One way to reward people who create great videos, provide great advice, and offer referrals is to give them swag, freebies, and special treatment.
A better way is to help them be better at it.
This year, we had a client whose members frequently created videos involving the product.
Instead of rewarding them with badges, points, swag, or even status, we tried something different. We tried rewarding them with an increased sense of competence.
We paid for a video expert to coach the top 20 (combination of online courses and mentoring) to create even better videos.
The quantity and quality of videos they created increased significantly. They worked harder to outdo each other with their contributions.
If we want members to make their full contributions to a community, we need to move away from social exchange theory and towards a deeper understanding of what members want. Those wants are usually to feel a stronger part of a group, to feel in control and respected, and, in this case, to be better at what they do.