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4 Incentives to Inspire Your Social Media Marketing Team
By: Judi Cutrone
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Social media marketing is a constant, ever-evolving enterprise. Marketing through content generation and community building can be draining; the engagement is never supposed to stop and networks, like plants, must be tended to on a daily, if not a minute-to-minute, basis. Sure, there's fun and laughter and those adorable YouTube videos of kittens in boxes, but for long-time professionals it can sometimes feel like an endless walk on a treadmill. And that's a problem when a campaign's success relies largely on the energy and enthusiasm of the souls behind those computer screens. Here are four incentives that can continually motivate your social media marketing team.

1. Self-Promotion

Most social media marketers today are largely self-taught. Their interest in this work may stem from a genuine interest in social networking or a simple appreciation, and intuitive aptitude, for existing platforms. They also realize the power of influence and wish to be influencers themselves — so why not let them? This encouragement does not have to be big — it could be a more expansive bio that details their personal projects or a simple link in their professional bylines. Your staff now has a personal stake in getting more eyes to your brand. As long as it suits your company's ethical code and does not pose a competitive threat, this mutual promotion can benefit both sides. The more influential your staff, after all, the more influence they can bring to your brand in return.

2. Tangible Rewards for Intangible Results

Sales teams have long employed the tactic of incentives: a big bonus check, a trip to Hawaii, use of the company car, an extra vacation day. A tangible reward could be a game-changer for your social media department. After all, they deal with largely intangible goals regarding engagement and community outreach with no real deadlines or markers in sight. As a result, the whole department is vague on their personal and team goals. The assignment of tangible rewards ensures that you and your team establish the department's solid goals, ones that translate to tangible benefits for the company, while motivating individuals or the whole team.

3. The Spirit of Experimentation

The Internet is so vast and there is so much territory left to be mined. Your social media marketers were explorers once. They sought new ways to engage with their friends and coworkers. They're early adopters, the first to comment or test beta platforms, and they're eager to see what comes next. Harness this enthusiasm by folding it into their campaigns. Allow them the freedom to experiment with new platforms or try popular platforms in unconventional ways.

4. Internet Sabbaticals

Stop social media burnout before it starts. If you're able, rotate short-term Internet Sabbaticals through your team; get them involved in other areas of the business and let them use their skills in other ways for just a short time, even one day. Encourage community building within your team that has nothing to do with phones or a mouse. Good social media marketing depends on solid content generation through creativity and passion — encourage your team to exercise those muscles outside of Facebook or Foursquare's narrow walls. This short-term breaks could do wonders in keeping them motivated for the longrun.

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About the Author
Judi Cutrone is a social media strategist, novelist, and food blogger. She is an appreciator of good television, muppets, and the music of Phil Collins.
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