Gamify your resolutions!

gamifyWith almost two weeks into the new year… how are you doing with your New Year’s resolutions? OK, it’s probably not a nice question to ask, … if you are (to be honest with you) anything like me, you many may have abandoned them by now, not quite started yet – or are starting to serious struggle to find the motivation. If you are happily motivated – then this post isn’t for you – but if not, or you are struggling, maybe some tools used in social media marketing can help you a bit on the way… 

One of the “tricks” of social media marketing is to turn relative mundane or boring tasks into a game: Simply put, from a marketing perspective this has the advantage of focusing the customers attention on the “game play” rather than the consumption message (for example). So, marketers can continue to deliver brand-related messages and content, often without the recipients activating coping mechanisms to guard against persuasion attempts.

A successful example of this is the Nike+ community/app/online service – it’s all about socialising and gamifying your running experience: You can virtually run with your friends, there are levels of running, rewards and trophies… basically the rather tedious task of running is turned into a social gaming experience. Of course, it’s not simply about making you run more and more making it more fun – but when you run more, you are also more likely to need more running gear… which, of course, Nike is quite happy to supply you with. Think a subtle way of marketing.

Once you think about it, gamification is actually all around us: Think Foursquare/Swarm as a way to gamify eating out or travelling for example… NaNoWriMo as a way to write a novel… There are really plenty of ways of gamifying all sorts of activities. If you want to look at it from a purely social media marketing view, check out chapters 5 (about merging of social media and games) and chapters 7 (dealing with persuasion, including the 7S of app-based persuasion, which are quite applicable in this context!) of my Social Media Marketing book.

But what about the resolutions? Well… there is, of course, an app for that, too! I’m sure there are several tools out there that are useful, but one I have been playing a bit with is HabitRPG .  Basically, HabitRPG allows you to gamify pretty much all aspects of your daily routine: from eating healthily to reading, blogging, writing…. you name it. When you do something good – you get a reward. But unlike most other gamification toolws, if you do something bad, you also get a “punishment”. Of course, there is also an active community to help you stay on track … Compared to “single action tools”, i.e. gamifying just one specific thing, HabitRPG is a bit more complicated to set up. You may need to think a bit more about all the different actions you want to do/not do – and what they are “worth”. But remember – you are setting your own goals here. So it really is all about what you want to do!

As the “HabitRPG game” is available online and for mobile devices, so in many ways it’s easy to “play” and establish or change your habits using the game. I have to admit that I’m not the greatest fan of their retro-games design – but that really is a personal preference, and doesn’t distract much from the experience. It’s OpenSource, originally funded by Kickstarter – and free to use. So maybe if you are struggling a bit with those resolutions – it may be worth a try!

If you are already using HabitRPG, it would also be great to hear from you! Or indeed, if you used it and are no longer using it. Or,… if you have other ways of gamifying your life: Let’s chat via the comment below!


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