The success of a community depends vastly on the contributions of its members. Members are the heart and soul of a community and keeping them happy is the key to running a successful tribe. There are many reasons why community growth is vital. Let's go through some of them.
Why Is It Vital To Recognize Member Contributions?
- Promotes Belongingness & Transforms Members Into Evangelists: When members are recognized, they start feeling valued for their suggestions and activities. This encourages them to find better ways to improve the community and growth - unlocking the evangelist leadership skills in them.
- Drives Engagement Activity: According to a CMX Industry report in 2020, and one conducted within LikeMinds Community members, member engagement was the most challenging problem faced by a community manager, with over 37% finding it frustrating. Recognizing a member‚Äôs contribution inspires not only him/her but also other members to contribute regularly, thereby easing engagement woes.
- More User Generated Content In The Community: In the same LikeMinds survey we did, content creation also emerged as a top challenge for community builders, who have the strenuous task of creating, curating, and delivering content on a timely basis every single day. A logical consequence of the first point (increased member engagement) is increased user-generated content (UGC) - as when other members see contributing members getting recognized for their contributions, they start mimicking the behavior too. This helps to take the pressure off content creators in the community.
- Increased Member Loyalty And Retention: A monetized community is just like a well-functioning brand. According to a RedPoint Global Report in 2020, 31% of customers feel frustrated when they aren't recognized. This contributes inadvertently to customers shifting to other brands - a hit on loyalty & retention. The story is analogous to how community members behave. When recognized, a member stays loyal to his group and contributes the best to add to its value.
- Spike In Referrals And Organic Growth:¬†When you recognize people, they share it with their near and dear ones. Similarly, member recognition transforms members into ambassadors of your community, who, in the midst of sharing their achievements, also subtly promote your community. This leads to organic growth of the community via referrals.¬†
What Are The Different Forms Of Member Contributions?
But before one rewards members for their contributions, it is important to assess their contributions. Members can add value to the community in infinite ways. Now the contributions of members towards community growth are not always prominent. Many add value to the community silently too. Broadly, member contributions can be classified into two types:
- Visible Contributions:¬†These are member activities that are clearly noticeable in the community. For example, when a member hosts periodic events for the community, the actions are clearly visible. A super-active member who takes care of the community and growth rituals to drive engagement can also be considered a visible contributor.
- Invisible Contributions: Member contributions that are not prominently seen, yet which significantly contribute to community growth, are termed an invisible contribution. The backend team, the design team, the strategy team in a community manager‚Äôs inner circle are all invisible contributors.
Ways To Recognize Member Contributions
Having identified your contributors, it is time for you to appreciate their contributions towards community growth. There are absolutely no guidelines for this and you can do it any way you like. Here are a few ways we suggest:
- Feature stories of your member contributors in your community newsletter, blogs, events.
- Gift customized community brand merchandise to the top contributors.
- Invite your top contributors to the exclusive inner circle.
- Award badges and/or titles to people with significant contributions.
- Send personalized handwritten letters/postcards as written acknowledgments to make them feel valued.
- Verbally acknowledge member contributions during internal member catchup calls / other events.
- Institute annual awards for your community‚Äôs best performers.
- Give your most hard-working members a shout-out on your social media from time to time.
According to The State of Community Management 2019 report from The Community Roundtable, 63% of communities empower members frequently or all of the time. This directly impacts how members contribute, lead, engage, and innovate in the community - directly affecting community growth. So if you haven‚Äôt started recognizing your community members yet, start doing it now.
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