Community Rings

This is part of an ongoing series of writing to our team at Stagetime.

When looking at users and how they flow and engage with a product there are three main categories or “rings” which include:

  • Passive Users - users that are just here from some benefit. For them it’s all about “how do I benefit.” For example these might be the users that only login to make a change or two or only engage when promoted.
  • Active Users - These are users that login more often, they completed or nearly completed a profile, and they have connected with a few people. They’re looking to contribute to the network in some way. That contribution can be in the form of adding and keeping their data up to date or engaging with content from other people. They are also our first layer of word of mouth. They see the value and they share when they think of it.
  • Power Users - These are users that sing our praises. They love the platform and they genuinely want to make it better for everyone.

It takes a lot of energy to convince a passive person to be active and the results are often short-lived. A lot of time, energy, and to some extent money can be spent trying to activate people that don’t want to be activated at all.

We need to work mostly on the inner and middle rings—to support them, coach them, and ultimately help them bring their gifts into the community. This creates a healthy and stable core from which the rest of the community (the outer ring) can grow. And it removes tremendous pressure from our shoulders that this group is only successful if everyone is active.

So what do we do with the outer ring? We need to keep them informed and to create light-touch invitations. By creating invitations the outer circle knows how they can be more involved when they are ready. Additionally, there should be ways for the inner circles to take a step back when it’s right for them to do so. Some people will just never become power users that are super engaged—and that’s ok. People will take us up on the invitation, but it has to fit in terms of interest, purpose, values, people and, most of all, timing. All we can do is to make sure that they feel invited when they are ready.

To build a strong, engaged user base we need to focus on the middle and inner rings and we need to build invitations inside the product to easily allow them to go in and out of rings on their own.

Of course we can’t ignore the outer ring, they are our largest set of users. Rather we should be spending our time on the invitations,  creating buy-in and investment from our community members, and incentivizing this behavior in the product itself.