It's pretty tough to get people motivated enough to actually do something these days.
We are dealing with increasingly savvy audiences, with more options, and less time to commit significant effort, to actively contribute to good causes.
Good online/offline campaigns rely on strong organizing, clear message, and recognizable outcomes. In addition, a successful campaign needs an inspirational way to motivate people to participate and engage. So how do we begin this process?
We know that community generated activity builds stronger bonds with a brand or campaign - having a hand in the creation of something makes people more likely to invest in its ongoing success. A community of actively engaged individuals are also much more likely to participate in collaborative myth creation, spread your message by word of mouth, and act as ambassadors, or brand evangelists.
How do we get peoples attention and motivate them to actively do something to participate in a good cause?
The following is a handful of ways commonly used to motivate us to engage with campaigns:
Boo! Arrgh! Use fear to scare people into action
Fear is often used to motivate engagement - particularly around issues of safety, health and your responsibilities to your loved ones.
Nice Booty Reward and incentivize through prizes or material gain
Pay to engage - prizes don't necessarily have to be cash value - they can be things that your target audience will value.
Game On Encourage competition
Engage that latent competitive drive: award points, challenge people to compete for a high score. Chore Wars is a great example of using a points system to get people more engaged in doing unappealing household chores. (I have long envisioned a challenge that pits homes/dorms/companies monitoring their energy consumption against each other in a game of conservation. Anyone want to build it with me??)
Stroke that Ego Spotlight talent and reward effort with praise and profile
We all like to get praised. And increasingly, online recognition can be turned into power and opportunity. If members of your community are participating for recognition, make sure there are good opportunities for them to build profile and portfolio.
Fun is Good(!) Make it more fun to do good stuff
Why not helping people feel good about doing good. It is important to be respectful of sensitive issues, but it is also important to let people enjoy themselves.
A great example of fun at work is RockCorps - a day of service working for a good cause, performed with friends, that earns you a concert ticket to an exclusive show. This is a winning model for engagement - By giving young people a way to feel like they are doing a good deed by hanging out with friends, and get rewarded for a day of service. The new initiative from Disney - Give Day Get a Disney Day - follows a similar model.
Power Hungry Offer opportunities to lead and organize
A recent McKinsey Quarterly survey has found that as companies tighten their belts and reduce fiscal rewards, employees can be motivated, sometime more effectively, by offering greater leadership opportunities, praise and direct attention. In online and offline organizing, the opportunity to lead a house party, or run a local event can be a great motivator.
We're all Dumb and Lazy Make the default option the best one
Make the lazy option the best option. Nudge highlights the little things we can do to change peoples behavior for the better. Instead of asking people to decide to opt IN, make your preferred option a decision to opt OUT and watch how many more people commit.
In Sympathy Put your audience in the shoes of those in need
Build empathy with your audience, tell emotional stories that people can relate to.
The Velvet Rope Get a glimpse behind the curtain
Nothing builds demand like limited supply. Exclusivity, VIP, invite only. Does anyone still need a Google Wave invitation?
Edutainment Teach through storytelling
Participant Media is a production company that makes great movies. Most people know them for their multi award winning films like the Soloist or the Kite Runner. Less people are aware of the huge social undertakings that go on behind the scenes of every film. Each one of their films becomes a vehicle to educate and engage the broader cinema going public in a range of issues explored through their stories. Eg. The Soloist launched a mental healthcampaign. By using popular cinema to tell well crafted and engaging stories, they are able to educate a broader audience of engaged individuals.
We're all in This Together Feel part of something bigger than yourself
Provide ways for people to collaborate and own a little piece of a bigger whole. Initiatives like seti or carrot mob rely on people working together to create something as a community. When there is a shared sense of ownership and responsibility for success - be it a community like The High Line, open source software, or a collaborative story - we rely on each others singular strengths to support the cohesion of the whole.
Good campaigning, advertising and engagement will use a combination of these techniques to entice, incentivize and engage people to participate.
Obviously, the core of a good social media campaign is based in a deep understanding and affinity with the issues at hand, the message, and the action required. Knowing the issue, the message, and the actionable ask will determine the most appropriate way to engage an audience to participate.
What other techniques are used to engage people in issues?
What are some other good examples of campaigns that use a combination of these techniques?
Originally published on EchoDitto.com on December 03 2009