Thursday marks that wonderful time of the year when we gather with friends and family, give thanks, and have a perfectly valid excuse to eat too much food and take a nap. So in this time of giving thanks, has your arts organization thought about how you give thanks for your online communities? Offering ways to thank and reward your organization’s online community is an important part of online social engagement. It reinforces for your followers how much you appreciate while giving them great incentives to spread your brand. These rewards can span from offering exclusive content only available to your online fan base to having something tangible like a specific event or rewards day at your organization focused on your online community.
Take for example the recent move by Barry and Fran Weissler, producers of the musical Chicago, to reward their Facebook fans. On January 30, 2011, Facebook Fan Day will mark the first time that a Broadway show will fill its house exclusively with their Facebook fans -- for free. Yes, the tickets were free, but they were not simply first come, first served. Tickets were distributed chronologically to those people who got ten of their friends to “Like” the Chicago Facebook page.
While an idea like Facebook Fan Day is a great way to reward and expand your organization’s online presence, it doesn’t necessarily need to be a one-time offering. The folks over at Brooklyn Museum have included an on-going rewards program for their Foursquare community. By becoming Brooklyn Museum’s "mayor" on Foursquare during their First Saturday social event, a visitor can receive a free one year membership for their 1stfans social event program. One advantage to using a location based platform is that it requires users to be present at the event in order to and claim the reward. Rewarding your social media fans can increase their loyalty to your organization, give them some incentives to get through the door and create more advocates to spread your brand. What does (or could) your organization do to give thanks to members of your online communities?