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What Marketers Can Learn from Their Favorite Apps

// December 8, 2010 // Social Media // 3 Comments

Addiction – while bad in relation to drugs or other vices – is desirable for social media strategy. We’d like nothing more than to have our communities “addicted” to our clients’ pages. So how do we achieve the level of devotion in the social space that so many apps and games are getting? To answer this question, I thought it’d be a good practice to dissect one of my own guilty pleasures and discuss exactly which components can make for techie addiction. Here’s what I’ve learned from my slight obsession with the iPhone trivia game, QRANK.

Only available once a day, the goal of QRANK is to choose 15 of the 20 possible questions and answer them quickly and accurately to beat your friends and earn achievements.

• Keep it timely – The beauty of QRANK is that the majority of the trivia questions  are about current events from the front page of your national newspaper. This timeliness makes the game relevant to a broad audience and raises the probability that the gamer will find the topic interesting. This is the same principle we apply to blogging – if the topic is being discussed right now (or better yet, you can predict the topic will be discussed in the near future), you should plan ahead, do your research and be the first to make a post. Readers who trust that you will “break” timely news in your industry will check back often, possibly even daily.  Plus, with proper SEO, timely posts can expose your blog to new visitors, chatter in the social space and increased website traffic.

• Keep it interesting and concise - QRANK provides players with a daily dose of news, historical anniversaries and conversation starters, all with sentence-long explanations. The brevity makes it easy on the user to digest the information and then re-share later. This is something to keep in mind when people are asking you to write a paragraph long status update on Facebook for your company page. Your fans just want a snippet. Only choose the most important and interesting information if you are hoping to have your fans actually read your update.

• Community and competition – Almost every social platform and app out there has incorporated a “social” element. QRANK makes your scoring relevant by ranking you among friends, locally, by state, nationally and globally. QRANK has also incorporated a Facebook Connect option allowing players to taunt their friends and family by posting scores and acquired awards to their Facebook profile. Building a sense of community and healthy competition on any of your company’s social media platforms will keep people returning, but it’s more than just giving out free things. It is building a community where your “fans/followers/users” are doing more than just following your brand. They know each other, respect each other, and would be open to a little friendly competition with one another.

• Moderation really is the best policy -  We need variety in our lives, and sometimes we’re not capable of calling it quits on our own. QRANK’s resolved this issue by limiting players to only one 20-question game per day. Everyday, brand new questions are generated and shared, but players can’t get sick of overindulgence. This lesson is particularly relevant on Twitter where it is easy to over-share. Sure, there are users that tweet every five minutes, but your company doesn’t have to be one. Tweet in moderation so that people stay interested and don’t become annoyed.

• Incentives - The numerous awards you get from Qrank don’t get you anything (in real life), except for bragging rights and a chuckle over some of the more ridiculous awards. And yet, they are still desirable to the user. This is a reminder to not dismiss intangible rewards in the social space. Even if you personally hate foursquare and think earning a “mayorship” title is pointless, these are elements to an addictive social strategy. Smart companies are capitalizing on these intangible rewards by offering real rewards to match them, giving even more incentive to loyal brand ambassadors.

What’s your techie guilty pleasure and why? Oh, and if you have an iPhone or iPad, I challenge you to a trivia duel. My user name is KatyHarrison20.

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    1. Have been pretty addicted to the scrabble application. Accessed through facebook, it allows you to challenge your friends, play with multiple friends, etc. The share function is super nerdy, where if you get a ‘bingo’ or win a game, you can share it on your public profile and brag about it.

      They also have a ratings system among all your contacts, so that you can see where you stand, and try to get your way to the top. I, however, am far from that. In a recent game I spelled ‘rad’.

    2. I’ve actually never considered trying to “break” some news with my blog. I usually only write about current events that are happening now, but not yet to happen. Thanks for bringing it to my attention.

      • Thanks for the note, Owasso. By breaking news, it helps build your reputation as a credible source, bringing people back to your blog. It’s a commitment, though so once you become that source, you should stick with it. Thanks for reading.