Inspired by reading about popstar ‘Mika’ offering his fans loyalty points and prizes for interacting on his website, here are our top tips for ensuring that your online community or forum is a success.
Be sure to interact personally with your members. Don’t send them an automated welcome email or standard introduction emails. Building relationships online is all about real, personal interaction. Internet users are now so savvy that they can spot an automated or template email a mile away.
Another golden rule that applies to all areas of Web marketing. Be sure to make the process of using your community or forum as easy as possible. The Internet is changing and users want to be able to interact even faster, hence the arrival of tools such as Twitter. Ensure that whatever tools you use are easy to undertand and use.
That is, not just avoiding inappropriate content, but also irrelevant content. Communities work best when they have a niche, common interest, so keep things on-topic and designate smaller areas for any off-topic threads.
It’s all very well having 1,000 community members, but how many of them are active? Encourage interaction by sending regular forum update emails to inactive members.
As your community grows, delegate duties to valued, active and respective community members. This not only eases your responsibility but ensures that the community will evolve in a direction that is relevant to its members’ objectives and not necessarily your own.
What are your experiences of and thoughts on building online communities?
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