We continue to run into the issue where Facebook users are not willing to try out our forum and immediately brand it as unfriendly.
We make continuous updates but are not sure how to get past this step.
Hi Michelle, are you saying Facebook users simply don't like to use the forum, or are they having a specific problem?
The majority of our Facebook users are not willing to come over and see it. The ones that do say that the forum is "too difficult" or "not friendly". A few hang out in both places but tend to get sucked back into Facebook.
Moderating a Facebook group is very time consuming and mods have very few controls.
I have used forums for a long time and Vanilla is by far the most user friendly product I have used.
The one big one we get is when someone logs in and sees one or two names signed in they will either not sign in or stop in and leave. In reality they do not know how many users are actively online in a Facebook Group.
I should also add for the benefit of anyone reading this that we have a custom theme which matches our website.
This is an example of what was sent to us:
I think this could drive even more activity to The forum which I know is a goal. However I agree it’s difficult to navigate - I’m a web developer and I’d be happy to be on a committee to find something a little more friendly. The answer might be there’s nothing, but there might be something.
I'm not sure how to explain that we have the best product on the market.....
Thanks for the kind words. We feel the same way!
I think this is a symptom of "what they're used to" and not what's actually easy or difficult. I suggest a few things:
1) Don't give up! Keep pushing folks to the forum. If a Facebook discussion is similar to an existing forum discussion, paste a link in Facebook. If it isn't, make a similar forum discussion if it's a worthwhile topic. Likewise, anything you're going to post to Facebook should already be on the forum. Link to it.
2) Give people a roadmap for getting started. Do you have a "New members: say hello!" type of discussion? Tell people "Register an account, then add a comment to say hello in this discussion! (link)" to get them over that first moment of "this is too new".
3) Try using Polls or Badges to encourage forum participation. "Vote in this poll" and "Earn this special badge if you do X" is a great way to get people out of their comfort zone.
4) Have you considered changing your Homepage to show Discussions instead of Categories? We think that's an easier way to dive in for folks who aren't familiar with forums - less clicking, less overwhelming choice immediately. If not, at least make sure people know about "Recent Threads" and try linking them directly to that page sometimes.
I hope those help!
Thank you for your comments. Responses to above.
1) We have been doing just that - sharing the links to each similar discussion. We also post everything in both places so all members in both places get everything. I do have to constantly remind other other mods to cross post as some of them get sucked into Facebook as well....
2) We have started an intro thread. We also have a welcome message - but we have a lot of people who just like to lurk! Perhaps we can update our welcome messag
3) We do have badges - have not used as many polls yet.
4) We have considered making discussions the home page and we are willing to try it. However when w make discussions the home page our "All Forums" links then take you back to the discussions page and not all forums. I think we have a slight bug in our code. Would you be able to look at that?