Who are your most valuable members?

by Martin Reed on 5 September 2007 in Snippets

Who are your most valuable members?

As your community develops, you will really get to know many of the individuals that make up your site. You may even start to consider some as more valuable than others – but what makes one member more valuable than another?

Who is the most valuable member of your community?

Many people would say the most valuable member of a community is the one who posts the most content. I can understand why many people agree with this logic – particularly when it comes to new forums. The people that stand out the most in a new forum are very often the people who post the most often – this doesn’t make them the most valuable, though.

Have you considered the quality of the articles your members are contributing? The member who adds the highest number of new posts may be writing complete rubbish. The quieter member who only contributes a few times each week may be far more valuable if their posts are of a higher quality.

Everyone has a different opinion of value

You may decide you want quantity over quality during the early stages of your forum’s development in order to make your site look busy. Unfortunately, if your content is poor this may end up discouraging visitors from registering.

My opinion is this: quality reigns supreme over quantity every single time. It is better for a new visitor to your site to find 10 new posts of good quality every day, than 100 posts of complete dross.

Your most valuable members are those that contribute posts of the highest quality – these are the members you need to ensure you keep, nurture and encourage.

Value every member equally

I always recommend you take a mental note of your most valuable members. In the public eye though, you need to value every member equally. After all, it is the sum of every individual that makes your community a success. Even the members you consider less valuable will have their place – they can often bring light relief to a community, and prevent new visitors from feeling intimidated by serving up some light-hearted banter.

Perhaps it is time you rethought just who your most valuable members are. Perhaps it is also time you recognised that even those that you consider to be less valuable are still important to the success of your community. Who do you consider to be your most valuable members?

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Skellie September 6, 2007 at 9:48 am

I found this very thought-provoking. I don’t administer any forums, but it’s not hard to see how the principle applies to blogging, if you replace ‘member’ with ‘reader’ :).

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 6, 2007 at 12:28 pm

Skellie – Thanks for your comment. I think this principle applies to all online communities – your most valuable reader/member/visitor may not be who you think they are!

ses5909 September 7, 2007 at 11:31 am

great post Martin. I’d love for you to do a follow-up on ways to show your members you appreciate them! I definitely have some ideas in mind but would love to get your thoughts as well.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm

ses5909 – Thanks for your comment. I will definitely write some more articles on the future on how to show your members just how much you love them!

Smiley September 10, 2007 at 7:11 am

I would say the most valued members are those that love your community enough to keep coming back, are polite and helpful towards new users (thus discouraging ‘cliquishness’), but also aren’t afraid to criticize you if you’re in the wrong or aren’t afraid to give you a good kick up your backside to get something fixed that needs fixing.

You don’t want suck-ups, you want someone who will happily point something out to you that doesn’t make sense.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 10, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Smiley – All of us have different considerations as to who our most valuable members are. It all depends on our own goals and of course, the personality we are trying to lend to our community.

Members who feel comfortable offering feedback and are welcoming to new members should definitely be considered valuable.

BlogOxide September 12, 2007 at 7:35 pm

For me the most valuable members are those who really care for the community either by contributing or giving tips and suggestions for the betterment. But of course treating everyone equally is another important concern.

Martin Reed - Blog Author September 13, 2007 at 11:52 pm

BlogOxide – You make a good point. Members who are obviously passionate about your community and are great contributors are definitely ones you want to stick around. They are also the people you should consider taking on as moderators.