How to keep members coming back & posting at new forum

Discussion in 'Managing Your Online Community' started by DarkWarriorXII, May 30, 2009.

  1. DarkWarriorXII

    DarkWarriorXII Addict

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    This is one I can't figure out, but have gotten lucky with a few times. You start a forum, begin posting, and try to spread the word about it. You get some members, and most fall into two categories:

    - They join and never post.
    - They post but either stop posting or stop visiting all together shortly after (days).

    Of course, you want to post as much as you can to encourage the members to post. But if no one else is posting, then you're pretty much talking to yourself after a couple days. ;)

    What can you do to get members to begin posting and continue posting on a new forum?
     
  2. Chris

    Chris Regular Member

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    I've always found that by showing these members your dedication towards the subject matter being discussed, the more likely they'll be willing to continuously post - ultimately becoming active "founding" members. This can be done in a variety of ways:

    • A weekly influx of up-to-date content regarding the subject (whether it be by way of discussion threads or blog entries).
    • A design that is not only pleasing to the eye, but one that is easy to navigate and browse.
    • Activeness on your part - show them that you're in this for the long-haul.
     
  3. Mark.B

    Mark.B Guest

    One of the problems for a "generic" discussion board like mine, with no core subject, is how to keep people interested in discussions which change week to week.

    One minute everyone wants serious discussions about politics, the next it's all word games!

    Something I've been trying recently is "Today's Big Question"....this is a bit of work but uses a nifty mod that adds "has not voted in poll" to the notices conditions.

    I then post a poll thread, and update a notice with the thread link and the reply link and details of the question. the notice is dismissable but also disappears once you've voted in that poll.

    It certainly gets the poll thread going very well, I think it's a good idea.
     
  4. Richard

    Richard Novice

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    Most effective method is to concentrate on a niche. Add a troubleshooting forum where members can post problems and get help. Usually it helps to add content regularly in the form of blog posts or articles...but I've been really lucky and haven't had to do much on my part to get my forum going.
     
  5. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    Dave, Chris was spot-on in all that he said. When you demonstrate dedication, people catch on and it encourages them to register. Even if the site is empty but you're going full-speed, they will realize that it's new and will be interested in joining you.

    When I first revived this forum, I created as many threads as possible - probably 5-10 of them every day for a good few days. Some of the threads were silly, some were nice conversational threads. I noticed one thing that was totally consistent: no matter what threads I created, every single one of them was replied to by most of the members. I realized that they'd respond to whatever I put in front of them - yet nobody would create their own threads.

    So there's a trick to it - invoke their participation and they will come. Keep posting new and fresh content.

    That's a neat idea! We have contests and therefore polls, all the time. Is this the mod you're using: Poll Vote Notices - Page 2 - vBulletin.org Forum ?
     
  6. Wayne Luke

    Wayne Luke Regular Member

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    Couldn't you follow trending topics on something like Twitter Search and try to captivate users that way? If you're content is tweeted with the trending hashtag, then you can use it for possibly getting new users as well.

    I think Google, has a hot topics search as well. CNN shows the hottest topics across the top of their site so it could be another source. Once you start, people will follow and others will start posting trending topics on your site to keep it more active.
     
  7. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    Yes, Google does have a tool for observing and finding trending topics: Google Trends
     
  8. Tyler

    Tyler The Badministrator

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    In addition to what everyone else has already said, an initial activity contest might be of interest. Offer something nice for members that post the most and recruit the most new members. This will eventually start branching out and by the time the contest is over you should almost undoubtably have a larger memberbase to work with, provided the prizes were something worth playing for. :p
     
  9. DarkWarriorXII

    DarkWarriorXII Addict

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    What type of prizes would you recommend? Should they be "real" prizes or "forum" prizes? (Real prizes: a prize relevant to the forum's topic; forum prizes: Karma/reputation points, special title, etc.)

    Also, I'd be interested in knowing how you guys here are keeping tracks of the on-topic posts, threads, referrals, etc. Do you manually go through and count all the relevant posts to count the points, or is there a hack/mod? If you don't want to discuss the specifics in public, you can send me a PM too. I'd like to try something similar, if you don't mind.
     
  10. Tyler

    Tyler The Badministrator

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    If you really want to use the contest to your advantage, I would say "real" prizes. Something with a lot of value will most likely provide every reason for someone to post on your forum. A new iPod, for example, is surely worth bringing a few new members to your forum and making a couple of hundred posts. The "forum" prizes are good, too, but they don't really give much of a reason to post for. Now, if you were already well developed and had an active memberbase, the forum prize contest would be a great way to bring the community closer and make some of your activer (new word) members stand out (with those different perks).

    There is no easy way to keep track of the numbers when you have a contest like this, though. You can try your luck with a slightly modified version of vBCredits, but from what I know it will only keep track of new posts and threads for you. For everything else, you're on your own. I think there should be a mod specifically for contests like these as they are fairly typical.
     
  11. Nick

    Nick Regular Member

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    I think what type of prizes you reward depends on the community. Overall, though, real prizes tend to do better. If your forum is a very targeted niche and there aren't many products that can be targeted to your specific niche, then something general like a gift basket with a variety of things would be neat. Of course it might be expensive to send such a gift, but I've seen it done on other forums.

    Here, we are using vBCredits (which is free from vBulletin.org Forum - The Official vBulletin Resource!) to count the threads and posts. It is a fully-featured points system, but we've watered it down and are using it for the sole purpose of counting points. However, we are manually counting referrals and paid subscriber points. vBCredits has built-in functionality to count referrals, too, but I was having problems with configuring that part so disabled it and decided to go the manual route.

    Edit: looks like Savage beat me to it. :p
     
  12. DarkWarriorXII

    DarkWarriorXII Addict

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    Alright thanks for the advice. I'll look into that credits system. :)
     
  13. Soliloquy

    Soliloquy Regular Member

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    On Arny's site, at least, his members start leaving profile messages and friending new members. If they have email notifications on, that would probably draw them back and engage them.
     
  14. Will.Spencer

    Will.Spencer Newcomer

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    Invite (beg) some friends to start "seed" conversations with you.

    Invent friends (duplicate accounts) if necessary. Cheating works. :)
     
  15. Will.Spencer

    Will.Spencer Newcomer

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    Newsletter emails or reminder emails can work well to bring members back to active status.

    I'm back at AdminAddict because of a reminder email I just received. I'm a new member and I forgot the name of the forum -- I've been trying to remember it for a couple of weeks! :o
     
  16. Tyler

    Tyler The Badministrator

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    Lol, I'm glad you found it again. :)
     
  17. kev

    kev Regular Member

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    On new forums, have members set to automatic thread subscription with instant notification. That way the person will receive an email notification when a reply is posted.

    A newsletter that is sent out once a month.

    A script that sends emails to inactive members that have not visited in 30+ days.
     
  18. Soliloquy

    Soliloquy Regular Member

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    There's a testament to the power of remainder emails!
     
  19. tryfuhl

    tryfuhl Champion

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    content is king
     
  20. tryfuhl

    tryfuhl Champion

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    I hate instant-subscribing for what it's worth.

    I post in 30 threads and bam.. 30 e-mails? OUT!
     

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