Since it's a bit slower here over the winter holidays, let me try to start you off by directing you to a few good articles / areas you should check out:
Have you read the blog Posts of @MikeW on Relationships: The R in CRM? It gives you a good overview on why relationship building is important for loyalty and links out to several other sources.
Additionally check out this forbes article about the power of building customer communities.
And last but not least a how to guide on using customer communities to boost loyalty and retention
In short the key to loyalty are relationships and experiences. Through the use of the right content and gamification strategy (and given the brand promise and products you sell fulfill their purpose) a community can help you create the right digital experiences for your customers. With gamification you can lead the customers along the gamification spectrum towards deeper engagement. The Customer will then gain reputation as a brand expert and form a deep relationship with the brand which can be very beneficial for the brand. (as mentioned this is barely scratching the surface and a very high level summary ;) )
Make sure to also check out our Webcasts (e.g. Social Strategies that turn Customers into Fans), Whitepapers about Community and Lithy Awards where our customers show their success with online communities. One of the most famous examples within Lithium is the Sephora story, where Sephora was able to show that their Community Superfans spend 10x more than normal customers.
Hope that get's you started :)
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Besides all the analytics that were mentioned above, I'd strongly suggest to also work with your moderators to discover relevant threads and topics.
They are the ones closest to the conversation and should be able to tell you about which conversations are 'hot'.
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I agree with @Wendy_S that there is no right or wrong but it is more a question of brand/community fit the experience you want to create and the effort for the administration team.
To answer quickly, I personally see even three options based on what customers use (from most common to least common):
(N.B. I am sure there are more Pro's and Con's to each option but i have listed the most important ones in my view)
Option 1: One specific Superuser rank for the Members of the Superuser Program
Pro's: Simple Administration
Con's: No progress for the superuser / no indication how long a user is already a Superuser
Potential Workarounds: Badges for each Year / Amend the rank with a Number that indicates the Year every year
Option 2: Keep the normal Rank structure for the Superusers but highlight their ranks / profiles to show that they are superusers (Badge / Rank icon / color)
Pro's: Gamification concept still applies to superusers
Con's: Might lead to some confusion for the admin due to the duplication of rank structures / Superusers might not be visible enough to the rest of the users
Potential Workarounds: Use Signatures to show Superuser Membership
Option 3: Create a new ranking structure for Superusers
Pro's: Superusers are part of a Gamification strategy
Con's: Administrative effort (similar to Option 2), Potential Confusion for normal users if there are two rank themes
What you want to consider before making the decision are mainly the two following views:
User view: How do your users tick? Would they care more if they 'lost' their superuser rank and 'dropped' back to a normal rank? Then Option 2 is probably better.
Do they want to stick out and would therefore not be happy with 'just' receiving a rank icon & Badge? Then i'd go for Option 1 or 3.
Does the team have the ability to administer a duplicate rank structure in Option 2 and 3 or not?
How many Superusers do you have? Only 1 or is it 20?
How often do you need to add/remove superusers from your program.
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these links might help you to answer a few questions:
Explanation of Formula components: http://community.lithium.com/t5/Rankings/Create-a-ranking-formula/ta-p/108837
Explanation of the Ranking System incl. Documentatnion: http://community.lithium.com/t5/Rankings/Default-ranks-provided-for-new-communities/ta-p/227059?attachment-id=5668
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