Simon Wright is the 28-year-old founder of the very successful website Whirlpool.net.au.
He explains how to generate interest in a forum and build an online community.
“The important thing for people who are running a forum is to try and avoid answering everyone’s questions.”
“So let’s say you do have a forum about pets and you know everything about every pet, you could be really useful to people. What incentive is there for someone who also happens to know a great deal about dogs, to come in and really be helpful?”
“So often the role in a forum is to make it useful to people by answering some questions, by ensuring there is an incentive for people to come along to provide the answers themselves.
Too often corporate forums that are set up to, for example, provide support for a product and service, get a bunch of staff members from their company to answer every question.”
“And that’s fine, but if you’re not too precious about it, why not leave a few simple obvious questions alone for a couple of hours and see if the community will answer the question for them. They’ll get a better experience as a result.”
“I mean definitely don’t let the community interact on their own. But as a value, if I’m going into the Ford forums let’s say, and I have a question about my car, sure I want to know that there is someone there from Ford that’s going to be listening and provide an answer, but at the same time if I ask “how do I program a radio station into the stereo”, if I get an answer from someone who happens to own that car, that’s great; and maybe they might even have a trick about how to do it quickly.”
Read a full interview with Simon Wright from Whirlpool.net.au