How a super member program can elevate your community

Whether you’re creating a brand new community or you already have an established following, the power of super member’s should not be underestimated.

Consider your super members as the secret weapon for your community’s long-term growth and success.

What is a super member?

What is a super member you ask? Well, let’s put it this way. Every community has certain members who are more active, vocal, and motivated than the rest. They go above and beyond to provide advice, drive discussions and share their passion for a specific topic. They’re fully engaged in everything your community has to offer and they’re the reason that you get out of bed every day to do what you do. These are the people you’d consider as your ‘super members’.

If you can nurture relationships with your super members in the right way, they’ll be more motivated to answer questions, help onboard new members, create fresh content and provide you with feedback and perspective that can support your community’s growth.

Your super members also act as brand ambassadors who provide trusted social proof. Their voice is also way more credible than a marketing tagline when it comes to shouting about the service, product, or experience you provide.

Step-by-step guide on creating a winning super member program

We’ve covered what a super member is and how they can benefit your community’s success but maybe you’re wondering how you can reward their loyalty whilst simultaneously making the most of their knowledge, energy, and skills. Say hello to ‘super member programs’.

A super member program is a win-win for you and your super members. Not only does it help you to encourage behaviours that help your community to soar, it also motivates your members to want to become or remain super members.

Let’s take an example of an Italian foodie community called Ciao Bella. Ciao Bella has 3000 members who share a love of Italian food and who get access to unique recipes, cooking classes, and tips on how to become a pro-Italian chef.

Of Ciao Bella’s 3000 members, 100 of them are super members who regularly comment on other members’ posts, contribute photos or videos of their latest food creations, and set up polls on the best combinations of toppings or ingredients for Pasta and Pizza.

As a result of their super members, Ciao Bella has been able to maintain a constant stream of activity in their community which motivates its members to keep coming back, commenting on posts, and feeling encouraged to share their own photos and videos.

That’s the power of having a successful super member program. If you’re eager to get started, here are the 7 essential steps to create your own.

1. Define your program

Get clear on the goal and mission of your program. Is your community super member program to encourage your top contributors to regularly engage in your community? Model successful behaviours? Provide leadership? Inspire others to become super members? Or all of the above?

The goal of Ciao Bella’s community is to encourage members to regularly engage with other members to keep the conversation flowing and to contribute fresh content which inspires people to want to continue cooking.

Having a defined mission will help you to create a clear set of goals that your members will want to be a part of.

2. Set clear expectations and behaviours from the get-go

Creating guidelines that your super members can work towards is not only essential for your program to be a success, but it also acts as a way for you to ensure that you safeguard your community. Your super members are representing your community and brand, so it’s really important that you provide them with a clear set of expectations from the outset.

Ciao Bella has a strict policy in their community. They ensure that people aren’t sending members spammy direct messages, that they are respectful to other members, that they contribute content to the community at least twice a week, and maintain a friendly and polite attitude towards all its members.

How should super members conduct themselves? What are your community guidelines? What is the tone that you want them to help set? How frequently should they be contributing to your community? The clearer you are, the easier it will be for them to stay on track and remain a part of your program.

3. The benefits of being a super member

Other than the above rewards, it’s a great idea to have a list of additional win-win opportunities and benefits for super members.

This can look like giving them more exposure via featured blog posts, podcast interviews, speaking opportunities, spotlights on your website, or being beta testers on upcoming programs or courses. Having a list of these to hand isn’t only beneficial to your super members, but it’ll also be beneficial to you when you’re needing marketing assets.

Ciao Bella super members’ content is regularly featured on their social media channels, website, and newsletters, and they also get ingredients and merchandise posted to them on a regular basis to thank them for their contributions.

4. Selection criteria

Alright, so you’ve completed all of the steps above, great, but let’s not forget one of the key things: your selection criteria. Your super member program should have an air of exclusivity to it and defining your selection criteria will help you to achieve that.

Remember, your super members are representing you and your brand. This isn’t a numbers game, it’s about quality over quantity.

Making a list of the attributes you’d like your super members to possess will get you off on the right foot. Are they a people person? Are they go-getters? Are they empathetic? Do they bring positive energy to your community? Are they inspirational?

Ciao Bella members have a love for Italian cuisine and culture, are warm, friendly, and creative with their content creation skills.

Having a clear reference will allow you to easily identify who would be a perfect fit for your super member program and allow you to leverage your community platform to create monthly rankings so that you can ensure that you’re enlisting the right folk to co-run your community.

Ciao Bella leverages their monthly ranking system to promote someone to super member status each month which helps them to have a regular flow of super members over a given period of time.

5. How to empower your super members

It’s absolutely key to reward your super members for their participation, not only does this keep them motivated, it also allows you to maintain their loyalty. There are different ways you can do this.

You could create a ranking system, e.g. super member level 1, super member level 2, that they work their way up to get different rewards. Rewards can be anything from something monetary to access to special training, mentorship, private groups. You could also gift them with swag, special certificates, or invites to VIP events, What you reward them with is entirely dependent on what you feel would be of value to them.

Ciao Bella rewards its members with badges that reflect their member level, their favourite ingredients, exclusive in-person cooking classes, and for its top members, there is even an opportunity to win a trip to Italy.

You can also give super members special badges that differentiate their status. Custom badges are just one of the great features of a Disciple-powered community platform. Not only do badges make people feel special, they also allow other members to easily identify their role in your community.

6. Create a review and renewal process

It’s important to set some ground rules for your review and renewal process. How often will you review your super members and consider recruiting new super members? What will you ‘rate’ them on? How long does someone have a super member status? Is it quarterly or annually? Not only will this give you a clear map to work towards, but it will also provide your super members with some clarity of their status too.

As a side note, it would also be a good idea to have some clear terms in place for the rare event that you may need to terminate a super member’s status as a result of malpractice. The process you choose for this is entirely up to you.

Ciao Bella reviews the status of its super members every 3 months and asks them to let their community host know if they’re planning to take a vacation. If the host notices that their super member’s activity or commitment is dwindling they will contact them to encourage them to maintain their status and let them know if they can’t, that their super member status will be revoked.

7. Keep things confidential

As well as having ground rules in place for your review and renewal process, it’s also a good idea to put some clauses or terms about confidentiality. If you’re revealing information to your super members prior to releasing it to everyone else it’s important that you ensure your super members have signed a non-disclosure agreement.

Doing this will ensure that your community and content are safeguarded.

Final words

The power of having super members is undeniable and if done correctly, it can supercharge the growth of your community. If you’d like more inspiration on this topic, be sure to check out the below Expert Livestreams in our very own community, The Collective.

How to find and motivate your super members -Nancy kinder
Building and scaling ambassador programs – Erica moss
Creating a super member program template

Pooja Kanabar in
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