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Community Management

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Posted

As far as I'm concerned, there are two golden rules for creating a healthy and successful community.

The first is to be involved in your site. Don't try to take a passive role and hope it takes care of itself--it won't. Choose a subject matter you care about. Spend some time every day to actually talk with your users and contribute to discussions. If there aren't any going on, start some. You'll get to know your users, and your users will get to know you. The community and friendships you build are what actually make for a successful site, and will encourage other people to join as well.

That leads me to point two: Get others involved, too. As you get to know your users, you should be able to tell who are the most knowledgeable, helpful, and capable. Give them a chance to help out--let them moderate a particular forum or section. If that goes well and you need the help, bump them up to global moderator or eventually even administrator. You'll end up with staff you can trust, and they'll be more loyal and appreciate you for it. You can also consider setting up an intermediate rank to recognize good users you're not sure you want moderating.

Under no circumstances should you ever post moderator applications or the likes. The types of people you will encounter may not be the best choices for your community, and it'll discourage the ones who are. Find users who will be good at it, not the ones who want it.

Don't oversaturate your ranks. Keep it simple so that new users can understand what's going on and don't feel left out. If you need help, bring some more staff on--but not too many, or you might have trouble keeping them all in line.


These are just a few thoughts from my experience, and they've worked out pretty well so far. Ultimately, you need to figure out what works best for your site. Your circumstances may require a different approach, and that's okay. But never undervalue your users and the community aspect. If you don't give people a reason to become involved and stay involved, they won't.

Feld0, KSam, Con and 10 others like this

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Posted

Very good points and looks like you have a nice, active community :)

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Posted

Something your post made me think about - it looks odd to an outsider to reach a forum and see 10 members and 800 moderators. This goes in line with what you said about not over-saturating your ranks. Your regular users will feel like unwelcome outsiders if *everyone* on the site seems to have some special title or is part of a moderators group.

SECTalk.com likes this

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Posted

In addition to letting users help out by giving them moderator permissions you can also give them editor permissions and let them promote posts to articles or something. For example, I run a manga site and every week when a new manga chapter comes out I update the front page with the new news item. However, there's this one user who keeps beating me to the post. So I've begun talking with him to try and get to know him better so I can see if giving him editor permissions would be a good idea.

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Posted

Don't mean to be the downer on this but to the OP: easier said than done, I feel. You have a forum for Runescape - a game that's vastly popular across the world and has been around for many years now.

I have a message board for fans of a band - a lesser-known band, rather.

Their FB likes are at 100K. Their twitter followers at 50K, the singer at around 70K and the guitarist at 30K.

My fansite has 1K followers, 300 tumblr followers and 200 FB likes. My forum has been open for nearly a year and it's barely active with around 190 members and 9,100+ posts. I do get involved daily and consistently try my best to get others involved, especially with mentions of downloads, and contests, and the chatroom, but even then people don't say much and there is enough content around, and at least 2 or 3 other staff members also check daily.

It's been really hard and I don't know where to go. the SEO isn't an issue, the social networks aren't an issue, people just aren't posting or caring much.

Also, get this: the singer follows us on twitter AND the guitarist retweeted the link to our forums about a week ago. It still didn't bring much activity.

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Posted

[quote name='saturnus' timestamp='1330716787' post='2236956']
Don't mean to be the downer on this but to the OP: easier said than done, I feel. You have a forum for Runescape - a game that's vastly popular across the world and has been around for many years now.

Sure, you're right. Subject matter absolutely has a huge impact on how popular a site can be. In your case, you're unfortunately somewhat limited in discussion topics except where it comes to new releases the band might be working on, or tours and shows, or similar music that might be out there.

If you'd like more users, consider a couple things to get people interested if you haven't tried them already. You could set up a series of interviews with the band members, or maybe merchandise giveaways exclusive to forum members. If you do a giveaway, maybe give people a 'chance' for each post they make after the announcement--more posts means a better chance to win. Spread the word about these things around on all the social networks you mentioned; if people like the band, they'll check it out, and that's when you either keep them or lose them.

I certainly didn't mean to suggest that starting a site is easy, just a matter of following those guidelines. You're right, it's not. I wish you the best of luck, though.

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Posted

Yes, I've restricted contests & giveaways only to active forum members now. I have a poster to give away, and I mentioned that the more active a forum member is, the more likely they'll get the poster. But even then...nothing. And I make sure to update the social networks daily, too.

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Posted

Do trivia to if you want and tweet the trivia and put on Facebook. Post images of your bands, etc. There is so many ways of advertising and such, just need to think creative.

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Posted

[quote name='Sefket' timestamp='1330717909' post='2236969']
Do trivia to if you want and tweet the trivia and put on Facebook. Post images of your bands, etc. There is so many ways of advertising and such, just need to think creative.

I honestly have tried everything, and like I said, even the band themselves gave us attention - it still didn't increase forum activity.

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Posted

You are always going to be in a difficult niche, but that doesn't mean you can't still grow. Are there other bands your members might be interested? Similar music genres? Groups that do cover songs for the band you cover? Groups your band has opened for? Might be time to start branching out a little bit (just be careful not to overdo it).

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Posted

[quote name='saturnus' timestamp='1330716787' post='2236956']
300 tumblr followers

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Posted

[quote name='Rimi' timestamp='1330722074' post='2236985']
How does tumblr work for advertising sites?

Well I make posts about contests, the site, the forum, as well as general re-blogs of photos/videos that are related to the site / what the site's about! :-)


[quote name='bfarber' timestamp='1330720561' post='2236977']
You are always going to be in a difficult niche, but that doesn't mean you can't still grow. Are there other bands your members might be interested? Similar music genres? Groups that do cover songs for the band you cover? Groups your band has opened for? Might be time to start branching out a little bit (just be careful not to overdo it).

I have a music forum as a sub-forum for "Entertainment" that has 65 topics! And most of those topics weren't made by me, so.

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Posted

Does any one know what sefket is talking about with trivia?

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Posted

[quote name='bfarber' timestamp='1330701251' post='2236858']
Something your post made me think about - it looks odd to an outsider to reach a forum and see 10 members and 800 moderators. This goes in line with what you said about not over-saturating your ranks. Your regular users will feel like unwelcome outsiders if *everyone* on the site seems to have some special title or is part of a moderators group.


Absolutely. Usually sites will have three layers of staff - admins, super mods and mods. In our experience, we eliminated one of those and have only Admins and Moderators (who are essentially super moderators). It definitely helps the efficiency of getting things done around the site, helps users realize and respect the authority of those select individuals as well as the above mentioned benefit.

Zizzla_JA, 510sub, Ventor and 1 other like this

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Posted

[quote name='saturnus' timestamp='1330725704' post='2236997']
Well I make posts about contests, the site, the forum, as well as general re-blogs of photos/videos that are related to the site / what the site's about! :-)


My girlfriend loves Tumblr, so she decided to make one for our website. Just like you mentioned she does all the above ^^
Although it's doesn't get a lot of Tumblr users to the forum, it's better then nothing (:
Not to mention it's pretty easy to find people that have similar interests on Tumblr. Thanks to the Tagging system.

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Posted

[quote name='Zizzla_JA' timestamp='1330790585' post='2237165']
Does any one know what sefket is talking about with trivia?

Questions and Answers about the site. Post on twitter "How many members does <site> have?" - easy questions and then offer in forum prizes.

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Posted

cheers Mikey so its almost like the board game then! only alterd to your site, will have to try this out

Mikey likes this

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[quote name='Zizzla_JA' timestamp='1330812205' post='2237280']
cheers Mikey so its almost like the board game then! only alterd to your site, will have to try this out

Zizzla_JA and Ventor like this

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Posted

As far as I'm concerned, there are two golden rules for creating a healthy and successful community.

The first is to be involved in your site. Don't try to take a passive role and hope it takes care of itself--it won't. Choose a subject matter you care about. Spend some time every day to actually talk with your users and contribute to discussions. If there aren't any going on, start some. You'll get to know your users, and your users will get to know you. The community and friendships you build are what actually make for a successful site, and will encourage other people to join as well.

That leads me to point two: Get others involved, too. As you get to know your users, you should be able to tell who are the most knowledgeable, helpful, and capable. Give them a chance to help out--let them moderate a particular forum or section. If that goes well and you need the help, bump them up to global moderator or eventually even administrator. You'll end up with staff you can trust, and they'll be more loyal and appreciate you for it. You can also consider setting up an intermediate rank to recognize good users you're not sure you want moderating.

Under no circumstances should you ever post moderator applications or the likes. The types of people you will encounter may not be the best choices for your community, and it'll discourage the ones who are. Find users who will be good at it, not the ones who want it.

Don't oversaturate your ranks. Keep it simple so that new users can understand what's going on and don't feel left out. If you need help, bring some more staff on--but not too many, or you might have trouble keeping them all in line.


These are just a few thoughts from my experience, and they've worked out pretty well so far. Ultimately, you need to figure out what works best for your site. Your circumstances may require a different approach, and that's okay. But never undervalue your users and the community aspect. If you don't give people a reason to become involved and stay involved, they won't.

 

Nice points

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Posted

Good points indeed, but there is one thing I wonder about: members who haven't been active for a while on the forum, how do you 'reactivate' them? And how do you seduce members who haven't posted yet, but who are frequently online, into posting?

 

Would be interesting to know how you approached the above :)

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Good points indeed, but there is one thing I wonder about: members who haven't been active for a while on the forum, how do you 'reactivate' them? And how do you seduce members who haven't posted yet, but who are frequently online, into posting?

 

Would be interesting to know how you approached the above :smile:

 

Abandoned members are tough to deal with, because they probably already know everything you have to offer. All I can suggest is contacting them periodically to remind them you actually exist. Maybe put together a brief newsletter every 6 or 12 months about what's happening and big/popular discussions in recent times. Send it out to all of your users (that have opted for admin contact). The ones that care will read it and maybe come back, the ones that have moved on will either delete it or opt out. Either way, the only thing you lose is time.

 

 

For new members, the way I see it, you have a series of big barriers to get users past: Guest to registered, then registered to involved. It's a question of incentives. They need some motivation to register. For people who are registered, get them to post something--anything--anywhere. Once they've done that, the barrier is gone.

 

This is something I've been experimenting with quite recently, as a huge portion of our users (90% right now) are guests around just for extra site functionality (an auction house). The motivation to register is a couple really helpful features you have to log in for. Then to get them to jump into the forum, I added a block that shows some relevant topics.

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