Chapter 7: All about superuser programs

Chapter 7: All about superuser programs

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β€œDon't create a program for the sake of creating a superuser program. Ensure that there is a clear need for it The goal should be defined first, then design a program around it!” - Sarah Hawk, co-CEO at Discourse

What are Super User Programs?

Super User Programs are made up of community experts who are passionate about the community and work to amplify the goal of the community. They are very different from ambassadors as ambassadors apply to a program where as super users are handpicked.



How to pick Super Users?

To pick super users we have to decide which metric we value more, past benefits or future achievements. If you are looking at past benefits, then super users will float up in the community by themselves, they are the ones who are most active and enthusiastic in the community and your community managers will notice quickly. If you are looking to the future then you need to consider what you want to achieve in future and your market growth potential.



Preventing SUP failure?

While creating a Super User Program may seem like a daunting task here are four things to keep in mind while creating a SUP so that your chances of failure decrease.

πŸ‘‰ Do not create a Super User Program for the sake of creating it. You need to create it to fill a need. (Such as scaling your support or increasing market potential)

πŸ‘‰ A Super User Program without a framework will fail, a community will need guidelines and expectations to flourish.

πŸ‘‰ You cannot create a SUP with rigid rules and expect people to follow them, arbitrary rules pave the way to failure. Super Users need to have a say in the rules so that they have a responsibility to uphold them instead of the rules being imposed on them.

πŸ‘‰ You need to monitor the feedback you get from your community and your Super Users. After a general discussion, the event broke into a workshop where three key points were discussed:

Goals for a Super User Program

Community is the backbone of any organization, be it virtual or physical. A vibrant, engaged community can be a powerful catalyst for growth and development, as well as a significant source of support. This is why it is so critical to implement a Super User Program. Such an initiative aims to not only scale the community but also provide a safe and inclusive space for open dialogue and discussion.

Super Users play an instrumental role in filling the void in the community, functioning as connectors, helpers, and leaders. Their active participation significantly boosts community engagement, making the community more lively and interactive. Moreover, their unique position allows them to provide superior support to members who may need assistance, bolstering the overall community experience. Here can be some of your goals:

  • Scaling Community
  • Providing a safe space for community discussion
  • Filling a gap in the community
  • Increase community engagement
  • Provide better support

Super User Identification:

Identifying Super Users is no less important than defining the program's goals. These individuals exhibit a clear inclination to contribute to the community and engage new members actively. Their reputation within the community stands testament to their commitment, knowledge, and adherence to community values. Also, their deep understanding of community dynamics makes them effective liaisons between members and community managers. Not to mention, referrals from within the community can often lead to the discovery of potential Super Users. Usually they exhibit these behaviours:

  • Desire to contribute to the community
  • Keen to engage new members.
  • Reputation in community
  • A clear understanding of the community
  • Community Referrals



Nurturing and Empowering Super Users:

Once identified, Super Users need to be nurtured and empowered to flourish and contribute effectively. They should be provided with the right incentives and opportunities for self-improvement, thus encouraging their active participation. Their input on community events can yield valuable insights for better engagement strategies. Providing them with opportunities to connect with the higher-ups within the community can fuel their motivation and increase their sense of belonging.

Recognition of their hard work, such as highlighting their contributions on social media or validating their efforts through rewards, can serve as a powerful motivator. Offering exclusive previews of unreleased products can also make them feel valued and enhance their loyalty.

  • Identify and provide correct motivation
  • Opportunity to better themselves
  • Motivate them to better the community
  • Allow them to help decide on events
  • Chance to connect with higher-ups in the community
  • Validate their hard work and highlight them on social media
  • Exclusive sneak peeks of unreleased products

‍In essence, a Super User Program is instrumental in fostering an engaged, supportive, and flourishing community, where members feel valued, heard, and motivated to contribute their best.

About the expert

Sarah Hawk is the co-CEO of Discourse. She has an experience of more than two decades of building communities. She manages the team that builds Discourse – the 100% open-source discussion platform built for the next decade of the Internet. She is also a group fitness instructor at Les Mills.


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