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October 19, 2023 · Last updated on January 10, 2024

Setting the Groundwork for a Strong Forum

# Forum
# About Gradual
# How To
# New Features

Steps to follow to set a strong foundation for your Forum

Laura Curzi
Laura Curzi

Building and nurturing a robust and engaging forum discussion takes time and effort. By creating a welcoming environment, encouraging ambassadorship, and consistently offering valuable content, you can connect members, foster meaningful relationships, and ensure the long-term success of your forum. 


Step 1: Build Structure

Understand the Gradual Platform

Gradual’s Forum is user-friendly and offers essential features such as rich text posts, topic tags, threaded comments, and real-time notifications. It’s best to get a general understanding of how the Forum works to better aid your members and insiders. Here are some resources to reference and share with ambassadors to get familiar with making, engaging and moderating posts & comments. 

Here are resources to learn more about Gradual's Forum.


Set Your Community's Purpose & Goal with Forum

It’s best to generally define the purpose and goals of your community forum to attract insiders and ambassadors who share common interests and objectives and can work towards a common goal with you. Share those goals with your ambassadors and be open to input and feedback to broaden your perspective, and refine the goals. 

💡Pro Tip: Within the Forum settings you can enable a Community Info Card to state the goal of the forum or a description of its purpose. 


Develop Engaging Topics & Tags

Each post can be tagged with up to three topics tags - tags that are universal across your entire community (on events & content). Once tagged, posts will relate to one another with the same tag and members can more easily find relevant discussions to stay engaged. 

Spend some time adding tags to your community dashboard that you think would be popular amongst forum posters, and gather input from ambassadors and members on other tags they’d like to see available. 

Here is a resource to learn more about Tags in Gradual.

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Step 2: Seed Conversations 

Post in the Forum to start the conversation, share ideas, and connect with other community members. 

💡Pro Tips: 

  1. Include graphics or images to accompany your text
  2. Tag at least two topics to your post
  3. Ask open-ended questions to prompt replies and comments
  4. Include hyperlinks to encourage members to learn more 

Here is a resource to learn more about how to make posts in Gradual's Forum.

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Step 3: Engage Insiders

Activate community ambassadors to lead the charge

Identify active members and passionate insiders who can serve as ambassadors to your community discussion. Ask them to post, comment, and engage with the Forum on a regular basis to keep it current mission-driven, and diverse in thought. 

Strive for diversity and inclusivity in choosing these ambassadors. You want to ensure all members feel welcome and encouraged to make posts, comment, and engage. 

💡Pro Tip: Add your active and responsive ambassadors as Forum moderators so they can better manage posts and comments and keep the conversation productive.

Here is a template to share with ambassadors to get familiar with making, engaging and moderating posts & comments. 

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Step 4: Drive Traffic & Engagement 

Encourage Quality & Consistent Content

The most successful posts are thoughtful, honest and open-ended. They provide the space for members to relate to one another, offer advice or input, and answer questions. Encourage members to share images and links to diversify content and provide appealing posts for members to read.


Keep the Forum Buzzing

Use newsletter or notification emails to remind members about new content and celebrate your posters who are active, consistent, and engaging. Gradual will send notifications to members if their posts receive comments and upvotes, but use your Forum stats to your advantage to bring attention to the right conversations and showcase your strongest posters. 

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Step 5: Recognize Positive Behavior

Showcase quality contributions: Pin and up-vote strong posts to the top of the feed, to set the stage and encourage others to follow suit. Encourage those who are behind the successful posts to engage with other posts, and continually add to the Forum as your ambassadors. 

Analyze and improve: Use forum analytics to understand which topics are popular and where members engage most. Make data-driven decisions to meet the needs of your community and keep adapting and improving based on feedback and analytics.

Seek feedback: Actively seek feedback from members to improve the forum's functionality and content. Create a dedicated feedback post (and tag) to gather suggestions on content, events, engagement, and more. 


Monitor and Moderate

Regularly check the forum for rule violations, spam, or inappropriate content. Train your ambassadors on effective moderation techniques and provide them with clear guidelines on what should and should not be posted.

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Step 6: Repeat steps 4 - 5, dipping into 2 and 3 as needed

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