You just set up your brand new forum on vBulletin and you’re ready to take the online community by storm. So you have the forum ready to go, but where’s the traffic and members? A successful online community doesn’t happen overnight.
Your company can be on the online community map in no time IF you have powerful tools to build successful forums.

    Build FAST! – No one wants to sign up for a forum that only has four members. You need to build your community FAST. Don’t launch marketing campaigns one-by-one – blast them out ALL at once and watch your membership GROW!
    Choose ONE NICHE – Hone into a specific niche. Don’t choose broad niches such as “real estate agents.” You need a way for people to identify with your community. “Los Angeles real estate agents who sell to Hollywood celebrities” will reach more members compared to just “real estate agents.” By focusing on a specific niche, it’ll be easier to build your forum over time.
    Make it EASY and CREATIVE for members to spread the word! – Offer freebies and giveaways for people who sign up the most members. This will get people’s attention fast and grow your community quickly. Be creative – don’t use the same email marketing gimmick everyone else uses. When people send invitations to five friends to sign up for your community, you won’t get far with “Please sign up to XYZ Forum.” Think outside the box: “John Doe answered the question – what’s so great about Sally Smith? Check out his answer today!
    Keep it SIMPLE – Don’t clutter your site with unnecessary words and jargon. The fastest way to lose members (or potential members) is to have a site that’s not easy to navigate.
    Add FACEBOOK – Facebook is the fastest-growing and hottest social networking site online. You are missing the social media boat if you ignore incorporating Facebook into your community. There are over 100 million users on Facebook – potential members for your site! Add viral applications that imports Facebook contacts so people spread the word quickly about your site.
    people Attract POPULAR PEOPLE FIRST – Attract the leaders to your forum and the rest will follow! So how do you find those leaders? Think back to your high school days. The football players and cheerleaders were popular and drew the crowds. Use that type of strategy when you attract leaders to your forum. Invite college alumni star football players (maybe they went pro?) – for X amount of sign ups, offer a big party with free food featuring alumni football players. FREE food offers will spread like wildfire and people will follow “star” ringleaders!
    MODERATE your community – If your forum is jam-packed with spam, junk mail, and product promotions you will TURN OFF potential members. Take an active moderation role – stay on top of user requests, clean up abuses and keep forum topics on track.
    SHOW ME THE MONEY! – If your forum isn’t making money, then you are merely dabbing with a “hobby”. If you are serious about making a profit, look into monetization programs. Work with companies to offer targeted products and services that members will buy (and love!) Make your forum work for YOU!
    Be ACTIVE – Don’t allow your community to become idle—a BIG mistake! Encourage activity and generate interest through contests that appeal to your niche. If you are appealing to college alumni football players, maybe an alumni beer mug or a picture with a bikini-clad model wearing their old football jersey might peak their interest. Find out what your niche wants and speak their language. WOW them constantly – you want them to come back for MORE and participate in your community!