Create a superuser strategy

Business benefits

Nurture top community members through a strategic process to quantify, identify, and reward your most active and relevant users.

Decide whether you need a formal or informal superuser program.

Superusers are typically drawn from a pool of members who have made a large number of contributions or unique quality contributions.

There are two types of superuser programs you can run:

  • Informal: You get to know, consult with, and support some top members better than others.
  • Formal: For groups that exceed a few hundred members, set up a documented superuser program to motivate people to make their best contributions to the group.

Calculate the number of superusers you need based on the size or level of activity in your community, using number of participants and number of questions per week as inputs.

No. Participants No. Questions per week Superusers needed
1 to 100 0 to 150 2 to 3
100 to 500 150 to 250 3 to 5
500 to 1,000 250 to 500 5 to 10
5,000+ 2,500+ 50+

Create a list of basic tasks your superusers should take on in your community.

Focus on tasks that most closely align with your community goals. Typical superuser tasks include:

  • Answering questions
  • Helping to moderate
  • Creating content
  • Sharing photos
  • Providing feedback.
  • Creating reviews.
  • Publishing testimonials.
  • Testing new products or ideas.

Develop a set of criteria that determine which community members are eligible to become superusers.

For example, criteria to focus on may include:

  • A baseline level of participation in the community.
  • Character traits that focus on helpfulness and passion.
  • Interest in participating in a superuser program.
  • Unique skills and expertise in your community’s topic or niche.

Recruit members to join the program via direct outreach, an application form, or nominations from other members.

Direct outreach requires a personal message from community administrators to each potential superuser meeting the criteria. An application form allows community members to raise their hand, while a nomination form ensures an early level of social acceptance in the superuser selection process.

Reward superusers for their activity using access, status, influence connection, or challenge rewards.

Rewards fall into one of these categories:

  • Status: Members gain a level of prestige in the eyes of other members.
  • Access: Unique access to people or opportunities which other members don’t receive.
  • Influence: The ability to have a unique impact or sense of control over the community.
  • Connection: Members feel connected to a unique, special, group.
  • Challenge: Enable members to participate in unique challenges.
TYPE REWARD
Access Exclusive news and information (product information/roadmaps etc…)
Direct access to you and company staff
Access to training and expertise
Attending events
Status VIP treatment at events
Mentioned and recognised in newsletters and on stage at events
Badges for member profiles and social media
Special SWAG for members.
Influence Giving feedback on key decisions
Getting early access and being able to give feedback on the products
Unique powers to control parts of the community
Connection Sense of exclusivity
Participate in a private group just for superusers
Feeling a sense of belonging with other top members
Challenges Working on exciting projects with similarly minded members
Trying to solve problems no one is able to solve

Build a superuser roadmap to develop the program over time, splitting the roadmap into the basic stages of formation, development, and full program.

  • Formation: Just a few specifically headhunted superusers can experiment with the platform and receive rewards such as access, status, and SWAG.
  • Development: A larger number of superusers who applied to be included play an active role in the community and receive access, status, connection, and SWAG rewards.
  • Full program: The ideal number of superusers have joined after community nominations and are split into multiple tiers, like top contributors and mentors, receiving a wide range of rewards and following fully developed SOPs in managing the community.
FORMATION DEVELOPMENT FULL PROGRAM
No. of superusers 2 - 5 5 - 50 50+
Resources 25% of community leader’s time 50% to 100% of a community leader’s time Several staff responsible for the program
Application Head-hunted Application form
Application window
Nomination form.
Nomination window
Tiers None Two-tiers Rising stars
Top contributors
Mentors
Rewards Access
Status
SWAG
Access
Status
Connection
SWAG
Access
Status
SWAG
Influence
Challenges
Internal work Experimenting and gaining permissions to provide some levels of access Lobbying to better connect superusers with employees Fully established processes for
treating members properly

Create a one page superuser strategy document to share with internal stakeholders and staff members.

Include the:

  • Goal of the superuser program, explained in a single sentence.
  • Behavior in which you want to engage your superusers.
  • Skill and attributes that qualify your ideal superusers.
  • Recruitment method by which you will attract superusers.
  • Number of superusers you are looking to recruit into the program.
  • Rewards your superusers will receive for their participation.
  • Timeline on which you want to develop your program.

@lsmous

Why not Decide whether you need a formal or informal superuser program?

If you notice yourself starting a step with determine, stop and ask if there’s a better, more descriptive verb to use. Determine is very vague and not very useful. In this example, Calculate would work better and be more specific about the actual action that the reader needs to take.

Amount isn’t an appropriate word to use in this sentence. Replace it with number.

This works much better in table form, like in the lesson slide deck. You can create these in Discourse – the easiest way is to set them up in a spreadsheet first, then copy and paste into the Discourse editor.

Pay attention to the user experience that you’re creating when you set up an expandable section. Are you making life easier or harder for the reader? They’ve just clicked to expand the step explanation. Now they see a single sentence and have to click again to get more information? That’s going to annoy a lot of readers straight away.

This doesn’t need to be an expandable section.

Ditto for this step explanation. Click to expand the step explanation, then immediately click to view anything? That’s incredibly annoying.

I think recruit would work better here than allow.

This step explanation is clunky. Instead, just copy over the table from the lesson slide deck. Like this – note the lack of bullet points:

TYPE REWARD
Access Exclusive news and information, like product information and roadmaps.
Direct access to you and company staff.
Access to training and expertise.
Attending events.

Mention the stages in the step text.
Add the table from the lesson slide deck to the explanation.

Edits made and slide content worked into explanations

1 Like

Thanks @lsmous – it’s looking great :partying_face: I made some minor edits to tidy up.