Building Relationships with New Members
Hey everyone, if you've been involved in the hobby of managing forums for a while, you definitely know that it can be a real struggle to convince members to stay active. The initial promotion that convinces them to join the forum is hard enough, and then you need to give them a reason to stay on a long term basis. Well, my goal for this article is to introduce a few ways in which you can achieve this. Does that make the topic title sound a little confusing? It doesn't say anything about that. The overall idea of this article is that by building relationships with the new members of your community, you will also convince them to stick around for the long haul. It's important to note that these aren't anything like quick get rich schemes. These tricks will require a lot of time and dedication, but I can promise you that going the extra mile will be more than rewarding in the long run. The Introduction Topic Stress the importance of creating an introduction topic, as this is where this article begins. When it comes to replying to the introduction topic of new members, don't be afraid to ask them questions. By asking them questions, you are giving them a reason to come back and reply to their introduction topic. The question does not have to be anything unique or out of the ordinary. Simple questions like "How did you find us?" and "How are you?" are more than sufficient. The Interview Board If you do not have an interview board on your forum, I recommend setting up some shape or form of it on your forum. I guess some people may consider it to be a typical aspect of forum layouts that they want to avoid in their goal of being unique, but don't make your community suffer in your desire to be different. When you have your interview board made, insist on having new members create an interview topic. Once they get one made, you go for the gold. Be as persistent as you can with your questions. For one reason, the member is going to feel the need to reply to your questions. It would be rude if the questions were ignored. Another reason is the simple fact that you are getting to know the member on a personal level, which means that the new member is much more likely to commit to your forum on a long term basis. Contact Information As creepy as it may sound, having the contact information of your new members can be useful. I cannot stand that email spam that a lot of forums send out when you haven't logged in lately, but there's nothing wrong with asking a new member what his Skype username is. Every time the new member logs onto Skype, he is going to see your username on his contact list. He'll even see you when you log on. Of course, you should continue building a relationship with this member, to ensure that he is still thinks you're an awesome dude. Be Forgiving Stuff happens, and you may have a few new members who fail to follow a rule or two. This could be because of a miscommunication, or maybe they failed to actually read a particular rules topic. Whatever the reason may be for them breaking the rule, it's important to try and be forgiving for those first time offenders. The new member may have not fully understood what a particular rule meant, and the wrongdoing could have been totally unintentional. So, don't be prepared to burn a new member at the stake when he slips up the first couple times. Ask For Feedback Okay, the typical forum layout has a board dedicated to feedback, but sometimes that isn't enough. There are plenty of members who won't be comfortable posting their views for the entire community to see, especially new members. How do you solve this problem? You should go to the new member and directly ask him for his thoughts. That shows to him that you truly care about your forum, and it shows that you respect his opinion. Age The saying is that age is just a number, and I can think of plenty of situations when I would agree with this saying. As an administrator, you should not be too hardcore when it comes to paying attention to the ages of your members. Don't assume that because this new member is thirteen years old, that he doesn't deserve your respect because of stereotypes you have attached to thirteen year old forum users. While there are plenty of immature children using forums, I also can vouch that there are plenty of young teenagers who are impressive webmasters. The few immature children can give the majority a bad reputation, but you need to try your best to ignore this. Don't allow a few bad seeds to change your mindset on a group of individuals, whether because it's age, race, ethnicity, etc. I could extensively explain why this is morally wrong, but I'll just say that it's bad for your forum, and that's that. Remember, these new members took the time to join your forum because they believe that you are doing something right. Don't convince them otherwise. You want them to keep thinking that you know what you're doing, even when you don't. As you can see, these tricks could potentially be useful to any inexperienced forum owner. If you are already utilizing them, then hats off to you. If you know someone who might need help with any of these aspects, feel free to link them to this article. Lastly, thanks for taking the time to read this article. Our readers are the reason why we are motivated to keep on writing. Thank you!