It's the Little Things That Make the Difference
From my perspective, being a part of forums for over seven years, I've observed that a very select group of owners/admins gave priority in undertaking tasks that are considered "behind the scenes." This is understandable and is expected, but, I couldn't help but question, could they go the extra mile to help their forum? Think about it, members look up to those who actually engage with members within the community. Generally through making posts and sharing their thoughts on various matters and subjects. This helps to create a bond between members and the staff, and proves that they have a real personality. Your members will want someone to turn to, and what person better to turn to than you? Even if it's only for a quick chat or a challenge on a game (like online multiplayer titles such as Super Smash Bros 4). You could very easily make time for those who keep your community running and active, as well new members are more likely to stick around if they have a owner who at least makes an effort to take part in forum events and contribute to the very forum they have created, which in turn, will appeal to those who just started out, and to those who are already long standing and loyal members. It's nice to know the owner dedicates their time in making sure the community is running smoothly at all times, but at the same time can become a friendly figure who is always there for you to help put a smile on your face when you're feeling down. So, if you have a forum of your own, and don't already do the above, keep these points in mind;
- Spare at least an hour a day to post around the forum, make sure you don't do it all at once! Make sure your posts of decent quality (as you would expect from other members) and you may even be lucky enough to get a reply in return! This creates a connection between yourself and fellow members. Contributing to a number of threads shows that your member's effort in creating new content is valued. If you do the opposite, and do not respond to your member's threads and replies, this could come across as rude to your members! Try not to make your members upset, and endeavour to reply to as many posts as you can, in turn this produces more content which will attract potential members to join your community.
- Members like it when there is plenty to get involved in within the community, when they can contribute by posting and conversing with others may get a little repetitive after a while. Have you ever thought about organizing events such as a contest or tournament? This can further develop bonds between members and possibly create new friendships. Throwing in a theme for a contest to be based on is a good starting point. It could be a subject that is popular amongst members to persuade them to join in. Come up with some special and unique rules to shape up how you want your content to be like. What would the winner be awarded with? Perhaps some cash (if you're willing to part with some). If your forum is based primarily on anime or manga series you could consider anime DVDs or plush toys as prizes. Perhaps a giveaway may be in your favor. You could set a question such as "What's your favorite anime series? Explain why this anime series is your favorite!" and members would share their opinions. The best answer would be deemed the winner of the contest and claim the prize!