Forum Management is an Art rather than a technological science. The attitude, behavior and idea creation are the main driving forces to create a successful Discussion board. The role of a Moderator and the Administrator is crucial here. As you have to tackle a lot of visitors, members and of course the spammers 🙂
The forum manager should know the theme of the forum and must possess an overall knowledge of that particular topic, as she has to reply to the posts in the beginning. In addition, this post reply process reduces the excessive dependency to the visitors. Also, it helps to continue the discussions even when there are no posts generated by the outside visitors.
The How to Use part is quite important to run a forum smoothly. This segment specifies to avoid abuse language, mutual respect and so on.
The Announcement part also a significant one when you announce a new forum rule, some contests, Blog etc.
The Art also to be learned as to how, you can carry on a discussion to 5 to 6 posts or more. The unfinished style of answering a query is the key here.
You might get lots of spam posts from the objectionable or promotional sites. Remove those regularly.
Also make reply as soon as possible. That will reflect Active, Promptness and quality posts will generate Word of Mouth and Viral Marketing.
From my previous experience with an US based Insurance community site, I can share some of the points as to how you can manage an online Forum or what is famous as Online Community or Discussion Forum. The forum I worked for, was an Insurance forum as well as a community, which was made to sort out the problems of the US insurance consumers (what they face in their daily life with respect to the Insurance policies).
I had to do the works in the supervision of my immediate boss Mr. L. Phukan, a diversified knowledgeable person and a good guide as well. From the scratch we had to develop the website to an Insurance Forum which will be recognized worldwide. That was our approach.
We started doing research taking along the technical team that what should we do so that each insurance, each country, every insurance consumer could be incorporated. If you move to the site, you can realize the fact.
How did we start the Community Building – You can follow that:
1. Keep on posting the pseudo posts regularly (every day) to each forum.
2. Carry on the posts in a discussion manner.
3. Try to maintain the language construction and spelling mistakes.
4. At the same time do some organic marketing.
5. Use avatars.
6. Build different characteristics according to those avatars. (Ex: If you use an avatar of a DJ, the write ups should reflect that character).
7. The above part helps to build an imaginative character in the mind of the visitors. That in turn serves a psychological purpose of web usability.
8. While making posts to the forum, create 8 to 10 identity on your own. And use avatars for those.
9. Try to include other resources, design from time to time.