I am working with an online Community for sustainable energy and innovation and was wondering about the best practices for incentivizing people to complete their profiles. So i would be really grateful if you could share ideas or give suggestion or share experience about what incentives you provide to your members for completing their profiles or how do you motivate them to complete their profiles, since most of our members have incomplete profiles and we would like to have them complete them, so we get an updated data.
There are hundreds of things you COULD do …
But before you can decide that, can you answer the big question: why?
What value is there in a ‘completed’ profile, firstly to YOU but more importantly, to THEM?
Once you can decide where the value is, you can decide how to promote it. If the majority of the value is to you and the site, then you might want to exchange their time and information for something either intrinsic (like kudos [getting public thanks & recognition], extra profile [upgraded profiles], etc. but basically making them feel valued by you) or extrinsic (like a competition, access to a special area of the site, badges, etc.)
If the value is for the user, then you need to make that more obvious - such as demonstrating how others have benefitted (such as making valuable contacts, sharing new contacts, etc.). Are you getting your leading participants, the ones you are already interacting with, to set a good example? That’s the best way to start and model “good behaviour”.
It sounds to me like “so we get an updated data” is that you want the value from them … so be prepared to invest effort if nothing else.
To be ‘contrary’ however (just to be difficult), the completeness of a profile is a handy proxy for member engagement. The members who are most involved and connected to the community are the ones most likely to invest effort into their profiles - so you get a handy way to discover who these might be. If you artificially change this behaviour, it won’t be as good an indicator.
We have some of our required by design. I agree with Robert about the value driver.
Communities that show percentage of profile completed have been successful. LinkedIn does it, and many forums do it as well. It gamifies it a tiny bit, as it shows progress. You could even get fancy and tell them how many others have completed vs. theirs.