Keys to energize and gamify a user community or online panel

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Whether it’s a community of consumers, workers, or brand followers, the dynamism and interaction with the people who make up an online community or panel are among the key factors for maintaining its well-being, longevity, and achieving its goal: fostering a connection and commitment between the organizing party and the users within it.

When We Are Testers set out to create our own community of testers in Spain back in 2016, we focused on three fundamental pillars:

  • It needed to be a dynamic community to which we devoted resources to maintain members’ interest, encourage participation, and ensure its gradual growth.
  • It had to align with our business: a community of real consumers who would provide us with their opinions on products, services, websites, apps, and any element subject to testing or evaluation by brands or institutions.
  • It had to be built on an attractive technological environment (both web and mobile) and be user-friendly and intuitive for testers.

These three pillars have been mandatory objectives from then until now, and they continue to be three fundamental factors in the WAT Community. With the progressive growth and development of our tester community, we have also introduced new elements to keep growing. When we talk about growth, we don’t just mean in terms of quantity, but also in terms of quality. These two factors must inevitably go hand in hand for the success of any user community.

At the time of writing this post in October 2019, the We Are Testers community has more than 100,000 testers, making it one of the three largest panels/communities in Spain. While this number would make any community organizer proud, it wouldn’t have real value without accompanying elements of quality. Therefore, in We Are Testers, and applicable to any user community based on our own experience, three factors must also influence this ‘mass’:

  • Characterization: For a consumer community to meet the information needs of brands or institutions, it must be representative of the market and reality. In the case of We Are Testers, we have over 400 segmentation criteria to guarantee compliance with quotas and a high response rate. We also carry out a constant user characterization process to confirm or update user profiles and incorporate new characterization variables.
  • Control Mechanisms: Information from a consumer community must be accurate and reliable. Therefore, control elements are essential. In the particular case of We Are Testers, we face a challenge in this regard: to be faster than traditional research while maintaining data reliability. To achieve this, we conduct exhaustive quality control procedures for responses, penalize inconsistencies, reward more elaborate responses, or implement control mechanisms to ensure account veracity. Establishing control rules and protocols is essential to maintain the good health of a community of opinion leaders and, consequently, the market studies or analyses it generates.
  • Content: You’ve probably heard the phrase that ‘content is king’ in the digital society we live in. Well, in the case of communities, this also applies. As mentioned at the beginning of the post, one of the objectives in creating a community is to achieve committed and loyal members. Therefore, one of the vehicles to achieve this is through content.

At We Are Testers, we have various tools to accomplish this. In addition to our social networks and the tester’s mailbox as the main channels of direct communication with our users, we continuously work on community engagement and gamification. How do we achieve this? The ‘WhAT! blog for testers’ is a good example. It is an exclusive section for community participants that allows users to interact with each other, learn about the latest platform updates, or the results of the studies in which they have given their opinions through fun and informal posts. Such spaces have the ability to create a sense of belonging to a group or community, as in this case.

The ‘#FlashTest’ is another important element in this content strategy to liven up the community. These are very short surveys that complement economically remunerated tests, addressing current topics, curiosities, entertainment, etc., aimed at increasing user activity and helping them progress in the community. This leads us directly to another important point for a committed community that maintains interest: gamification, i.e., the application of game-like techniques and dynamics to non-gaming environments, such as a community of opinion leaders. The goal is clear: to achieve user engagement, participation, and loyalty. In the case of We Are Testers, we accomplish this through our rewards system, organizing the community based on levels with associated privileges, sweepstakes, etc.

Finally, consistency is the element that should permeate each of the previous points to maintain a committed community with your brand, company, institution, and, along with the other factors described, are fundamental pillars in managing a community.

If you want to learn more about the WAT Community, don’t hesitate to contact us at info@wearetesters.com or sign up for our community to start enjoying all its benefits.

Update date 22 December, 2023

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