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Turn Your 'Over Eager' Online Community Members into Super Users

Written by Heather McNair on September 22, 2016 at 8:30 AM
Turn your over eager online community members into super users

Do you have one member -- or several -- whose engagement is off the charts?

Every time the average member posts, one of your over eager member posts many more times, far outshining the runner up. It might seem overwhelming, but don’t fret -- you actually hit a goldmine.

Congratulations -- you just found a super user.

Do you have trolls or super-users?

If your over eager member is a bully and creating a toxic community environment, then you need to step in and make sure they don’t ruin the online community experience for everyone. That might mean putting them on moderation and reminding them of the community terms and conditions -- or more, depending on their behavior and your policies.

But if they’re not out of line -- just very excited about the community and its value -- they offer a tremendous opportunity. Whatever you do, do not dampen their enthusiasm. First, that type of enthusiasm is hard to come by, so take the time to nurture it when you find it. And second, if you shut them down, you teach them (plus every other member) that you don’t appreciate enthusiasm, and you’ll waste an opportunity to harness their energy for everyone’s benefit.

Redirect behavior

Now is your chance to redirect or expand this member’s behavior and turn a super user -- who might annoy other members with their zeal -- into an incredibly valuable asset for everyone.

So what do you do with your super-user now that you’ve identified them? It’s important to channel their behavior into productive efforts so their actions don't otherwise overwhelm the community.

Here are some ideas for how to leverage your most excited members so everyone benefits:

1. Give them a job

Super users love community -- otherwise why would they put so much time into commenting and posting? And because they spend so much time in the community, it also means they’re experts whom you can trust with a certain level of responsibility.

Create specific jobs for super users -- not only will it lighten the community manager’s load, but it will make the super users feel important. This, in turn, creates even more loyalty between the community, your organization, and the super users.

What sort of jobs can you pass onto your super users?

  • Recruit new members -- super users and ambassadors are your best recruitment strategy. They’re sold on the concept and can speak with prospects or fellow customers as peers, which makes them more trustworthy. Create a recruitment strategy and bring your super users on board.
  • Welcome new members -- spur engagement right away by asking super users to help welcome new members once they join the community. Members are significantly more likely to post again after their first post -- the trick is getting them to post that first time. Super users can have a big, positive impact on the community if they encourage new members to upload profile pictures and get over the hurdle of posting that first time.

2. Give them a community

What if your super-user is really knowledgable about one topic? Or only wants to be involved with people in their specific geographic area?

Give them their own community, group or program to lead. This benefits both your super user, who will most likely love the opportunity to pioneer a new venture, and fellow members who want to dive deeper into that specific community -- whether it’s a niche topic or geared towards a geographic location. Either give them a topic or ask them to create an action plan. Make sure you have clear guidelines around member-driven communities to ensure they’re run as smoothly as possible.

3. Give them space

Managing a small community or taking on a community job can be intimidating and time consuming, even for the most dedicated super users. What other options do you have for harnessing their excitement and energy?

Regularly blogging is another great outlet for certain super users, especially if they write long replies or seem to have a knack for storytelling or giving advice. Instead of giving your super user responsibility -- maybe there isn’t a job, or maybe that’s not what they want -- create space for them to fill. A regular weekly or monthly blog post is a great way to do that.

By simply giving your super user space, you can harness their power as a micro-influencer. Just because your super user isn’t necessarily a hot-shot in your field or considered a thought leader (yet), doesn’t mean fellow members aren’t listening. Micro-influencers are often very influential, even if they themselves don’t realize it. Give them a platform -- they’re sold on your organization and can speak to fellow members or prospects honestly and as peers, which goes far.

It’s not every day you come across a super user, so make sure you’re prepared when you do find them. If you have several super users -- or want to cultivate more -- design a program or strategy to really create the most value for both them and your community. That way, when you find one, you know exactly how to channel that energy, growing both their loyalty and your community’s engagement.


Topics: Online Community Management, Engagement, Online Community

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