Creating an effective superuser program by identifying the right champions within the community

A Super User program is a valuable initiative that aligns community goals with your business objectives and involves leveraging them to amplify the community's goals and actively contribute to your brand.
Priyanshu Anand
October 9, 2023

Creating an effective superuser program by identifying the right champions within the community

A Super User program is a valuable initiative that aligns community goals with your business objectives and involves leveraging them to amplify the community's goals and actively contribute to your brand.
Priyanshu Anand
July 7, 2023

Before we even get into creating an effective Super User program, the initial school of thought should be around - why do you need this program in the first place? A Super User program (or any other community-led program) works on the idea of facilitating a sustainable flywheel effect where your presence is no longer needed to run a community. Although these structured programs can become the crux of your community-led growth strategy, there has to be a strong foundation of understanding and reasoning behind why you’re doing what you’re doing. Is a Superuser program the right call for you? Would you benefit more from an Advocacy or an Ambassador program? What is the difference between these?

What is a Superuser? A community member that is of exceptional value, who stands out vocally and enthusiastically. A superuser or a power user has an upper hand in terms of expertise and sheer passion as compared to other members of the community and is capable enough to leverage that to help others. Now, a superuser program makes sense if you want to identify and nurture your power users to amplify the existing goals of your community. These superusers would be your brand’s official representatives and will play an instrumental role in accentuating your community and business objectives.

Creating an effective superuser program

A Super User program is a valuable initiative that aligns community goals with your business objectives. It involves leveraging power users to amplify the community's goals and actively contribute to your brand. By offering them a seat at the decision-making table, you can create a scalable knowledge base, tap into crowd-sourced expertise, and deepen the community's subject knowledge.

To make the most of a Super User program, start by defining your objectives. Determine whether you want to enhance support, gather feedback, or foster collaboration. Then, provide channels for communication and collaboration where Super Users can engage and contribute. Recognize their expertise, highlight their achievements, and offer exclusive benefits to show appreciation. By nurturing your Super Users, you foster loyalty and motivate them to actively participate and contribute to the community's growth. Embrace the potential of a Super User program and watch your community thrive with the support of dedicated and passionate users.

Step 1: Identifying superusers for the program

When it comes to implementing a successful Super User program, Discourse serves as an excellent example. Sarah Hawk, one of the CEOs at Discourse, shared insights on how they scaled their Super User program and the crucial first step: identifying super users within the community.

  1. The first approach is to let it happen naturally. Keep an eye out for members who consistently prove their value and emerge as ideal candidates for leading the program. You've interacted with them, so you're familiar with their voice and can assess their alignment with your goals. By acknowledging their contributions and entrusting them with recognition, you establish mutual trust. These power users will go the extra mile for you if you reciprocate the trust and support.
  2. Some other ways to identify superusers or power users are -
  3. Look for people who post a lot in the community. These are the ideal and priority bucket for you.
  4. Keep a tab on folks who regularly attend events (especially if it has something to do with the product).
  5. Is constantly active and organically supportive i.e. answers people’s questions, reacts to posts, takes part in discussions, etc.
  6. The second approach involves creating an onboarding process that allows anyone to become a super user through comprehensive training, education, and objective setting. While this method may yield a higher number of super users, it also requires a heavier administrative workload. You'll need to review applications and ensure that these members continue to meet the defined framework or structure.

To identify super users efficiently, consider using tags. By tagging super users, you can easily filter and identify them without the need for manual selection every time you require their input or involvement. This streamlined approach saves time and effort, allowing you to focus on maximizing the potential of your super user program.

Now, after you’ve identified these superusers, you can segment them using tags to be able to easily communicate later and send relevant resources. After you’ve added that tag, you can use it as a filter to see which members are your superusers.

Using Superuser filter as a Tag

You can also identify your super users through a pre-built report on Threado’s dashboard that surfaces “Potential Champions” in the community. You can identify if these members are capable of becoming super users and enroll them into the program by tagging them (as shown above).

Identify Potential Champions in the Community

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Defining goals for your superuser program

To ensure the success of your Super User program, it's crucial to align its goals with the objectives you have for your community. While crowdsourcing support is an excellent primary goal, it's essential to prioritize providing the best possible support for your power users before expecting them to reciprocate. Moreover, when defining your goals, be mindful not to confuse "results" with "goals." For instance, increasing community engagement is a result that stems from achieving a specific goal, such as driving more subject matter experts to the community.

When it comes to nurturing and empowering super users, it's important to tap into their intrinsic motivations. People are often driven by the need for confidence, status, or connection. Once you understand what motivates your super users, you can leverage those aspects to incentivize and keep them dedicated to the program. For those seeking confidence or skill improvement, offer educational resources, provide opportunities for them to publicly showcase their work, invite them to guest blog, or include them as speakers in community events. If status holds greater value to them, create hierarchical steps or reward them with badges and custom titles that carry a sense of prestige. And for those driven by connection, foster an open platform where they can connect and network with like-minded individuals.

By aligning your program's goals with your community objectives and focusing on intrinsic motivations, you can effectively nurture and empower your super users. Remember, confidence, status, and connection are powerful motivators. By providing tailored incentives and opportunities that cater to these needs, you'll create a thriving ecosystem where super users are eager to contribute, support, and engage. Together, you'll cultivate a dynamic and passionate community that drives growth, knowledge sharing, and meaningful connections.

Creating a workflow to nurture your superusers

Nurturing and empowering your super users means having constant conversations with them, delighting them with new resources, orchestrating timely check-ins, and making sure you’re always delivering whatever they need, whenever they need it.

A good onboarding can always start things off on a positive note. In fact, with Threado, you can use the same “Super user” tag to enroll them into the workflow and onboard them.

Onboard Superusers with a workflow

Once you’ve activated the workflow, any member that gets tagged as a super user will be directly enrolled in it. You can design an elaborate workflow that onboards over a certain period of time and delivers all critical pieces of information for them to get started.

Other than that, outreach can help you reach out to them whenever you want. So, you can schedule weekly check-ins and send them DMs just to see how are they doing or if they’re facing any problems.

You can schedule this to go out every couple of weeks and not have to worry about manually sending it. In fact, you can also use outreach to communicate upcoming events, reminders, competitions, or any routine updates.

Schedule weekly check-ins for your Superusers

Measuring the success of your superuser program

After you’ve started a superuser program, give it some time to get it off the ground. When it comes to community programs, the results become apparent simply through observations. Here are a few ways in which you can measure the impact of your superuser programs -

  • Rise in product adoption and engagement - There will be clear telltale signs that the program is working when you see a spike in product usage and even conversions. Rise in community engagement such as more discussions and more active members. Other than that, the need for you to not be there is a strong enough reason to understand that the program is working.
  • Look at the data - Although the qualitative approach is good, the way to be 100% sure is to look at the data. Get in touch with product, sales, marketing, and even customer success teams to visualize data and see the impact on business.
  • Get a pulse of your superusers - The program isn’t successful unless the superusers seem to be satisfied. Have constant check-ins with your superusers and make sure they’re getting everything they need. They’re the engine that will keep the program afloat so it goes without saying that they’re priority numero uno.

Once you’ve identified the core impact of your superuser program, try and revisit the strategy to see what worked the best and what didn’t.

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