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Since the dawn of Foursquare and a variety of other social check-ins, rewards and badges have become all the rage. However, this idea of rewarding your customers is certainly nothing new to the business world. Companies big and small have long ago realized that it is a great way to connect with customers and reward them for the use of their service. In today's digital world, you cannot escape the buzz of connecting with your fans socially through rewards and badges. While I couldn't agree more with that, I find myself wondering why Facebook has not emerged itself into this new realm of social engagement being the social powerhouse that it is.

While I feel Facebook is missing out on a huge opportunity by not offering badges from its social check-in app, I think there is a far greater opportunity they are ignoring by not integrating them into the Facebook web experience. Imagine earning badges for sharing content on Facebook or interacting with friends. It not only turns Facebook into a game, it increases the desire to use their already addicting service and rewards you for doing so!

Why Rewards and Badges Are Effective

There is no longer any denying the power behind social rewards. They are an extremely effective way to excite and engage your fan base. By introducing rewards and badges to your business you are essentially creating a game for your customers to play. By transforming your business into a game through rewards you can get people itching to come back for more and get them talking about your brand.

The best part about offering rewards and badges is that frequently you are rewarding customers for doing what they already do! That makes it easy to catch on as there are few additional steps needed to get something for their already familiar actions. The great part is, it takes these familiar actions and it makes them something new and exciting! People naturally enjoy being praised for their actions and collecting proof of their invested time and energy to show off to their friends.

How Facebook Could Leverage Rewards and Badges

My vision for Facebook rewards would include a Badges tab next to your Info, Wall, and Photo tabs where badges and mayorships appear as they have been unlocked. It would be a place to showcase how active you are with certain area of Facebook and the web. Users can see what badges they have unlocked and how they can earn them as a way to encourage them to use more of Facebook's features. As users unlock badges they would be encouraged to share them with their friends.

In order to earn additional badges, users must complete various tasks throughout Facebook, effectively making them more engaged in the site. Taking it a step further, users can become page mayors by being the most active person on a page through Likes, comments, and posts. Some examples of potential badges and mayorships include:

  • Having more than 200 fans
  • Sharing 10 mobile uploads
  • Liking 20 Pages from outside Facebook
  • Most active friend (person who is most active on your profile)
  • Mayor of a page (person who is most active on your fan page)

This new way of rewarding users for interacting with Facebook could be something monumental for Facebook and the entire web turning the social network as a whole into one giant game. Despite how integrated Facebook has already becoming into all of our lives, this implementation could make for an even more addicting service, helping Facebook spread like wildfire.

Early last year Facebook had released a similar badges app, but had suspended development and support a few short months later. That certainly means they recognize the possibilities of these features, and there is no denying the impact social gaming has had on Facebook success. Will Facebook badges soon return as an integrated part of our Facebook experience? This writer certainly hopes so!

What do you think about Facebook utilizing rewards and badges? What challenges would you like to see in place? Comment and let us know or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Facebook Innovation Social Media Facebook Badges and Rewards Facebook Mayorships Kevin Warhus Social rewards on Facebook StringCan Interactive