Could Incentives Improve Facebook Engagement?

A recent article on Brandweek discussed how some brands (mainly food) are dangling incentives in front of people to encourage Facebook Fan Page growth. The article investigates coupon efforts on the part of Healthy Choice and a sweepstakes effort from Jack-in-the-Box that are rewarding people for becoming fans. Efforts made by these companies are certainly doing an effective job bringing people to the table but it's not enough to just get people there - it's just as important to keep them.

Engagement on brand Facebook pages is just as - if not more important - than just having fans. There has been several studies on the value of a fan but the results really can't be accurately justified as results. An organization with ten thousand "Likes" may not be generating as high of an ROI as a page with only one thousand. It's not the numbers that drives brand loyalty but the interaction and conversation around the brands. In other words, the focus of these brands shouldn't rest soley on gaining "Likes" but also encouraging the Likers to become content contributors toward the page.

So how do they go about influencing this behavoir?

Jay Baer recently posted about how our measurement of Facebook "Likes" is way off. Just having an arbitrary number doesn't do much to drive business. Facebook pages will have a much more significant impact on your business if you give people a reason to participate. Incentives are one method but should be used beyond simply rewarding a button click. Using rewards to influence people to engage on your page and take time to interact with your brand will reap the best long term business success.

We've talked before about adding a game layer to incentive programs - a concept that is definitely applicable here as well. You could have contests or award people points for interacting with your brand. These interactions could be starting up discussions on a message forum on the site, uploading viral video onto the page referencing one of your brand's products, or even contributing blog posts about your brand with the chance of being rewarded in some way. If a company is willing to incentivize their fan page, they might as well do it right, instead of stopping short at just "Likes."

What do you think? Would rewards have potential to increase engagement on Facebook pages?´╗┐