Sure you can give a free trial, a discount, a giveaway, a raffle or some swag in your social spaces and see the herds roam past your pages and join them, but very few ever stick around after the party is over. In my opinion, this type of activity fuels the wrong behaviour and channels funds to misspent activities.
The real truth of the internet is that it is an “intimacy game”. The web allows you to find an often disparate group of people who share the same interests, have the same goals and want to connect with each other. For these special advocates, zealous fans and active contributors, they are after something else than the “tchotchke”.
Based on the opinions of our community experts, the attached chart and list below is what they really want and can be further boiled down into three core motivations: they want to feel good, they want to look good and they want to get something:
Intrinsic Needs “feel good”:
#1 Social Connection
#2 Shared Community Values/Culture
#6 Appeal to Hobbies/Interests
#7 Make a Difference/Support Cause
Extrinsic Needs “look good” :
#4 Influence and Proximity w/ Key Decision Makers
#9 Cultivate Status and Reputation
Explicit Needs “get something”:
#5 Access to Special Info/Advice
#10 Mutualistic relationship (company wins/you win)
Too many studies, take the full universe of people and reach the wrong conclusions on why people join things online. Here are two studies that make this error: ExactTarget, 2010 “Why Consumers Fan Facebook pages” and Get Satisfaction’s “What Makes People Follow a Brand” . Their research may be accurate but they are asking the wrong question. Here’s a different one – SNCR’s study that gets closer to the truth.
No, the practice that is known to so few of us who ply our trade online and with customers and fans is that to get the special 1-10% of people that will do the heavy lifting, embrace what you are doing online and be around when you really need them, go for the more nuanced and valuable top 10 list of movtivations above to generate long term, connected and social online success.