Building Successful Superuser Programs

Before committing resources to a program you need to figure out how you are going to demonstrate value. What will be the return on investment (ROI)? To guarantee the support of stakeholders and ensure the longevity of the program, it is important to identify and record metrics that support its efficacy.

At this point you have an established program objective. Next you need to define what success looks like. You can’t measure effectiveness without having targets and goals.

The easiest way to do that is to reverse engineer.



Brand awareness # of mentions
# of RTs
# of hashtags
# of external blog posts mentioning your brand
Reduced support cost # of accepted solutions
# of questions answered
Response time
Engagement Time spent online
Topic or post count
Kudos score*
Leads or referrals # of referrals, leads
Affiliate sales

* Some community platforms have a points or ‘kudos’ system where members earn kudos (similar to ‘likes’) for behaviour.

It’s crucial to tie these metrics specifically to program members. There are lots of ways to do this.

Brands with referral programs like Lyft Ambassadors and Scoop Ambassadors can easily track progress using referral codes.

Social reach is another easy one to monitor. Hootsuite ask their ambassadors to use the #Hootamb hashtag. Hootsuite reports that the ambassador brand hashtag has been used over 20k times since the launch of their program in 2013.

The Autodesk Expert Elite program is aimed at reducing support costs, so they record the number of accepted solutions, replies posted, and kudos received by program members.

If your program is about offsite engagement things can get a bit trickier because you may not have access to data. The team behind the Magento Masters program pull engagement data from multiple external platforms and combine it with metrics from their native Lithium dashboard.

Similarly, Vinted look at the number of events run by members, and the sales that result from those events. This analysis is easily done using affiliate sales codes.

Superuser programs aimed at reducing support costs might prove efficacy by comparing the output of the group to the output of paid employees.

Mobile provider TalkTalk tracks post/answer volumes and time spent online by program members and compares those to a paid employee, giving a trending FTE (full time employee) equivalent for time spent.

The Spotify Rockstars program measures contact rates via email and social channels, participation in community threads, superuser response time (and escalation time) and the growth of the program member base (it is a metrics based qualification program).

If the goal is to increase online activity, as in the case of the UX Mastery Gold Members, then you can use standard community growth metrics but you need to ensure that the program members are tagged and easily segmented to separate the data from the rest of the community.

How you measure and report on your findings will depend on the platform you use and the tools that you have at your disposal. If reporting is currently a manual process it may be necessary to invest in more efficient tools as your program scales. Enterprise community platforms like Lithium have powerful reporting functionality out of the box, while there are other task-specific tools for managing ambassadors. We’ll talk about those more in the Tools section.


  1. Reverse engineer your objective to define what a positive ROI looks like.
  2. Record metrics that clearly demonstrate the impact of the program (not the wider community efforts).
  3. Ensure that members are tagged so that segmenting their data is easy.
  4. As your program scales, put aside budget to invest in efficient reporting tools.



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