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Over the last few years, I have asked a lot of really smart people how they have inspired others to get on board with social media on behalf of their companies. On the phone I’ve grilled both Gini Dietrich and Elizabeth Sosnow on this topic and they both had helpful advice.
One of the first answers to my question came from Shel Israel, who said “you have to seduce them into it.” He’s right, of course. But it is not always easy to identify what’s going to make someone get interested in contributing.
My friend Janet Driscoll Miller of Search Mojo was talking about this very topic recently and she noted the same approach endorsed by others in the field who have been successful.
The approach is this: when it comes to encouraging staff members to contribute to a business’s online presence, the only — and really the only — way to be successful in doing this is to make it part of each employee’s job responsibilities. Furthermore, everyone I’ve asked finds it necessary to tie bonus compensation to social media contribution. One firm rewards the employee with the highest ranked blog post for the month with $100 cash.
If, as one firm owner found, money doesn’t motivate, then pulling the hard-core card does; if someone’s not pulling their weight, it’s going to come up in performance reviews.
It’s too bad that for some employees they don’t “get it” and find their own passion, particularly if they’re marketers. It’s sad that some people have to be bribed to do their job well. The tide is bound to turn, however, as employers place a more and more significant emphasis on an employee’s role as an ambassador for the company.
If you’ve dealt with this issue within an agency or any company trying to develop content for the social web, what have you found to be a successful form of motivation? What have you tried that doesn’t work?