If you participate even casually in social media, you probably know about FOMO — the fear of missing out — even if the name is unfamiliar. Maybe you found out about a great party a day after it happened or were scheduled to be out of town while your favorite team is playing a home game.
Our connected lives have made us hyper-aware of the experiences we might be missing, and at one point or another, most of us experience FOMO. Brands like Apple have used it to great success — think about the lines people form so they don’t miss out on a new iPhone — but few channel marketers have learned to harness the power of this modern-day phenomenon to create meaningful engagement.
Here are three ways you can spur engagement in your channel by leveraging FOMO:
1. Recognize Exemplary Partners
Rather than offering a new iPhone (which could work, if you’ve got the budget), find a partner or two who exemplify the ideal partner behaviors, and publicly recognize their efforts in front of the rest of your channel. Reward these poster children with partner conferences or newsletters that acknowledge their success, explain how they earned your adoration, and share their story. Let your partners know you’ll be recognizing future partners success stories and encourage them to contact you with stories of their own.
One caveat: the “ideal partner behaviors” you want to show off must be achievable by the masses or this strategy will backfire. If you always recognize your most prominent and best partners, your midsize and small partners won’t even try to compete.
2. Create Exclusive Opportunities
Another way to ensure active participation is to create exclusive opportunities that will benefit only those who follow your guidance. Reward your partners for paying attention, in other words. For example, announce that on a specific date you’ll be switching your Twitter handle to “Private” for a big announcement. On that day, only your followers will be able to read your tweets, not the public.
Once private, you can make your announcement and give dedicated followers a jump on the competition. Of course, the announcement must be something of substance, like a new price discount promotion that your partners can offer their customers, or a new event kit full of swag that’s available to the first 50 partners to schedule an event focused on your campaign. The opportunity to have breakfast with your CEO or another executive at your next partners conference may also be enticing.
3. Establish a “Winners Circle”
Ultimately, you’ll want your partners to act as evangelists for your company and its principle marketing messages. Try creating a cohort group that partners can become members of based on certain levels of success (the “winners circle”). Grant members early access to information, give them opportunities to speak at events, and quote them in articles and blogs. By gamifying participation in programs, you can deepen relationships with partners that already like you and encourage them to become true brand evangelists.
Speaking the Right Language
As with all channel relationships, the key to meaningful engagement is speaking to your partners’ business objectives. By showing a clear value proposition to your programs and elevating successful partners as exemplary case studies, you can show the less cooperative partners what they’re missing out on. By using FOMO as a motivational tool, your partners will want to act as evangelists for your company and its principal marketing messages. So, get creative! Put yourself in their shoes, use the strategies listed above, and all parties will benefit.