8 Ideas for Social Media Rewards | npENGAGE

8 Ideas for Social Media Rewards

By on Apr 19, 2012



Last month during my kid’s spring break we took a little trip to a favorite destination of mine as a child, the Science Museum of Oklahoma. This place was always a magical place of learning for me! Thirty-something years later was no different. Ok, maybe it wasn’t as “magical” but still I learned something before I even walked in the door. I saw something I had never seen before. It was right in front of their building with a familiar giant “F” in a blue box painted in the parking spot and a sign that read “Facebook Fan Parking.” I thought to myself, “what a unique reward.” I took a picture and as soon as I got back from vacation I emailed some of my teammates and asked for examples of social rewards from other nonprofits. To my shock and somewhat dismay, I realized that hardly any nonprofits are rewarding their constituents for social engagement. So I really have to ask, why not?

The for-profit world tends to understand the value of their social customers and establishing some sort of social media reward program. They take advantage of the information from a 2010 study by CMB Consumer Pulse that says 51% of Facebook fans and 67% of Twitter followers are more likely to buy their product SINCE becoming a fan/follower. They also take advantage of the information that 60% of Facebook fans and 79% of Twitter followers are more likely to recommend their business/product SINCE becoming a fan/follower. If for-profits take this information and reward their consumers then why shouldn’t nonprofits? Both have the same marketing goals: reach more people and raise more funds.

To find examples of social media rewards I really had to look at the for-profit world. What I found were rewards that ranged from the very simple to the very expensive. I found some Facebook sites that simply rewarded with a “thank you [NAME]” while some businesses, like Coca-Cola, have Facebook pages dedicated to rewarding their customers (My Coke Rewards).

I know the best-practice for a blog post is to keep it short, but instead of making you chase link after link of reward ideas I thought I’d go ahead and post some of my favorite, and simple, social reward programs here. These are found throughout the internet and not really new ideas but it’s my hope that you’ll read one of these and implement at least one social reward idea into a program of your own if you don’t already have one in place.

Social Reward Ideas
1. Bricks-to-Mortar: Like the example above of the Facebook Fan Parking space, being able to tie your online engagement to an in-person engagement is a big win! Not only are you driving online traffic but you’re also driving foot traffic. Think about ways you can reward your social media contacts throughout all possible touch-points. If they go to an event, visit your building, volunteer, shop at a business that supports you, or visit a location where you’re organization is making an impact, reward them by acknowledging their social engagement with your organization.
2. Offer A Freebie: We know it’s often hard to justify taking money that would normally go toward your cause, but who says you have to pay for it? Do you know local restaurants, cupcake shops, hardware stores or grocers that would be willing to provide gift certificates for a prize drawing? Promote their business and your cause by offering a gift card at different levels. Example: For every 25 new likes/followers, all your fans/followers will be entered into a drawing. This gets your current social constituents to get their social contacts to participate!
3. Offer Exclusive Discounts, Coupons and Content: Offer registration discounts exclusively to your social media contacts. Or maybe an “early bird” registration discount that is announced only through a social channel. Or reward them with “privileged access” for following or being a fan. Every organization has some sort of opportunity to provide a discount or access as a reward.
4. Help Fans Give Back: While I was on the Convio consulting team I worked with an organization that organized a great partnership with a local company to help them increase their number of Facebook fans. The concept was simple, for every 10 Facebook fans this company would donate one box of diapers. This campaign was a big part of their success to grow their number of Facebook fans from about 50 to 2,000 in just over 3 months! This was a big win for the organization but it also rewarded new Facebook fans by essentially making a donation in their honor.
5. Acknowledge Them: Show your social constituents that you’re listening to them and watching them on your social media channels. Use the “@name” functionality in Facebook to tag a highly-engaged social constituent in one of your posts or mention them in a tweet.
6. Give Constituents Control: Don’t gasp! This isn’t like letting your child stay the night with a family you barely know (parents only did that when I was a kid). But do give your constituents control over, or the ability to decide, things like the theme of your next event or the cover of your annual calendar. Don’t be timid! Let loose! I have a feeling what you’ll realize is that your social media contacts are amazingly creative.
7. Challenge Constituents: Everyone loves trivia! Ok, maybe not everyone but I’d bet a lot of your constituents do. Make it fun and rewarding to learn about your organization and your mission. Ask social constituents to respond with their answer and then share the correct answer by re-tweeting or sharing their response. Reward the first person with the correct answer by promoting them as a “top fan” or “top follower.”
8. Celebrate “Kent Gilliam Day!”: So you don’t actually have to celebrate me (although you can if you want) but definitely celebrate your most socially-engaged constituents. Chances are they are also a volunteer and/or a donor. You can simply print a certificate to give to the constituent and then post the constituent’s name on your website and Facebook page. With the new Facebook “cover photo” it gives you great real estate to promote a Facebook fan’s “Day” at your organization.
The biggest advice I can give about a social reward program is have fun with it! Make it exciting. Make it challenging. Get your staff and volunteers to get involved because success can be as simple as how many you have participating and not so much what the reward is you’re offering.If you have a social reward program or idea specific to your mission, I’d love to hear about them!
Just in case you’re not sure of the value of your social media engagements and the traffic it sends to your website, here’s a Google Analytics project that you can put in place to see exactly what social media site is generating the most website traffic for your organization. I recommend comparing the metrics for 1) Pages per Visit 2) Bounce Rate, and 3) Average Time on Site for your site visitors who access your site through a social media link and those who arrive at your site through a search tool or direct URL. Through this reporting I think you’ll easily see if social media engagement is important to your organization.

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