Building Superuser Programs That Succeed

Communication and Tools

Communication and Tools

Having dedicated channels for communicating with your members and for your members to communicate with each other is important for several reasons.

Regular, inclusive communication between your organization and your members will make them feel valued and will help you to build and nurture your relationship with them. Tools to encourage communication and collaboration between members will help them to form a sense of community, an identity, and build social cohesion and connection. We’ll look at some examples of tools later in this section.

Communication with your members is an important part of scaling. As well as using member feedback to refine your products, you can use it to iterate on your program.

Survey your ambassadors regularly. Hootsuite do it twice per year and ask members:

  • What is the program missing?
  • What changes would you like to see to the program?
  • Do you feel connected to the brand?

As well as harvesting valuable feedback, this is a good way to keep members engaged and feeling connected to the program.


Audit your internal channels for communication. Have tools available to ensure that members are nurtured and provided with the knowledge they need to be effective and valuable.

Here are some tips:

Do

  • Encourage open and honest communication
  • Listen empathetically and act on feedback when possible
  • Build trust and transparency
  • Offer positive review and reinforcement

Don’t

  • Only communicate when you need or want something
  • Ignore their feedback
  • Bombard them with information
  • Make promises you can’t keep




For small superuser or MVP type programs with limited resources, a private area of the existing community platform will suffice.

If you don’t have a huge budget there are plenty of free or low budget tools like Slack, Zoom, Skype, Discourse, Vanilla, Google Docs and Google Hangouts, which could be employed in combination to offer solid functionality. Lync and Yammer are good options for closed Microsoft environments.

In some cases it might be as simple as using a Twitter hashtag for members to connect. Hootsuite Ambassadors use the #hootamb tag.

As your program grows, you may find purpose-built tools attractive. Mobilize, Influitive, Promoto, Advocately and Crowdly are all designed to manage ambassador and advocacy programs. These tools provide robust communication channels that can be customized to suit your members. Do you have ambassadors that are out on the road a lot and need to be kept up to date? In-app messaging or notifications may be more appropriate than a forum thread.

Enterprise community platforms like Lithium and Jive have built in functionality for managing group communication and reporting on superuser behaviour.

In most cases, a combination of tools for communication, documentation, resource management and reporting will be necessary.

(Questions about some of the tools mentioned above? Ask our in-house Feverbee Experts community for advice.)

Example

Hootsuite use a combination of Influitive for managing the program, Vanilla forums for community based discussions, and Amplify, which is a their own advocacy tool.

Another consideration is the ease with which members can access internal staff. This is especially important in programs where an inside line to the product or community team is paramount to success. In ambassadorial programs it is crucial that the voice of your ambassadors is aligned with your brand or product vision so make communication seamless and timely.

This also applies to cases where superusers need to escalate issues internally. Spotify use an internal Slack channel to facilitate the passing of urgent or difficult issues from Rockstars to the internal support team.


Summary

  1. Regular, inclusive communication between your organization and your members will make them feel valued and strengthen your relationship.
  2. The tools that you use to communicate will depend on your audience and the nature and size of your program.
  3. Provide members with an accessible channel to escalate urgent issues to your organization.

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