Imagine if someone said that you could build an army of customer advocates that were not only wizards with your product, but were also laser-focused on helping other users...
Well, you can—with an online community. Super users are an invaluable part of any company and they contribute right to the core of how you build your product to meet the needs of your users.
Super users deliver huge value for your online community and your customer base as a whole. They are quick to respond to user questions, tend to be great advocates for your brand and they keep your community going with the sheer amount of content that they produce. If you’re running a customer community and are yet to introduce a super user program, here are some of our top tips for doing so effectively.
1. How to identify and build a team of super users
What actually makes somebody a potential super user? It can be easy to look simply at the amount of activity they have on your community, but don’t forget to critically review the quality of that interaction. Content for content’s sake may help the dynamics of your community, but true super users come with a helpful attitude that actually adds value and sometimes challenges the status quo. Here’s what you should be looking for:
- Community members who contribute regular, impactful activity to the community (check your analytics to see activity levels, likes and interactions)
- Members who offer constructive criticism and come with new ideas (look for users who propose alternative solutions)
Pro tip: When reviewing potential super users, be sure to differentiate helpfulness and kindness from advocacy and brand evangelists.
Get the ball rolling
Once you’ve spotted a potential super user, acknowledge them on the community:
- Pick a specific post, and start your praise from there
- Make them feel important—appreciate their knowledge (@mentions are great for this)
- Ask for their advice
To determine whether a member could be a good superuser ‘fit’ for your brand, do the following:
- Double check their contact history with your support or service team—have they always been polite and pleasant to deal with?
- Take a quick look at their social media accounts—what’s the overall vibe? Do they exude an aura of positivity or are they a bit of a negative nancy?
- Do a “gut check”—consider whether you’d be keen to hang out with this person one-on-one for a while. Yes? You’re likely good to go!
How to kick things off with your new super users
- Consider making some formal announcements within the community to introduce new super users, clarify their role, manage expectations, and generate buzz.
- Create an exclusive, closed area within the community for super users only, so they can discuss challenges and compare notes
- If you have enough, set up beta testing groups exclusively for your super users to review and give feedback on new releases, get their initial buy-in, and prepare them to act as advocates across the community when updates go to general release.
Pro tip: Concerned about confidentiality and sharing sensitive data with super users? Have all new super users sign an NDA before they join the program.
2. Ideas for keeping super users excited to be part of the program
Gifts, bribes and more gifts. Haha, we’re just kidding, of course, but company merchandise can go a long way to winning the hearts of your brand advocates! You likely already have branded hoodies, mugs, stickers or t-shirts, so share the love—these fans of your brand will be stoked!
But think about ways to go deeper than this. Why not run a webinar, and have engaged super users who have content to share help you present?
Deezer did a fantastic job of this by including super users in a global Zoom meeting, where they represented the entire community member base and curated questions from the community to take to Deezer’s internal teams such as Product, Marketing and Development. They then shared a “debrief” on the community, which members loved—and the internal stakeholders at Deezer found the initiative extremely valuable too; receiving insights they would have struggled to get otherwise.
Tre Sweden is another fantastic example of showing super users big love, with their Superhero initiative:
Super users are the real heroes here—at the moment they answer half of the questions asked on our community, so it's incredibly important to pay attention to these individuals and create a sense of belonging for them with the company.
Community Manager and Digital Service Specialist, Tre Sweden
They run a number of brilliant initiatives to engage, support and show appreciation for their super users. Maybe this gives you some inspiration:
Cloud gaming platform Shadow are also using their new community on the inSided platform to show love to their army of brand advocates—aptly named #TeamShadow—take a listen to The inSide Scoop podcast to hear more about how they’re engaging their super users this way.
Pro tip: While it’s true that some companies have such developed programs they almost rely on their super users to take pressure off their support team, it’s perfectly OK to start small and keep it simple!
Some closing advice for your new super user program
Transparency is the name of the game to keeping super users happy—they are switched on to what your brand and your company is doing, so always be honest and genuine to keep them on side.
Recognize that, despite their enthusiasm, this is not their "job". Don't demand specific activity from your super users; instead, treat them as trusted advisors and always offer options and suggestions.
Remember that your community’s “top” users are not always by default “super” users! Simply being helpful or nice does not always constitute the best fit for a super user program.
Finally, be sure to build flexibility into your program, and recognize that as individuals, each will have different ways of engaging and also responding to your initiatives. Keep things fresh and keep everyone happy!
Now go ahead and reap the rewards of those passionate brand adovcates (and don't forget to send that free merch 😉!).
By Danielle Juson
Customer success community expert and writer at inSided. Passionate about sharing the value and impact of community, and enabling companies to get it right. Connect on Linkedin