Incentives for Online Behavior

These are the Internet Marketing Cliff Notes from the Social Media Today Webinar “Incentives for Online Behavior”, sponsored by Adobe Social. The webinar was conducted by Paul Dunay with participation form Lauren Friedman, Mark Kithcart and Rob Fuggetta whose bios are depicted below.

The webinar will be available for replay here:

Why Should I Talk to You?

Discussing why people want to engage in your community.

1)      Create an exclusive community – give them information they can’t get anywhere else

2)      Know your audience – What do they want? Observe your audience’s behavior in social channels to find out why they would want to engage in your community. Ask your audience what they would like to engage with you or your brand about.

3)      Be careful with trying to incentivize with money or giveaways. Can lead to building a group of followers who want nothing more than free stuff and are not interested in engagement or collaboration.

Most Do It Wrong

Discussing what not to do when trying to incentivize for behavior or engagement in a community.

1)      Offering incentives can be the wrong way – again building followers who are not interested in engagement.

2)      Being too welcoming – let the community grow – let them participate on their own. Many community members are merely lurkers and if you instantly thanking them for joining or engaging them, they might be turned away.

  1. Lurkers are often best converted to participants, not by the moderator, but by others in the community
  2. Let the community grow on its own, don’t be too helpful or smart.

3)      Allowing disruptors to continue. The most relevant use of the master moderator role is knowing when to stop someone from ruining the experience of the community for others.

How to Do It Right

Discussing the right way to incentivize participation behavior in a community

1)      Badging – providing badges recognizing authority, reputation, security, etc.

  1. Example: SEOMoz community forum – badges recognizing participation and authority. At a certain level of participation, community members can receive discounts on their SEOMoz membership.
  2. Example: Warrior Forum – provides Warrior levels to incentivize participation – You provide value, we are going to give you a bump in status
  3. Example: EBay Badging recognizes sellers and buyers for reputation of trust

2)      Promote Within – let major participators become low-level moderators

3)      Encourage Engagement through Tools

  1. Give people low-level participation opportunities, make it easy for them to participate in a simple way.

i.      “thanks” buttons, Yes/No questions with button type response mechanism

  1. People will often graduate to higher levels of participation once they have engaged at a low-level.
  2. WeJIT – a simple but powerful online collaboration tool that can live on blogs, in social media, on websites, etc.

4)      Convey Gratitude through backchannels

  1. Thank your users on social media or via email

Miscellaneous Notes

What is a Brand Advocate? – Definition from Zuberance: Highly satisfied customer or other person who recommends brand or product without pay or incentives

Top 10 Ways to Reward Advocates

1)      Sneak Peeks

2)      Special Events

3)      Exclusive Communities

4)      Special Content

5)      Seeking their Opinions

6)      Access to VIPs

7)      Contribute to Causes

8)      Honor your Advocates

9)      Show them you Care

10)   Say Thank You


  • The 1/9/90 rule: 1% very active, 9% somewhat active and 90% lurkers in an online community
  • Expect 10% of your brand’s Facebook following to be listening at anytime
  • You can download Ch 1 of @robfuggetta’s book “Brand Advocates” at
  • #1 motivation for Brand Advocates: great experience w/ product/service & they want to help their friends. NOT bc of incentives
  • Content is still king. If you aren’t sure what your audience wants… ASK them. They will tell you.
  • SoMe is a 2 way communication channel, your communities aren’t for just posting Ads but are a forum for engagement. Engage & inform
  • Think about what your business’ most valuable goal is, and incentivize your community to help with that goal.
  • Use Engaging Copy and Photos to incentivise sharing
  • “Organic incentives can be much more effective and long-lasting than monetary rewards for your community.”
  • Community roles (organic) – advocates, moderators, content creators.