How to reward your fans and followers

on August 9, 2011 | Social Media | Comments (5)

Rewarding fans and followers who take the time to engage with you online is important, but so often overlooked.

Let’s take a moment to think about your fans and followers. Ignore the total number and think about each one as an individual person sitting behind a computer or smart phone (because that’s who they are).

It’s easy to forget that these people are real (well, most of them anyway). But take a moment to imagine if all of your followers walked down the street behind you in a line. Even if you only have 80 followers that’d be pretty impressive, right?

Well, every time one of your followers “likes”, “tweets”, “retweets” or “comments” on what you have to say they’re following you down your own virtual street. This valuable contribution needs to be acknowledged.

So, how do you reward the time they offer to build your network?

1. Call them by name.

Don’t allow loyalty to go unacknowledged. For example, “Thanks for the retweet @clarecrook and @SMN_Australia.” (I know, I couldn’t help myself.)

Now if you’re Lady Gaga, who is probably receiving thousands of tweets from adoring fans each day, it’s impractical to call each by name. But there’s only one Lady Gaga, so almost everyone else should be doing it. Acknowledging your loyal fans and followers helps build their online profile and social media presence. And, it makes you look like a user worth following because you value the contribution of others. Double win!

2. Provide an incentive for action.

The opportunities to do this are endless.

For example:

  • “Follow us to be entered into our weekly giveaway draw.”
  • “Give this photo a caption to win a prize.”
  • “Design our new logo!”
  • “Write a blog post to become our new events blogger.”
  • “We’re going to interview Mark Zuckerberg! What would you like answered? Winning questions will be selected.”

3. Offer experiences money can’t buy.

Wittner shoes is currently running a shoe design competition. Entrants are required to submit 5 hand-drawn shoe designs and a short spiel about themselves to go in the running. The winners will be invited to Wittner’s HQ to experience the shoe design process first-hand. I’m no shoe designer, but even I’m enticed to get the crayons out. That’s a fantastic prize!

4. Give away promotional merchandise.

This is a no brainer. If you’ve got an active brand ambassador online then reward them with something you know they’ll like. Maybe it’s a pile of free product to share with their friends, or the opportunity to trial a new product before everyone else, maybe it’s an iPhone skin cover, a carry bag, a t-shirt, a commemorative stuffed toy. It’s a nice way to give something back.

Rewarding is not about converting the user to think a certain way or like a particular product. That piece of the puzzle has already been solved. It is however, more about saying “we know you’re out there and just wanted to say thanks”.

Rewarding your fans and followers also leads to socialmediakudos, and that’s never a bad thing.

Please note: The above reward and prize ideas are completely fictional and a result of my own strange, sometimes scary, imagination. Except, Wittner’s shoe design competition, that’s completely real! I’m not going to interview Mark Zukerberg, nor do I intend to. Although, it would make for pretty interesting reading, I think.

clarecrook :


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