Posts Tagged: "managing communities"

How Reciprocation Is The Biggest Thing In Online Relationships

How Reciprocation Is The Biggest Thing In Online Relationships

All businesses, whether online or off, exist through relationships. These relationships are important because they can determine the success — or failure — of any business or website. People want value. They want treated with respect. And, they want recognition.

Community managers and forum owners should understand this absolutely. You can call it the Art of the Favor, or the Law of Reciprocity, but whatever name you decide to use, it boils down to relationship marketing and common sense.

Let me explain:

How many times have you felt compelled to help someone out, merely because they helped you in the past? For example, if I was to do you a favor, wouldn’t you feel compelled to return the gesture? I would venture a guess and say you would for the simple fact that this is human nature.

If You Own A Forum Or Manage A Community, Remember This

If you want to build a thriving community, and want an active forum: be active.

If your goal is to have a community where everyone shares valuable information: share valuable information.

Your actions will directly impact the type of community you are wanting to build. As a community leader, you have to set the tone of the forum by example. But above all, you have to care. Building a community can definitely be a worthwhile investment, but it will never be a strong community without passion, and unwavering dedication. When someone becomes a member of your forum they are investing their time in you. Make sure you reciprocate by building a community full of value.

3 Tips For Applying the Law of Reciprocity In Your Forum Or Community

1) Go Out Of Your Way To Help Your Members

People want recognition. They want to feel important and that their needs are being met. The best way to use this to your advantage is to go out of your way to help your members. If someone asks a question, offer them a detailed answer. If a member of your community is seeking advice, give them your professional opinion. When you have to make a decision as a moderator, give a clear and transparent reason for your actions.

You want your community members to feel that they are in fact, part of a community. Show them that it’s true.

2) Help Solve Problems

We all know how frustrating being stuck on something can be. Maybe you have even found yourself visiting a forum in the past to search for some obscure information that you had a question about. Forums are usually the place to find answers like that.

When someone becomes a member of your community to ask a question, make sure that the answers come quickly. If your forum has a long list of members, you’ll likely get some help in this department. But if your forum is new, you need to be quick to jump in with a solution. Offer value and insight (and be friendly) right from the beginning and you set the tone for the relationship.

3) Handle Moderation Fairly, But Firmly

A big part of managing a community or forum is moderating the discussions and posts that appear on the site. You have to be vigilante with defending your community from spam and scammers, but you also don’t want to take a heavy hand when informing people of the rules. Without a doubt you need to have developed policies and rules, but people do skim over these. Chances are you’ll have to remind people from time to time. The key is how you handle these situations when they arise.

Always be polite and friendly, but firm in your stance. Set the rules of the community, and make sure they are followed. The reason for this is to maintain the atmosphere of your community. If you allow it to go too many places at once, you’ll likely alienate the people that were drawn to your forum in the first place.

Want to build your own community? Create your own forum and get personalized help setting up your site.

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Online Forum Etiquette: Simple Strategies To Grow Traffic

Online forums are tightly knit communities filled with participants who are either highly knowledgeable or highly interested in a particular topic. They are a place of discussion to share expertise with one and other. Due to the fact that forums are comprised of groups of people who share the same hobbies or interests it is obvious that being apart of these communities can help promote your website. However, do so with caution because there is a wrong way and right way to go about this.

How NOT to promote your website on forums

There is one thing I want to make abundantly clear in this article, when joining a forum, do not join with the intent of promoting. Instead, think of it as a place to network.
Online Forum Etiquette: Simple Strategies To Grow Traffic
People often make the mistake of thinking of forums in the same category as social media or another form of online marketing. This simply is not the case.

While each social media page is owned by one person, forums are more of a shared space. They may be owned by one individual or multiple individuals who moderate them, but they are generally moderated with the intent of the forum being used as a shared space for people to discuss topics of interest. Due to the fact that they are used for that intent, it is unwise to expect users of a forum to appreciate you blatantly promoting yourself, a brand, or your website.

So the number one biggest mistake anyone can possibly make is to create an entire topic about what you are trying to promote, or post on topics with the sole intent of promoting something.

Instead, it is a much wiser approach to simply become a part of the community and engage in meaningful discussions.

Forum etiquette, follow the rules and no one will get hurt

As stated before, forums are not your space, therefore you are not entitled to post whatever you want. The owner of the forum took great care, consideration, and has likely gathered trusted moderators to ensure that their message board encourages insightful discussion.

In order to maintain the desired atmosphere there are rules that must be followed and people to enforce those rules. This is why before posting anything, you should always read the forum’s rules first. Not doing so will damage your reputation with the community you are trying to gain publicity from.

If an idea for a topic or post falls into a grey area or you are just not sure if it would be appropriate it is perfectly acceptable to ask a moderator before posting. They would likely appreciate the fact that you asked before assuming it would be okay and you would avoid breaking any rules.

Strategies to grow traffic

If you are new to forums it is a good idea to read several threads and observe what top posters write. Get a good feel of what makes or inspires a good discussion. Post often, be friendly, and come back to the forum often, perhaps making it a daily routine. This will not only let you get to know others but get them acquainted with you as well.

After you have become well versed with the community and learned the types of topics that become popular then you can try creating some topics yourself.

If the forum allows users to include a link in their signature or bio, definitely do this. This quite honestly the only way to draw attention to you website on a forum. If the forum you are registering for does not allow you to place a link your signature you may not want to waste your time there.

By following these guidelines you should gain a fair amount of traffic on boards that you post to regularly. Just be sure that you are integrating yourself within the community and posting valuable information, engaging in intuitive conversations, being social and friendly, and definitely NOT advertising yourself. Your signature will do that part for you.

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