Understanding motivation is key to performing well and leading others. This engaging talk by Daniel Pink highlights scientific evidence on achieving success from people in team situations. Ultimately his point is that for routine, simple tasks, monetary rewards that set individual against individual work best – but for complex work, rewards that require people to work together are best.
When trying to engage people online – their motivations might be considered in a similar way. If you want a simple, short-term relationship, or action – give them a competition to enter, to win a prize. However, if you want to develop a longer-term (and thus more complex) relationship – quick fix promotions that engender a quick hit of satisfaction are not going to do it. So, for example, compelling people to ‘like’ a facebook page by throwing competitions at them – without tying that to activity to build value on multiple levels, is wasted if long-term growth is desired. Users are likely to see the value-exchange as superficial, enter the competition and ‘un-like’ swiftly afterwards.
At a promotional level then – social media competitions must be tied into overall creative social concepts that are realised in multiple ways over time, as appropriate to the product or service, and the user’s location, activity, mood and platform/ device. Each concept should be brought to life via activities that provide people with a utility, an experience, and/ or opportunities to share – bearing in mind core human motivations: enjoyment, status seeking, reputation seeking, altruism – and that for more complex participation, offering rewards to people for working together, rather than against one another, will be most successful.