SAS is a massive global analytics software and solutions provider with just over 380,000 users engaged in their community. However, within those 380,000 users, only 23 members get the official title of “Super User” each year. That’s right, only 23 people per year!
The invite-only application to become a SAS Super User is based on an individual’s activity within the community. The SAS leadership team tracks user activity over a 180 day period to determine who they should invite to the exclusive club.
Online Community Manager for SAS, Shelley Sessoms, says that through all the activity, “One characteristic that makes Super Users stand out is that if they can’t answer a question themselves, they go out of their way to help someone find an answer.”
Once a person is dubbed a SAS Super User, they are given additional training and access to tools to expand their ability to help others within the community. They are also asked for their opinion on new ideas and the future direction of SAS. Super Users are considered a part of the team…even though they are paying customers of SAS.
So why do the SAS Super Users do it? Well, they do get very cool personalized swag, but that’s not their primary motivation. To understand their main motivation, let’s take a step back.
Every community has a group of users that are involved in almost everything you do. They comment on your posts, they attend your events, they respond to your emails, and they fill out your surveys.
These are your super users.
In our Dance Floor Theory Engagement Pyramid, these are the “5s” of your community.
5s are asking, “How can I help?”
The difference between a 4 and 5 within Dance Floor Theory is that 4s are still only thinking about themselves and their own expanded leadership growth, whereas 5s are thinking about the whole organization and engaging everyone else.
The way to engage your 5s is to expand their leadership responsibilities by voting or nominating them into an official position within the organization.
5s show a commitment to the community. They are ready to lead. It’s now up to you as the organization leader to find a place for them either officially on the executive board or in a new position you create.
Through SAS’s Super User program, they have found a way to engage the 5s within their community. 5s are motivated by giving back to the community, by helping others, by being a community leader. They want to be seen by the community as a contributor. So while the swag is nice and appreciated, the real motivation for 5s is intrinsic and comes from helping increase everyone else’s engagement in the community.
Next time you look at your members, follow this 4 step process to engage your Super Users:
1) Identity your 5s
2) Build a relationship with them
3) Offer them a leadership position so they feel like part of the team
4) Give them additional insider training or tools
Lastly, remember that less than 1% of users are usually highly engaged in any community, so make the Super User Club exclusive and something someone has to earn the right to be a part of. But once they are in, do everything in your power to support them because they are the backbone of your community.