Fora is a web application designed to activate and engage communities of users, both online and in person. The idea behind it is to gamify community engagement, by incentivizing people to stay active with an organization or cause, both online and in-person. Think of it like a frequent flyer program for community engagement.
We absolutely loved the concept behind this idea, and were excited by the technical challenge it presented – namely figuring out how to seamlessly integrate a dynamic rewards system directly with a number of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. We knew this was going to require a lot of innovative thinking, and were chomping at the bit to get going.
How we helped:
Fora was a big build, requiring a very complex system architecture, multiple third party platform integrations, and the invention of a dynamic algorithm to drive the incentive structure.
We started the project by making sure we fully understood the intended use case. In this case, the software needed to be a white label solution, meaning that the client could sell subscriptions to customers to use the software and customize it to their needs and branding. With this in mind, we structured the system to allow for multiple user types, and advanced roles and permissions for each.
The biggest two technical challenges we had to figure out were how to structure an incentive structure that factored activity from a number of different channels, and how to integrate it with third party platforms like Facebook and Twitter.
We thought long and hard about the incentive structure, and did extensive research into rewards programs in a wide variety of industries. Because we understood the client’s business needs, we knew that the primary goal of the incentive structure was repeat and substantive engagement – both online and in-person. This made the approach required a bit different – because unlike most rewards programs, we weren’t trying to incentivize purchases of a product.
What we landed on was a complex and dynamic algorithm that rewards those who spark organic online conversations on any channel. Our algorithm measures conversations on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and conducts an analysis to determine which are more organic. It does this by factoring how other community members react to content, and in what way. The more depth in a conversation – measured by a number of factors including how many unique individuals contribute, how much back and forth there is in replies, and how many repeat commenters appear – the more the people who started it and participated will be rewarded.
We connected this logic to the third party platforms using APIs, and also built in a native component designed to help organizations measure and factor in-person engagements into the rewards system. So, for example, if a community member attends events, publishes a blog post, volunteers, or makes a donation, this offline participation will factor heavily into the rewards system.
The end result was a dynamic and innovative software that assigns a unique engagement score to each community member, without requiring them to change their daily routine in any way. In other words, we built the system to go to online forums where they already convene, and engage them there. At the same time, the system provides unique analytics to the community managers, to show where users are most active, what they are talking about, and much more.
Where things stand:
As a white label B2B system, Fora operates behind the scenes, and has helped organizations build and manage communities of all kinds, from university class discussions and alumni communities, to international exchange programs.
Check it out:
In the client’s own words:
From a customer of the client, one of the most prominent international exchange organizations in the United States:
“Fora is a great tool that helps manage international exchange programs by stimulating dialogue and engagement. It’s helped us keep our participants connected, given us metrics on their activities, and given us new insights into their preferred means of engagement, both online and offline.”
- Tackled a complex technology challenge and delivered an innovative solution
- Created a unique and evolving algorithm to manage a massive rewards system
- Built a scalable project with an infrastructure to take on many clients and their end users
- Deep integrations with Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter