By Gloria Lombardi

The topic of gamification is getting a great deal of attention in the current times. We often hear about ‘scoring’ and ‘points’ when using our social media channels. Yet, the subject is still new and vague to many companies.

To better grasp what gamification can do inside the workplace, I contacted Andrew Grill (pictured) who runs the powerful platform, Kred, which scores people’s influence on social media.

Back in 2011, Kred was founded by experts in commerce, social media and data analytics as part of PeopleBrowsr. Their vision and primary purpose was to create something astonishing for social media users, not just in terms of monitoring their adoption, but especially in terms of influencing. “At PeopleBrowsr we had already been doing a lot in terms of social monitoring and deep analytics. However, what we can do now is live influence,” Grill explained.

Kred is one of the few companies that has access to the Twitter hosepipe; that is every tweet, every second, everywhere in the world.  This offers an impressive social media data mine: 4 years of a Twitter historic database,with over 500 million Twitter and Facebook profiles ranked by Kred score, 10,000 posts per second, 40 million blogs and forums, all Facebook public posts, and over 150 billion posts indexed.

Kred’s offerings

When asked what Kred can do for users with this huge amount of data, Grill described two services in particular: Influence and Outreach.

“Kred Influence is the measure of what others do because of you,” Grill said. A person’s influence score increases when someone takes action because of his/her content on Twitter or any other network connected to their Kred profile. Metrics include retweets, @replies, new follows, list of follows, connections, likes, follow ration and +1. A person receives influence points every time people interact with you or your content. Then, influence points are added together and translated to a Kred Influence score, which ranges from 1 to 1,000. Higher scores represent greater influence.

Kred Outreach “is the measure of your generosity,” according to Grill. Outreach – which is normalised within a 0-12 scale – increases when you retweet, @reply or follow a new person. As you accumulate Outreach Points, you move to a higher Outreach level. Since Outreach Points are a reward for being active and benevolent, your Outreach level will never go down.

Complete Conversation Analytics track real time mentions, @replies, new followers, reach, two-click report creation and global mentions.

  • In particular, with Brand Visual Dashboard, updates are given per minute to display critical social media data. You can see your brand’s social media ‘vitals’ at a glance, add in competitors to the visual and compare, as well as review custom timeframes (postings in the last 24 hours and in real time). All the elements are interactive (click on a spike and get the Tweets). Analytics look at the sharing of voice, gender percentages, sentiment by brand and competitor, re-tweets, Facebook Likes and new Twitter followers.
  • With Real Time Command Centers, you can click a chart which brings up the conversation behind the data.
  • Geo Mapping of Conversation watches regional trends by customising the experience and analysing sentiment of posts by color.
  • Streaming Conversations enable users to watch customised search conversation streams as they happen. You can create multiple drop down menus with different query combinations – by sub-brand, competitor and comparable competitor sub-brand.You can also filter the streams by Kred Influence or Outreach scores, geographic location, community (CEOs, Tech, etc.) and number of followers.
  • The attractive Infographics generated by using Kred data are updated every 30 seconds.

Additional services

Kred Rewards connects a brand with its influencers based on interests, actions and connections. Customisable campaigns increase brand awareness and reward brand advocates with valuable promotions. It is open to all – anyone can participate, and influencers can share their Kred Reward by choosing to pass it along.

Kred provides the framework to increase the reach of a message: Claim (receive your Reward), Pass (pass Kred Reward to friends), Unlock (by sharing the Reward with friends) and Share (on Twitter and Facebook). Finally, Kred provides you with all the campaign data.

Kred Events provides a real time Kred Influence and Kred Outreach leaderboard for any real or virtual event. It strengthens the concept of ‘Community’ – such as social media users tweeting an event hashtag, session name or speaker to automatically join the event community. ‘Connection’ highlights the event attendees and help you find others with shared interests. “When there is an event you can see all data and scores in real time, not after a couple of days,” Grill stressed.

He added, “We are the first to give this kind of access. Imagine thousands of tweets per every second, every single tweet, yours, mine, all go into Twitter. We capture, store and solve all this data and everyone gets it in real time.”

When describing Kred’s methods in a nutshell, Grill explained, “Kred wanted to use the power of our unique historic database to really help people ‘be social’. Companies and individuals need to be sure that they are up to speed and responsive to their social media files. We are interested in making change happen by harnessing the power of knowledge sharing. And Kred itself has been living this concept from day one: we are completely transparent and have a full section on our website about the way we score.”

Gamification for internal communications

With the rise of enterprise social networking, more companies are now talking about embedding tweets privately as well as implementing scoring inside their organisations. So where is Kred positioned in all this? Grill explained:

“Kred would love to take a real enterprise social feed. I think that the benefits of being social are actually more internal that external.” One of those benefits is that companies would have the potential to start monitoring their employees’ conversations and work out what is really happening inside their organisation. This would be particular relevant for internal communications and HR departments since in that way, they would have the opportunity to look at how people are talking about the company values, ethics, the place of work and many other relevant organisational issues. It would also serve as an important and real feed-back on employee communications such as “Do our employees actually talk about the corporate news? Do they actually care about them?”

What becomes particularly interesting with scoring internally, is what organisations can do in terms of ‘social search’ for internal expertise as well as leveraging the power of knowledge sharing.

“I can now use the internal data and easily know that X person is the most influential, the one with more expertise in Y topic. When I need help in Y topic, I can then drop X person a quick message and get immediate and effective support,” Grill said.

Yet, he observed that “You cannot force your employees to have this kind of social conversations, and here is where gamification with scoring employees influence can be of real help.” Grill explained that when measuring a social media campaign internally, key ingredients become ‘having fun’ as well as ‘incentivizing people’ (e.g. by offering a pay rise because of their sharing):

“If you force people to share their knowledge they would not do that. However, if you incentivize them, they eventually would do. Those sharing behaviours, accompanied by having fun – by seeing their scores going up, would then become more widespread, take off and work. The overall effect for organisations would be to have their employees deliberately competing in sharing what they know. And, it does not matter if that employee is wealthy or not, male or female, where she is positioned across the company.”

Another point Andrew stressed is that using internal social media that way does not necessarily equate the use of external ones. “Bob in the Accounts Department who never tweets and never blogs, can start sharing a lot internally because he is expert in something. So he also becomes the one who encourages others to share internally. Not only he would do that because of the fun and incentives derived but also because he would feel comfortable since the internal context is not public.”

People love playing games and having fun

When I heard the word ‘competition’ I asked Grill whether the use of internal gamification can do more harm than good for overall organisational health. After all, shouldn’t internal social media be supportive of collaborative and co-operative behaviours?

His reply? If employees see social media just as a collaboration tool they are not going to use them, because they feel it is dictated. However, with the gamification element they will. People are competitive by human nature, they love playing games and want to have fun when they go to work. Internal gamification brings fun and competition together with employees actually seeing in real time their scores and names going up. ‘Wow, I am actually above X person’, they would say, and with that there is a sense of achievement. Scores help understand what happens internally and tap into valuable knowledge in unprecedented ways. The challenge would be to actually understand how to use those scores. The numbers on their own are very dangerous. Even if the number is high, it can be irrelevant. You have to put them into ‘context’ and ask yourself “What are the other signals?”

In other words, the competitive element exists in every company and that by making things a little fun, employees can start relating to internal social media and feel more drawn into the process.

Leadership buy-in

Grill stressed the importance of leadership involvement with internal social media platforms. “If I was the CEO of a large organisation I would link directly to my employees, and encourage them to post me publicly rather than sending secret emails. People should be encouraged to say openly what they think, and even tell leadership ‘I don’t believe you’or ‘what you did is awful’ if that was the case. It shows transparency and it is a great opportunity for opening up relevant conversations inside the organisation.”

If senior management are not seen using social tools, it is very unlikely that employees will start doing so. Instead, if people can engage with their CEO on a regular basis, their responses will increase. When leaders do have an internal social presence, employees can actually contact them publicly. That becomes very powerful. 

To ensure leaders embrace social media platforms, Grill suggests that communicators provide the right amount of support to CEOs: “I think it’s about the people below the CEOs to start showing them how it works and why it is important, pitching the business case and getting through to it. Sometimes the leadership intent is already there but you actually have to coach them.”

Grill predicts that the whole organisational culture towards internal social media and gamification will soon change. In fact, the concepts will be seen as “absolutely normal” in the near future:

“Within this digital move employees will see the benefit of sharing their knowledge and will do so deliberately. Behaviours will change, and Kred would have helped companies in making that change happen.”