Does your company have its own Facebook? LinkedIn? Twitter? Maybe even a Google Plus or Pinterest?
Social media can be a great way to talk to your audiences, whether it’s your employees, customers, or channel partners. Even if you don’t have a designated social media manager, having a direct line of communication with your audience can be very beneficial.
Social media can act as a reinforcement for customer service, a helpful tool for brand recognition, a place to find updates, and so much more.
Unsurprisingly, using your social media accounts to assist in running your incentive program can have many of the same benefits. However, there are subtle differences between the two that are important to note.
Here are the top 5 best practices for social media use in incentive programs.
1. Create a social media account for the program itself.
Creating an entirely different account for a program can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not the most social media-savvy individual. However, the potential advantages can make the undertaking worthwhile in a number of ways:
- Separate messaging helps retain and reinforce your followers.
Let’s face it, you’re not going to get everyone who’s doing business with you to enroll in your incentive program. Posting messages about exclusive offers for participants to your main accounts may be confusing or annoying to non-participants. By doing this, you risk losing them as followers.
- Creates a sense of exclusivity.
There’s nothing more effective for the health of a reward program than providing a sense of privilege in the rewards. Separating your accounts can help generate this feeling for your participants. More on this in the next point.
Now, this is not to say that you can only post about the program on the program accounts.
For example, social media campaigns can be run on the main accounts to garner excitement for the program itself, thereby enticing those followers not already in the program to enroll.
2. Create an exclusive community.
As we mentioned above, one of the most powerful aspects of a reward program is this idea of exclusivity. Thus, one of your main goals should be to get participants to think, “Because I’m part of this community, I have a unique opportunity to receive special rewards and offerings,” which is true.
So, how can you reinforce this notion through your social media accounts?
We’ve already covered separating your program accounts from your general accounts. But within this separate account you can hold discussions and keep your participants up to date.
While it may seem counterintuitive, community is actually a big part of exclusivity. Your actions within your accounts should be geared toward driving open discussion between your participants.
Maintain a standard of responsiveness toward your participants. Make sure to answer questions, address concerns, share information, and express gratitude as quickly as possible. This quick response can help build a positive perception of your company and the program.
One method for creating an exclusive community can come in the form of social media groups.
Consider creating a LinkedIn group for your program in which members can invite and accept other participants into the program. Post a question every week in which you discuss business challenges faced by your participants and encourage members to assist each other.
A similar community feel can be created on various social media sites, so experiment to see which one works best for you and your audience.
3. Keep participants updated.
Everyone consumes information differently. They might prefer to read a paper piece. Some people want to get push notifications straight to their phone. Others rely on email. Still others choose social media to keep them in the know.
You can address this group of social media news-seekers with your social media accounts and even gain more followers, because using your accounts to post well-organized, enticing, and timely information can lead to a higher follower count.
Whether you’ve separated your accounts or not, use your social media to highlight new promotions that are running and launching for your program. Keep your participants aware of changes to the program or earning criteria, deadlines for earning certain bonus points, and any expirations that might be coming up.
Any of these posts, especially those promoting bonus earning opportunities, can be supported with intriguing images and links that to further help boost your enrollment and overall engagement.
4. Link the program site with social media accounts.
If you’re running a program with an online engagement platform, one thing you can do to gain followers and traction is integrate your social media accounts into the site itself.
This can be done with those little icons at the bottom of the page or an RSS feed. This feed is created with a little piece of code that plugs your tweets or posts automatically into the webpage.
This type of action doesn’t require you to be a social media guru and is a great way to keep those non-social media users updated in addition to attracting followers for your accounts and keeping the conversation going.
5. Creating point-earning social media campaigns.
One of the most engaging tactics you can take on social media with an incentive program is running social media campaigns that encourage action among your audience.
These campaigns can do anything from encouraging participants to log into the site to dishing out points for certain actions on social media.
Although they can be a little hard to orchestrate, these campaigns can have a lot of engagement tied to them. To clarify the point, let’s take a look at an example:
Let’s say you’re launching a promotion that you want to do really well.
You’re aware that a lot of your followers are participants in the reward program, but you want to get as many participants enrolled as possible.
So, you put together a post on twitter that looks like this:
“Here’s your chance to win a (brand-name merchandise item)! Simply like this post and comment with the date that you enrolled in the (Program Name) and you’re in! Not enrolled? Visit (Program URL) now! #MyProgramRules”
Soon the likes and comments come pouring in and you’ve got 50 new enrollees.
Social media is a powerful tool for connecting with your audience, and with it, your opportunities for engagement are endless. Follow these best practices and you’re sure to have a well-motivated audience.
Looking for more ways to engage your participants? Reach out to us at 888.220.4780 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.