Skip to content

May 21, 2011

How to Run a Successful Online Community Scavenger Hunt

by massmarotta
Magnifying Glass

A fun and easy activity to host on your community are online scavenger hunts. Why would you ever do this? Well, simply put, because of the huge benefits.

Online community scavenger hunts:

  1. drives participation levels
  2. spur fresh content
  3. encourages newbies to post
  4. converts lurkers into contributors

Scavenger Hunt Defined

For those of you that are unfamiliar with the concept, a scavenger hunt is essentially a game where an organizer (the community manager) prepares a list of items for participants to seek out and gather. The first participant to return with all items on the list wins.

The Prep Work

How do we apply this concept to online communities? What should you have your members hunt down? Run a quick assessment. First, identify the most active areas and content types of your community. Second, do the same for the least active areas and content types. This will help build the framework of the list of items.

The List

Based on your prep work, it’s now time to create the list. Create a centralized document that opens up with a short introduction, how to win, and most importantly, what they’ll win. You must build in an incentive. I can’t stress that part enough. Have members reply to the document with their list of found items.

Start with a couple softball-type items (You identified these as the most active areas and content types) to ease members into it. These items are highly visible or easily found via keyword search. The items should get progressively more involved (You identified these as the least active areas and content types).  Put items on the list that does not exist yet. This will encourage members to create them.

The Pay-off

Voila. You just drove members to areas of your community they normally would not visit otherwise. You had them create fresh content in areas where content was lacking. You got member to participate who weren’t confident enough to do so prior to the scavenger hunt.  
Have you run a scavenger hunt on your community? Was it well received by your members? What would you do different?