Developing Forum Communities
Greg isn’t sure how many of these concepts can be applied to forums. I suspect it’s most of them, and more.
Here are some things you can do on forums.
- Private Forums. Start forums that only certain members have rights or the password to post this. This lets you have groups. Give them strange names so only the people that are in know what really goes on.
- Create a “What would you tell someone doing…[activity]. Newbies get to some seasoned advice from experts.
- Member of the week profiles. Have a weekly member of the week probile. Chuck Westbrook does something similar via forums. Also consider regular interviews with your top members as a forum category.
- Invite VIPs. Arrange a VIP visit, create a category for her and let members send their questions in.
- Private message your top members. Be sure to direct message your top members often. See how you can get them more involved and what they want. Give them a place to discuss the meta (about the forums).
- Give top experts their own forum. If someone has shown true expertise in their field, give them their own forum, they’ll invite most of their friends and happily dispense out more advice than ever before. And it’s a great way to encourage other members to participate as much as possible.
- Introduce to single forums. If your community is as big as AbsolutespainForum.com, consider letting new members introduce themselves to specific fields/forums that interests them as opposed to the entire group.
- Add a blog. Add a blog that rounds up the best of the forum. Highlight the top posts/discussions and make it as simple as possible for a newbie to jump in and get started.
- Dummies Guide. Have one, make sure the same questions aren’t being asked repeatedly.
- Create an education course from your best discussions. If many people are coming for a specific reason, create a specific online course for them comprising of their posts (e.g. begin reading Bill’s post about Spanish property prices, then move to Jane’s threads about legal advice, now Mark’s posts and discussions on local schools…)
- Evolve. If you’re building up an amazing amount of knowledge, have a Wiki or website to store it all. Also consider letting members connect on Facebook or Ning.
Hope this helps Greg.