Someone recently asked what would be the best reward for members with a high reputation score?
Should they offer digital gift cards for $10 to $15?
Should they send out free SWAG and samples?
Should they let members exchange their points for unique perks?
These are terrible ideas.
The benefit of having a great reputation is having a great reputation!
Points, badges, and (to a lesser extent) leaderboards are simply indicators to make it easier to determine who has earned a reputation.
Sure, there might be some indirect financial benefits too. You might be approached for jobs, make valuable connections, or even get book deals. But the primary benefit of a great reputation is having that great reputation.
Your members don’t want cheap goodies for having a great reputation. They want to know their reputation matters. They want to be consulted, treated like a wise village elder, and be able to have input and impact on decisions.
In a completely rational world, members would like the $10 gift card. $10 is better than $0 after all…
But, in the real world (where people experience emotions), your members want things money can’t buy….like a great reputation.