Incentivizing Your Network for Sharing

This post is part of our #Share4Schools social sweepstakes series, designed to help schools engage supporters in social circles to promote fundraising—and possibly win cash prizes. While some of these articles reference #Share4Schools, the concepts are universal.

Expanding your reach in Social Media revolves around sharing

Sometimes sharing is driven by emotional engagement with a cause or issue. Sometimes sharing is mobilized by buzz and desire to participate. Sometimes sharing needs a little boost to get going. For the #Share4Schools sweepstakes, every share results in the school gaining another entry into the contest. The more entries a school gets, the more likely the school’s chance of winning the cash!

So how do you get those shares?

There’s only so far you can get by simply posting on social media and asking for a boost. To widen the reach of your network, you’ll have to do a little more.

Why should I care about expanding my network?

Networks are like spiderwebs: each node in the web is connected to a whole other web, with more nodes that connect to even larger webs. When someone shares your post, it activates their own network— like a domino effect. This is how your reach grows. When you ask supporters to take subsequent actions, there will be more people listening.

Think about it like this: what’s the cost of not expanding your network? When you start advertising your next gala, jog-a-thon, or car wash, who will see it? Why expend the energy planning fun events if people don’t come to them? Or write fantastic solicitation emails if only a few potential donors see them?

If you’re going to speak, there should be people to hear it.

Incentivize your audience

What makes your post engaging enough for someone to want to share it? To sign up for your mailing list? Or even better, to encourage others to share it, too?

Give people a reason to participate!

  • Set goals. Establish a reasonable first benchmark for shares—something that would be within reach to achieve.
  • Establish a reward. Let’s say your first goal is 300 shares. For achieving that goal, what if the principal gets a pie in the face? Or some teachers have to do a funny dance? There’s a great community-minded incentive to get people sharing that will entice parents, alumni, and donors alike.

Get creative with your incentives. What would your audience want? What will inspire them to spread the word to their friends and family?

  • Convert that one-time engagement into a lifetime supporter. Add an easy link to sign up for your email list to your posts about the #Share4Schools contest, so everyone who shared the post will know the moment the goal is reached. That way, they can watch the pie-throwing show for themselves!

Once you reach the goal, record that awesome pie throw, or that one popular teacher cutting off all his hair, and then share it with your supporters. Now you have people anticipating the next stretch goal eagerly for what new, silly ideas you have up your sleeve!

TIP: When your supporters feel that they have a stake in the outcome, they’re more likely to participate in the contest and help make that outcome a reality.

Spend some to make some.

Ever heard the phrase, “You have to spend money to make money”? Encouraging people within your network to perform any action works best with some sort of tangible reward for completing the action you’ve asked of them.

It’s not always the ideal solution to spend a little money, but sometimes it has to be done. Where the reward is growing your network, and increasing awareness about your school within the community, investing a little in your own growth isn’t a bad idea.

Here are some more great ideas for incentives:

  • Give everybody free lunch. If you hit your first stretch goal, buy pizza for the whole school!
  • Or organize a special event assembly for students as another smaller reward.
  • You could set a much higher goal, and encourage parents’ family and friends to share the post as well—and reward them with a parents-only social event with free child care.

Why not start your own internal raffle for a cool prize?

A great way to spread the word is with a raffle! Every entry your school gets in the #Share4Schools contest could double as an entry in your school’s own raffle. Then, randomly draw a name from the pot, and the winner gets a fabulous prize!

The prize could be anything exclusive or desirable to your audience—a VIP parking spot, a game console, an iPad. There are lots of ways to get creatve with it!

Remember that besides winning the #Share4Schools prize, the goal is also to grow your network and expand your reach for future initiatives. Your email list will thank you!

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