They go by many names. Community Ambassadors. Influencers. Power users. At Hivebrite, we like to call them community champions.
They are your most enthusiastic and active community members.
Let's take a closer look at why community champions are so crucial to your community's evolution and success and how you can create a community champions program!
Why You Need Community Champions
Your community champions are your biggest supporters. They are the people posting and replying to discussions regularly.
Community champions help to spread the vision of your community, bringing other members onboard while sharing their time, insights, and advice. Other members recognize them for their willingness to engage and they demonstrate moderation and leadership skills.
Community champions can also offer great feedback on the community from a member perspective.
In short, a core group of champions significantly increases your community's likelihood of success.
The Pyramid of Engagement
If you want to create a long-term strategy to cultivate community champions, you need to outline what the journey to becoming a community champion looks like.
The Pyramid of Engagement effectively illustrates the different stages of engagement in a community. It's a helpful model when considering engagement strategies to cultivate your community champions.
Let's take a look at an example of a community champion journey.
Laetitia has activated her account. She has viewed a blog article and clicked various links in the community. Then, moving up the pyramid, she starts joining different groups in the community and participating in events. Later, she offers to be a mentor and then accepts (or asks) to become a community champion.
You may want to employ a different model of engagement. However, you must have a measurement framework for your community champions to grow (and to make sure that the people you want to become champions are moving up the pyramid).
Incentivizing Your Community Champions
Deciding how to best incentivize your champions depends on your community.
Badges and swag are always appreciated, but you should also offer incentives that match your mission and connect to and reinforce your champions' identities and ambitions.
Let's take a look at an example. Amber is a highly active member of a community dedicated to solving sustainability challenges. She is always the first to answer questions in the forum, has attended numerous events, and has even shared her own articles. To reward Amber for being such an active and engaged member, the community team asks her to manage a group within the community dedicated to climate change—her specialist subject. The role incentivizes Amber by reinforcing her identity as a community champion and subject expert. It gives her exclusive access to community leaders, and all of her suggestions on climate change are taken into account.
You could also reward your champions by inviting them to beta test products, giving them early access to top content, and offering discount event prices!
Strong Relationship Develop Over Time
It's essential to give your champions a space to grow, but you also need to make sure they understand what your expectations are of them and what they can expect from you—this will create a foundation of trust so that your relationships can flourish.
Remember when creating your community champion program that relationships take time to build, and building your core base of champions will take time. Never compromise your underlying mission—it will align with the narrative of your greatest champions.
How Hivebrite Can Help
At Hivebrite, we have developed an engagement scoring system to make identifying community champions almost effortless. Community managers can define the most meaningful member actions (commenting on an article, attending an event, replying to a question, posting a photo, …) and attribute points for each step. Each members' score is automatically calculated based on their activity in the community.
Hivebrite’s platform also offers a number of features to cultivate and empower community champions—from advanced group management to pinned posts. Schedule a demo today to discover more about our community engagement platform.