The Value of Super User Programs: How to Manage a Big Community With a Small Team
A common misconception in community building is that as your membership increases, your costs will skyrocket.
A common misconception in community building is that as your membership increases, your costs will skyrocket. It seems logical that more users must require more resources, namely extra staff to cope with the influx of traffic and moderation. Thank goodness, you have a secret weapon at your disposal – the Super User.
Whether you’re a brand new community setting out on your adventure or an established community looking to scale effectively and efficiently, the importance of a Super User program cannot be underestimated.
What is a Super User?
Every social group has exceptional members who are more vocal and highly motivated than the rest. Typically, they provide expertise or simply have an increased passion for a topic. These members will adhere to one or more of these traits and display leadership qualities that make them stand out. It’s not uncommon for these members to join your community in its infancy (early adopters) but they can appear at any time.
“You get to make a mark on a product that millions of people use all the time without being an engineer or knowing code. That’s the underlying motivation.”
Tracey Churray – Foursquare (via CMXHub)
This type of user is so important because their energy and engagement in the community can be harnessed to support your business objectives and scale your efforts. A Super User, properly motivated, will answer questions, provide expertise, help onboard members, deflect support tickets, create new content and provide a valuable feedback channel for the community manager or team.
They are also brand ambassadors for you, extolling the benefits of your service, product or experience to new members who respond favourably to social proof. Ask yourself: as a new member, are you more likely to be persuaded purely by marketing copy or through real interactions with trusted community members you can relate to?
Recruiting Super Users
Identifying members who have the potential to become great Super Users can be done through a combination of data analysis, observation and recommendation.
Data analysis provides a snapshot of highly engaged members who contribute new ideas, reply to others, create content and perform certain tasks in the community that your organization has marked as valuable.
However, in isolation this presents a very functional view and should be blended with observation and recommendation. Statistically, members might be high value, but you want to identify members who also share your brand ethics, are able to communicate politely and constructively with other members and who display leadership traits that other members respect and respond favourably to.
Once you’ve identified a small group of members who would be great Super Users for your community, send a personal message inviting them to join this new, exciting, exclusive program. The number of members you initially invite will vary based on the size of your community but start small; 10 to 15 members is plenty to get the program moving.
Motivating Super Users
When building your Super User program, it’s vitally important to clearly establish objectives that tie into your business goals. Consider the following:
Motivating this wonderful new group is vital. Be clear on your expectations of them and set clear tasks. Trust is key here as you provide them with more responsibility and autonomy to keep things running smoothly and help the growth of the community.
FeverBee’s Super User Program Planning Template is a fantastic free resource to help you establish what your objectives are, and can form the core of your program.
In return, Super Users will want to feel that their time, effort and advocacy is being rewarded. Being in the inner circle with access to the team, seeing products or services yet to launch and having a respected voice are all highly motivational tools you can use.
Here are some more great motivators to consider::
- Access to beta and soft launches before they go live
- The prestige of having a direct line to the community or wider corporate team
- A private VIP area of your community just for Super Users
- Direct input into the community growth and ability to feedback
Super Users should be a key part of your community roadmap. Used effectively, they reduce many of the resource costs a growing community experiences, while becoming the most staunch advocates for your brand.
Want to learn more about the value of super users and creating an advocate program? Download our free eBook here!