Building Successful Superuser Programs

How often do you sit at your computer wondering why no one is entering your latest competition or why the recent forum restructure seems to have killed engagement? Imagine having a team of user-testers at your disposal.

A key benefit of a superuser program when correctly managed is access to feedback or user research. That feedback may relate to the health of (or sentiment in) your community. It might uncover friction in your digital processes that need attention.

Consider the same for products. You have a hyper-engaged group of your primary audience ready and willing to test new products and give you valuable feedback. Compare this with how costly it is to run complex surveys or to assemble live focus groups.

Google is a great example of an organization that puts this into practice. Their Top Contributor program incentivizes members with beta testing opportunities for new products. Joy Hawkins has been a member since 2012 and cites advance access to beta products as one of her primary motivators.

The added (and often overlooked) benefit of using beta testers is the ability to deliver on customers’ needs before they ask. This can nurture customer loyalty and support strong product retention.

Great beta testers can be found through feature request and product feedback channels. Smart feature requests demonstrate an understanding of your product and a desire to use it more efficiently or effectively. Ensure that you manage the expectations of testers. Don’t make unrealistic commitments around what feedback will be acted upon or which changes will be implemented.

Tom Brier recommends taking this one step further by evaluating more general feedback to find thoughtful commentary. Superusers are usually interested in the community as a whole and feel invested in its longevity. They can be a valuable source of information about the health of the community and see things from an inside perspective.

Often superusers understand the nuances of the community in a way staff cannot.


  1. Superusers can be mobilized as user testers to harvest information about your site, product, or the health of your community.
  2. Many programs cite beta access to new products as an incentive to prospective members for joining, but the benefits to the organisation are numerous.



 LinkedIn LinkedIn

 Google Plus Google+