One of the major influences on how solidly, far reaching and influentially you build your social network, whether it’s your own personal network of friends or a business account, is making sure you take the time to stop and reward your audience. Figuring out how to reward them in ways they will appreciate and feel your sincerity is essential. Just saying thank you with a generic coupon won’t get you anywhere. That type of gesture comes off as insincere and pandering.
Rewarding Your Audience Keeps Them Coming Back
Time and time again, when you are being real, transparent and genuine with showing your appreciation, your audience will reward you in kind. You’ll see your recommendations increase, your content being shared and the number of people who want to connect with you because of that genuineness grows.
The problem comes, however, when you continually utilize the same measures over and over again. You have to really understand you audience and what they appreciate to be able to reward them in a manner that’s going to impress them personally. Touching them in a personal manner is what social media engagement is all about. With that in mind, here are 10 different ideas that can help you come up with ways to reward your audience.
Like or Favorite Their Recommendations of You:
When someone recommends you, whether it’s via a “follow Friday” on Twitter, a recommendation via a Fan Page or posting, make sure to let them know in some way that you like their actions. Give it a thumbs up, favorite the tweet, and of course saying thank you lets the person know you recognize the time they took to do that action.
Include Them in Exclusive Lists:
Groups on Facebook, Lists on Twitter or even a list of “Top XX Influencers” in a blog post is definitely a way to reward your audience members. It lets them know that not only are you listening, but you find them important enough and appreciate them enough to include them in something that singles them out to say, “Hey these people are important to me”.
Ask Them For Their Input – And Listen:
Rewards come in all shapes and sizes, but one specific reward that really signals you appreciate them, because you are listening and take their engagement seriously, is to ask for your audience’s input on something that relates to the growth of your company. Soliciting opinions and input also means you have to be open to the fact you might not always be right. When you can be humble and take the input unconditionally, you’ll build strong relationships.
Say Thank You Personally:
Simply saying, “Thank you to all those who participated”, can really come off as pandering. Now, if you had thousands participating in a huge engagement strategy, saying thanks to each person can be a very arduous task. However, whenever you can, taking the time out to say thank you in a written email, a phone call or even sending a thank you note definitely makes a powerful impact and helps to solidify strong relationships.
Link to Them:
If you are creating content and your audience is contributing in some way; via answers to questions, comments on prior blog posts, submitting photos or videos, or stating their opinions in some form, link back to them in some way. Give them the props they deserve. After awhile of being in a social community, most community members start to understand that giving a link is a cool way of saying thank you. You reward them by telling your entire audience about the great things they have been doing for you.
Comment on Their Social Interactions (Facebook Comments/Tweets):
Don’t just “thumbs up” a comment – go further. Show them you can give them as much time as they’ve given to interact with you. If they comment or tweet, tweet or comment back and keep the conversation going. It’s your opportunity to go beyond seeming like you just “hear” and it shows you are truly listening.
Choose Them as a Fan of the Month:
What better way to shine a spotlight on someone’s contributions than to make them a fan or follower of the month (or week)? If you’ve got a decent fan base, this could actually really start to mean a lot to each person selected. Highlight their good deeds, not just with you, but in their other day to day activities. Put their picture up, give links to their web properties and reward them with some kind of monetary gift. You’ll soon have others asking how they can become Fan of the Month.
Answer Their Questions:
When your fans and followers have questions and they take the time to ask them, make sure you take the time to answer. Even an, “I don’t know the answer to the question, but let me attempt to find out for you,” is better than no attempt at all. This rewards your questioners in a way that let’s them know you respect them and their time for asking. Ignoring questions posed by your fans and followers can brew negative sentiment such as, “What are they hiding” or “Why are they ignoring a simple question?”
I once asked the convenience store, Wawa, on their Fan page, why one of their beverages was recalled. Nearly ten other people commented on the post asking the same question and guess what? Wawa never answered. The groups’ conclusion was WaWa is all about ‘face value’. They are happy to talk to you about good stuff, but hide their head in the sand with the bad.
Give Them What They Want:
Engaging in social media isn’t all about liking and re-tweeting. Engaging in social media requires understanding what your audience finds valuable and in order to do that you have to listen. It could be by providing content in the form of a blog post series, ‘how-to’ videos or photos. It could be an eBook that they can reference, but you’ll only know that through listening and truly engaging with your audience.
Take for example, the Product & Gamble “Old Spice” campaign with Isaiah Mustafa. The audience kept asking “Where’s the old spice guy?” and “What’s next?” Well, they listened and rewarded their audience with a fabulous & funny series that has Fabio wanting to become the New Old Spice Guy and challenging Isaiah’s character to a duel. Rewards don’t have to be monetary – they can be humorous too!
Reward Them with Something You Don’t Sell:
Your audience may love you, your fans may love what it is you sell, but at the end of the day, always rewarding them with your company’s products and services can come off as really tacky. The cost to you is minimal to reward them with your own products or services. Taking the time to reward your actively engaged audience member with other things they find valuable speaks volumes and keeps them not only actively engaged, but spreading the word about the value they find in you.