing on Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. Democratic members are duking it out on Instagram as well.

Republicans, who are participating in the fourth annual version of the contest, are tracking new followers as well as retweets and comments. The Democratic contest – the fifth annual Online All-Star Competition which tracks new followers only — will also include creative awards presented for the top Vine, YouTube video, and infographic produced.

This tactic for driving engagement and getting employees and to some extent partners and customers interested in and using social business tools is something that any organization can undertake. Contests such as these are a form of gamification, a tactic of using game-like rewards and techniques to get someone to meet goals.

In a business setting, the goals may be different, but the strategy is still the same. Create competition between employees around specific calls to action and reward the top performers. The call to action may include the number of posts in a forum, the number of entries in a social learning platform or the success of online customer engagement and communication. Rewards can vary from a simple badge on an employee’s profile to a special t-shirt to a summer Friday off.

The trick is making sure that people aren’t just commenting or interacting to rack up points, something the Republican party figured out and provided for by including retweets and comments as part of their contest. You don’t want to have an employee, for instance, adding incomplete, incorrect or outdated information to a social learning platform. However, when done correctly gamification can be a good way to jumpstart your social business efforts.

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