If your organization’s online brand presence is successful, you probably have a couple of super users – you know, that handful of avid members who regularly engage with your brand online. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn that super users are incredibly valuable to your brand. These folks can be counted on to “like” many of the organization’s posts, as well as to frequently offer insightful comments about your brand, oftentimes even becoming involved in meaningful and positive discussions with other members about your association.
This very activity can also encourage the participation of less dynamic members who might be too intimidated to “converse with” the brand or the association, but are quite comfortable kicking around ideas and opinions with their peers or a knowledgeable, super-user fellow member.
Nurturing Your Super Users
So how do you nurture these brand dignitaries, or super users? There are numerous approaches, from a simple, heartfelt thank you for their involvement (directly expressed in the online community, for all members to see) to a physical gift such as tickets to a new movie, a bottle of wine or even a personalized card in the mail. Maybe you assign points for each time a user interacts with other users or the brand, with a tangible reward for the “most engaged” member – sort of a sweepstakes for loyalty and activeness in the community.
They will appreciate it; it’s a basic fact of human nature that we all need our contribution to be acknowledged. Your super user is no exception. Taking the time and effort to show your thanks lets them know how much you value their commitment to your association. Giving your super users a tangible reward – some “swag” – can move the relationship you have with them from the virtual to the actual world, and in the process help to cement their loyalty even more to the association and the brand.
A less tangible yet no less successful reward you can give them can be openly recognizing their super-user status by allowing them to take on some of your communication efforts for the brand. They’ve shown their loyalty and knowledge of your organization, so why not expand this member’s behavior by giving them the responsibility to respond to questions or to bring new members into the fold? Maybe to host a seminar within the online brand community or moderate a discussion forum.
Not only will they be appreciative of your trust – they’ll gladly and proudly take on this role, which reaps benefits for them personally and for the association’s progress simultaneously.
Reaping the Brand’s Reward from Super Users
You can also offer super users a heightened experience of the association’s community by providing them with “extras” like unique super-user profiles, badges or icons, or special, just-for-them communications – like newsletters, bulletins or reports strictly for their exclusive group of members. Not only does this reward your brand’s super users, it rewards the association itself with the earned trust and redoubled dedication of the super users. And you’ll likely see other members developing an interest in becoming super users too.
By identifying and reaching out to your most engaged users, you create culture. Cultivating and sustaining this group can beget a believable and desirable culture for your brand, without any major outlay of funds or energy, while engendering loads of goodwill from your loyal super users.
Let’s not forget, there’s no higher value than that of unearned – i.e., unpaid for – allegiance to your brand. You can’t buy that kind of devotion, so start rewarding your super users, and you will ultimately harvest the value of a strong and sustained association culture.