Understanding Power User Programs

When you hear about a “power user program” what comes to mind first, community or product?

There’s often confusion about exactly how a power user program looks, and who’s responsible for it.  Is it the product team’s responsibility?  Is it the community team?

The answer is it’s both…to some extent.

There are two big components.  The program, and the community built around the program.  They’re integrated, but unique.

The Program

This will fall mostly under product.  The goal is to build incentives into the product that rewards users for being more active.  Simply put, it’s gamification.

The program will typically have requirements and rewards.  The requirements will determine what a user must accomplish in order to reach “power user” status.  The rewards are what the user will earn by reaching this status.

The Community

Once you have power users, you can start to build a power user community.  The goal is to connect those who have reached power user status with each other.

This does a few things.  It enhances those users emotional engagement with your product even more.  It also serves as a reward in itself; “By becoming a power user, you’ll gain access to the exclusive power user forum” is something that’s been done before.

A forum is a great online platform to allow power users to connect with each other.  You may also want to host exclusive events and create special swag for them.  You want them to feel special and you want other users to envy the power user status.

Some companies will even create a power user newsletter, specifically for their most active users.


Some great examples of power user programs and communities:

The Yelp Elite

Ebay Power Sellers

Klout Squad

Airbnb Super Hosts

StackExchange Moderators 


What are some amazing power user programs that you’ve seen?  Comment here, or join the discussion.


Photo cred: Gwenaël Piaser

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About the author

David Spinks, CMXSummit and Lifelong student, community builder and writer.



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