Many successful membership websites also run successful discussion forums. A productive forum can attribute to the social aspects of the membership website and bring with it a strong sense of community.
A lively or busy forum can encourage your members to login to your site to participate or review forum posts. Your members will feel apart of the community and will remain committed to your site, thus they will also have a higher retention rate.
MemberGate Software Includes the Tools
to Help Your Members Feel Part of the Community
Besides the forum itself, there are quite a few options available for your use to keep your members happy and feeling fulfilled. A content member is definitely part of the motivating factors to contribute more to the forum.
Showcase Members who are Important to your Community
Member of the Month (or Week)
Highlight your members who are active in the forum, or ones that have been members for a long time. Other members that can also be part of an article include 'community experts' or those with interesting posts.
A member of the month page can be created using a content page and can be a department series within your member's area. An interview can be completed with specific members to feature information on who they are or where they've been.
Members Can Accumulate Points
Forum points can be accumulated in a few different ways. Having a high point total can be a source of distinction and pride for your members. Others will want to strive to increase their points so that they too can have an esteemed reputation.
Here are ways a member can increase their points:
- Posting in the Forum
- Completing membership terms on the site (via billing cycles)
- Forum Admin members can Assign Points
- Members can Assign Points to Each Other
Request Top Posters Become Moderators
As your forums become busier, there is going to be a need for some administration. And who better to fulfill this role, but someone who already posts a lot? A top poster as a moderator can really help to keep the conversation going as they are going to be even more inclined to participate by asking questions or creating new posts. Plus, they are going to feel pride that you have noticed their participation and their worth to your community.
Display a Report of the Top Posters
Nothing keeps competition alive more than a 'top 10 list'. Your members are going to want to continue to post so they can be recognized for their participation in your forums. More posts really give your members a positive reputation. A member is going to want to post more to earn thatand sometimes that reputation and the respect that comes with it.
A report can be created using the Forum Points link in your Control Panel.
Reward Top Contributors
There are many way to provide a reward for someone on your membership site. You could certainly reward top contributors formally by using a contest or in a sporadic 'just feeling generous' sort of way. Here are some ideas that could be used as rewards:
- Phyiscal Product
- Special Download on Your Site
- Upgraded Membership
- Discount on a Membership and/or in the Shopping Cart
- Extra Time Added to the Member's Renewal Period
- Coaching Time
Give them a Badge and a Rank
Another way to highlight the amount of participation a member has on a site can be highlighted in a member's forum profile area with a graphical badge and 'rank'. The more points a member accumulates can translate into a higher rank and badge. This again will give the member a reputation for being an active (and most likely knowledgable) participant. The badges and ranks can be edited for your site as you deem necessary.
A higher badge and rank is something for which your members will strive and try to achieve. Because as we all know, no one wants to be a 'Rookie'.