Super user-spotting

  • 18 December 2017
  • 2 replies
Super user-spotting
Userlevel 4
Super users are a great source of value for your community. They are quick to respond to questions, are great advocates for your brand and they keep your community going. Unfortunately, not every super user lasts forever, and other users come and go. But how do you find and engage new users to become super users? What if you could spot them early after they have registered?

A bit of background information
The activation funnel marks the stages through which a community member evolves in his journey on your community from a new user to an active, engaged or even a super user. Read more about these stages and what define them in this article. So we decided to investigate the activation of users for a number of different communities. In particular, we have focused on the speed with which members evolve through this activation funnel:

  • Do we see differences between communities?
  • Do we see differences between members?
  • What can you do for you community with these insights?

Differences in community age and size
Age and size of a community often correlate; the longer the community exists, the more members it attracts and the more activity is generated on the platform. We thus thought to find differences between the smaller and younger communities, compared to the older and larger communities. This turned out to be correct. We see that for the smaller and younger communities, activation happens faster than in older and larger communities. This might seem contrasting, since larger communities are often more active. But actually, if you think about, it makes perfect sense: The smaller the community, the smaller the chances that the question someone came to find an answer to already exists on the community. Also, larger communities might already have super users who are actively answering all open questions, which makes it harder to "climb up the ladder". Thus, newly attracted users are more inclined to post a question and contribute more, soon after registration.

Spot your super user
If we take a look at the activation funnel over all the communities, significant differences can be observed between the users that eventually go on to become regular, engaged or super users. This is where it becomes interesting, because this means you can catch your potential super users early on as they move through the activation funnel! We see the most observable difference after users have contributed 5 posts and/or comments. Those who go on to become regular users take on average 200 days to reach this milestone, whereas engaged users take 150 and super users only take 65. This means, if you find a new user that has been registered on your community for a little over 2 months that has already contributed 5 or more posts or comments, this user might likely become a super user. And how better to ensure this, than to start targeting these people early on!

What steps do I follow?
What you can do to identify your super users, is export a user overview from your control environment. Next, you select a timeframe from registration to now of about 3 months. Next, you create new column where you add up total_topics, total_comments and optionally total_likes. Does this add up to more than 5? Then chances are you might have identified yourself a new super user!

Quantity vs. Quality
Of course, not all users that post that often in a short amount of time are super users. Every now and then there will be users who respond extremely often, but their content lack any value for the discussion. They could very well be unhappy customers, and thus the exact opposite of a super user. Naturally, you will always check the quality of their posts to get a better idea of what they are contributing to your community. Maybe you can even think about a standardized process to evaluate the quality of a potential candidate? It would be interesting to learn if there are other indicators for potential super users (e.g. the post quality).

Reeling in your new super user
Now that you have identified your new super user, how do you activate them and let them reach their potential? There are several tactics that come into play here.
  • Think for instance about rewarding their fast activation by for instance letting them reach a rank or receive a badge acknowledging their fast growth. By stimulating their initiatives in this way, you give them some personal attention and recognition, which in turn will motivate them to contribute more.
  • Are you developing a new product or service? Do you wish to gather opinions from the most trusted customers on your community? Think about including these high potentials in this communication. You are sure to flatter them when asking for their opinion, and this personal contact will also be a motivation for them to stay active on your community.
  • If a user has proven to be helpful or knowledgeable, then you should send them a private message in which you thank him for his (general or specific) contribution. Tell him that he can always contact you in case of questions or concerns. Your interest in him usually will be rewarded!

Now that you have the tools to identify new super users, we encourage you to start experimenting with this! Of course, numbers provided are averages aggregated over several communities differing in strategy, purpose and statistics, so it will be a matter of learning what works within your community and what doesn't. Maybe you also see specific personal qualities in your current super users that you are able to identify in new members? You can of course also take such elements into account when developing your personal strategy.

Do you have any questions or your own vision of how to identify super users? Please share it with us by commenting!

2 replies

Userlevel 7
Badge +4
To add to the above:
Make a distinct differentiation between your top users and your superusers. Someone that posts a lot, and even with good quality posts are not necessarily superuser material.
Trust your gut feeling about who you invite to a potential superuser program. One rotten apple can ruin it for the rest.

Other factors to keep in mind when starting out with superusers in a private area:
  • You want to get to know them well - treat them as friends, not employees
  • You want more than 2 to start with, and they need to get along with each other
Userlevel 7
Badge +4
It may not quite be the right term, but we have a short list of top users that aren't superusers called 'thought leaders'.