Written by Brian Cray on July 31st, 2009
Online communities are all the rave because people have a unique opportunity to connect with others with similar interests all over the world. Furthermore, it offers businesses unprecedented insight into consumer behaviors, preferences, and demographics.
In a 2006 online white paper about participation inequality, Jakob Nielsen revealed this staggering rule of thumb:
In most online communities, 90% of users are lurkers who never contribute, 9% of users contribute a little, and 1% of users account for almost all the action.
How important are the people who contribute content to your online community? Extremely.
Rewarding that remarkable 1%
90% of your content is coming from that 1%, and there's no better way to thank them than publicly. Public recognition also provides an example of good behavior for the other 90% or the new-comers who may one day be part of that elite 1%.
Don't limit this recognition to your website! Do it in your newsletter and offline promotions as well.
Giving top users free branded swag is a sure fire way to reward them and at the same time sink your brand further into their daily lives.
A "personal thanks"
It's important to give recognition as a private and personable exchange as well. A personal thanks increases the sincerity of the appreciation, allows for the direct connection between top users and community authorities, and offers a great opportunity to mine valuable feedback from influential users.
Ask a brand executive or a relevant public authority figure to take his or her time to speak directly with the users that "pay the bills."