Remember that sweet caramel popcorn with the peanut crunch? No, not Fiddle Faddle – the one with the prize inside. Why is Cracker Jack still around today? Because of the prize inside. It’s not that Fiddle Faddle wasn’t good, it just didn’t offer a prize. The prize is what kept you coming back whether you realized it or not.
Marketers have known for decades that emotions sell a product and incentives keep you coming back. The same holds true when talking about using social media except there are many prizes inside a social network. Just like when you ate Cracker Jack at a ball game you felt a sense of community, you were one of the crowd. (“Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I ever get back”). Well when someone retweets your tweet or comments on your post or adds you to their circle, you feel like part of the conversation — you feel like part of the crowd.
Yet, social media gives even more than a sense of belonging to something bigger and being a part of the conversation. It also offers incentives, rewards for being loyal or for being in that social circle. You can get discounts, artificial titles (Mayor of Starbucks), or something free. It’s the Cracker Jack box with multiple prizes inside.
According to Cone Inc, promotions are the number one reason people join a brand. In fact, 48% turn to social networks when seeking out incentives for a brand. In contrast, 63% of Facebook Fans have unliked a brand because of excessive postings and 52% unfollowed on Twitter because of boring/repetitive content.
Incentives are a way to engage and that’s what makes it social. What are some of the ways you’ve used incentives for social media engagement? I asked this question on LinkedIn recently and here is what business users had to say.