Street Team 101: Part 3 – How to Incentivize and Motivate your Street Team

written by

Alan VanToai

posted on

March 22, 2013

written by

Alan VanToai

posted on

March 22, 2013
Street team 101, part 3. How to incentivize a street team. A visual for the blog post

Read time: 10 minutes

This is the third installment in the epic “Street Team 101” series

1. How To Recruit a Street Team.
2. How To Prepare a Street Team.
3. How to Incentivize and Motivate your Street Team. <= You are here!
4. Street Team Marketing Ideas.
5. Street Team Communication.

That million-dollar question.

“What’s in it for me?”

It’s what decides if team members work with you or not.

And you already know having a [favorable] answer to this question is non-negotiable.

The good news is, chances are you’re working on something cool that people want to be involved in. Especially if you’re a concert promoter, band, venue, or a cool brand. Some number of your fans will be excited and enthusiastic about spreading the word.

Does My Street Team Passion Story Look Like Yours?

Think about this – when someone really falls in love with a brand (this bond is especially strong with music/arts), they’re doing more than just appreciating it or getting pleasure from it. In many ways, when someone truly subscribes to your brand, they’re aligning part of their identity with it.

I’m guilty of this. The band that I first started street teaming for back in the day was The Disco Biscuits. Over the course of 7 years, I saw them literally over a hundred times.

If that sounds obsessive, it’s because it was.

But more than just loving the shows and music, being a Disco Biscuits fan was part of who I was. I aligned myself with a wild community of friends from shows, tours, and festivals. And I helped spread the word.

To handle their street team management, The Disco Biscuits hired FanManager – a full service street and digital marketing agency out of LA. It was through street teaming with the Disco Biscuits that I first connected with FanManager’s founder Erik, and eventually worked my way up to managing street team campaigns with FanManager as a Marketing Coordinator.

Managing street teams with Erik and FanManager showed me how powerful a team’s passion can be.

The Big Takeaway: Leverage that passion and combine it with a clear, compelling incentive for your team to work towards, and you’ll create a powerful win-win for everyone.

Here are seven specific ideas that we’ve used to motivate our fans to action. Think about these and see what fits for you. Get creative. 

1. Free tickets

Free tickets are easy enough to offer your team members. Set a clear benchmark of what’s expected to get free tickets, and communicate them clearly (see welcome pack).

Pro-tip: after a while, free tickets for one person can get old. What never gets old is an extra +1 to bring a friend. Give your team members the option to bring a friend along. Everything’s better with friends.

2. Merch/Product

T-shirts, coozies, etc. If you’re an artist or venue this is especially cool. Signed posters work really well. If you’re a product/consumer brand, this might not be as applicable. In that case, actual products for your team members could be huge. When I was a Regional Brand Manager at Red Bull we had access to unlimited cases of Red Bull. In college, this was a powerful currency. Things like this will go a long way in making your team extra enthusiastic.

3. Meet-and-Greets

This is another low-cost way to do something extra-special for your team. If you’re a venue or artist, arrange pre-show meet-and-greets with your team members. We’ve run this for teams several times and it has always been special. Invite them early for a sound check too, and maybe take a request or two from the team.

STS9 used to sell these pre-show meet & greet/soundcheck packages, which is a great idea. But providing these events for your community of team members can be even more special.

Phone calls with band members or your organization work really well too. I remember hustling to get some work done on a Crystal Method promo team years ago that ended with a signed poster and phone call with the band. I had the chance to speak with Scott Kirkland for 15 minutes and their agent before the call. Something I never forgot.

(This will even work if you’re not an artist/concert venue/etc… if you’re a business with a street team, scheduling a 15-20 minute meeting with the CEO or one of the business founders can be a very special opportunity for your team).

4. College Credit/Internship

We did this all the time. It’s easy to offer college credit for this type of work, usually as a marketing internship credit. It does take a little bit of paperwork, but you can help your team work towards graduation in exchange for their promotions.

Structured internships can be a great way to make sure your team members are getting the most out of the opportunity, and usually include some time for goal setting and recaps/reflection. This is usually a good opportunity to “promote” a team member to manager. If you can help set up a team member to manage your street team operations, you’ll benefit from having a more self-sustaining operation, and they’ll benefit from the experience.

5. Professional Development

You could think of this as an expansion of the internship. I credit my experiences managing street team efforts as being a key building block in my own development as a marketer. You can offer your team this same opportunity with great results.

If you offer a professional development program, you’ll want to maintain great communication with the standout team members who are looking to take advantage of this opportunity for professional development. Again, work with them to set goals, keep tabs on their progress, and review their performance on a regular basis.

Pro tip: Interns and other ambitious folks looking for professional development are terrific candidates for managing the entire team. You can have them handle recruiting, creation of welcome packs, planning and running of street team meetings, and more. Just send them links to these guides and have them run with it.

6. Community

If you build a community around your venue, band, or brand, you’ll have an endless source of motivation for your team. It’ll keep it fun, and just like when you work out with a friend, you’ll go the extra mile.

Community advocates are your best and most loyal sales reps.

7. Money

We usually recommend not offering money as an incentive for street teaming.

The first reason is that you want team members to promote something they love. The reality is, money will trivialize that and then can kill the passion. Non-monetary incentives foster passion that leads to enjoyment.

The second reason – it’s just not a good use of money. If you took the same amount of money and instead hosted a monthly party with food and drinks, you’d build community and show appreciation in a way that your team members will really appreciate.

As soon as you pay team members a dollar, it can confuse the incentives and makes things messy. So we always avoided paying for street team work, but that was just our experience. Your mileage may vary – if you’ve found success with paid teams, then by all means, go for it 🙂.

Bottom Line—Find What Works For Your Street Team

These were just a handful of ideas that I’ve experimented with in the past. Use them to your benefit and give your team members something special to work towards, and they’ll crush it for you.

Whatever you decide to do, communicate the incentives in a clear way up front so there’s no ambiguity as to what they can expect. As we discussed in the last section, the welcome pack is a great place to lay these ground rules.

In the next section, we’ll cover how to support your team in order to help them do their job successfully.

Next: Part 4 – Street Team Marketing Ideas

Alan VanToai

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