I agree, and this was a hard decision for me. My biggest competition is a FB group, second biggest is a subreddit, while all the others are small forums with outdated forum platforms and little to no activity.
Mine is a sports forum, so a lot of content is driven by what is in the press. New transfer rumour, player failed drug test, someone injured. It is very common for normal users to post links to Twitter or articles. What I am trying to say in my round about way of saying things is my solution works well for me but may not universally good for all forums.
On mine I tried to strike balance. I use the bots in just 3 threads.
Dedicated Twitter thread
Dedicated news thread
In game commentary for my team.
The first two are basically used as a feed. It’s keeps users up-to-date with what’s happening. I limit it to about 5-10 posts a day. People are going there don’t tend to user Twitter, and links get reposted in other discussions.
The third use is match updates. It compliments the user comments with more factual events occuring.
Doing it this way it becomes additive rather than a negative
I would love to tell you the beneficial impact it has had but it’s difficult to untangle from other aspects. I have been continually adding features. From navigation buttons you see in picture above, whose online plugin, improved skins etc.
What I can say is that after 10 years of a slow decline on xenforo we are seeing a huge spike in posters returning (a couple of days ago we had over 600 posts in 1 hr by 300 active users…when total membership is just 400 users) . Next week will be my third server upgrade in a matter of months.
This is a forum that has not been open to the public but enticing old members back. Our daily engagement numbers range from 3-5 times higher than we were on xenforo.
I really try to be pragmatic,
By instinct I would react like you, meaning that yes I want to leave Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.
It could seem that I’m dependent to those social things, but I prefer to think that I take advantage of them.
1- I never do paid campaign with them
2- I never really give them content, only links that points to the forum
The one I’m really afraid of is google, 70% of the traffic come from the google search. By the way, well done Guys for the nice work on the natural ranking.
But can we trust google? Will this last ?
I really liked your list of actions btw. Creating superior structured content locally is the best way to go.
My concern is strategically we are feeding the lion and without coordinated mass abstention we sustain the original status quo. But ultimately I reluctantly accept reality!
Yes I’m aware I’m giving Google a pass and that’s a little biased perhaps but at least they support ‘the open web’ … at least for now.
I have tried with the title + Link + Short description. But the reach of the posts is not much.
I think it’s more person-dependent. Members trust and follow the leaders. So I targeted the fb group admins to cooperate and one of the biggest former fb group admin joined us. He started advertising our forum in his group. People started coming more than before just because he suggested us…
I’m trying to turn the forum more like a social site in every way. The “forum” word: People think this is just another old school forum from 2000s. So I just called the forum: on our brand or Community. I completely remove the forum word. (It is much easier to change a word than their way of thinking.) That needed because people judge before they open the website. So there was a lots of time they just commented on fb —just another forum… etc. they actually didn’t click the link.
Interface and features
It also looks more like Facebook, unfortunately people more familiar this. First time I used category for homepage but now I just figured out the latest page is much better for communities it generate more activities from users.
I added a lot of features which makes it much better than Facebook.
Trading, auction, user ratings, trusted sellers, etc.
People like badges and avatar flairs, each group has an avatar flair which is appears next to users avatar.
I compare the forum with Facebook. People only knows Facebook so I have to highlight those things which is bad at there. What people don’t like on Facebook.
Facebook is full of bullying what we not tolerate and don’t accept on the forum this is a much more controllable place than fb. The trust level system add us the biggest ability to control these people… So people are much friendlier than on fb…
I never want to see a Facebook content on our forum! Forum is the quality contents place not the instant posts from Facebook. So I do the opposite I share quality content from the Forum to Facebook BUT I disable the comment section! That is important…. If they want to reply to the topic they have to register and reply on the Forum.
Cooperation with Members
I initiate the community into everything and I ask them before do anything. I created a category where they can send their ideas about the forum, Community and everything…
I always notify members when made any changes. Every Sunday I share them an update topic and summarize the weekly changes, development and everything. If something not clear they can ask and we can talk about it like a great big family.
One other point is we can customize the Forum what Members needs! You cannot do that on Facebook.
And last but not least we are all the same in our Community!
These things makes the forum much better for quality members. I think this community is more cohesive and healthy. You have to show the way them. This is a very slow process but if one time they find your forum they never want to go back to Facebook.
I didn’t realize Zapier had a “short description” of the post. I’m going to switch mine to this. I’m currently using the full post, this is way too much for Facebook. Have you tried Twitter? I focus more of my social media marketing on Twitter than Facebook. I’ve organically grown my follower count to over 300. I know of some Twitter bots that could help with faster follower growth, but I’m worried about risking a suspension/ban on my account.
You may not know, but a post with no title or it is below will have higher engagement.
About Zapier I have up a number of scripts to try the integrated version, but it only includes articles and raw htm (When posting, FB does not recognize the format as handwriting).
So I am building via Rss here which will describe the short customization.
I will try it! sure.
Twitter tried it out from a programmer’s perspective, I just cross-post auto + summary content.
But since the account is less tracked, it doesn’t work well. Instead of buying, I think running targeted ads will generate better tracking.
I agree that ease of access is probably a significant aspect. But…
Have you considered that design, “friendliness” (of aesthetic), and ease of use or familiarity may also be major factors? I love Discourse, I participate in at least 5 Discourse forums regularly. But I recently started testing out Circle.so and while it is definitely inferior in many respects, even I actually liked some of its aesthetic and UX choices. More here:
How did you setup the auction and trade sites? Did you use a plugin?
anything is possible is you put your mind to it
this is the ticket. niche niche niche.
How are webstore in Discourse helping fight against Facebook groups? E-commerce is totally different thing than groups or forums.
I have very profitable webshop and really active Facebook group connected to it, and Discourse forum that is practically dead, No one will change from group to forum.
Main reasons are
- everybody are in Facebook
- Discourse is way too difficult and editor is strange (I agree, coding scene loves markdown, rest of world not so much)
For me it took about one year to build up active group with 25 000 members. Forum has been up now a year and there is 300 registrations and three active members
Yes, 99-1 rule rules
My target group are mostly women without any bigger intrest to tech — they are the most challenging group to get out from Facebook, I reckon.
In addition to these two I would add the Notification System is way too difficult and strange. When people see “Dismiss” they expect to clear the list, and when nothing seems to happen when they hit dismiss that is extremely disconcerting and introduces doubt into the way everything else works too. I am finding that my users are not able to trace simple things like seeing who has posted what recent updates, and that they way people generally use my other forums (look for the red dot to see “new” events, and navigate to them from the notifications screen) is almost unusable in Discourse.
Would be interested if anyone has suggestions or plugins on how to improve notifications.
Facebook’s app is the killer feature here. Dead easy to set up, push notifications. Easy and snappy to use.
When trying to cure my internet addiction, one of the first things I did was remove the FB and Twitter apps. Worked well to reduce my casual use of those sites.
The Discourse Hub iOS app is a good alternative but not as easy for the user to set up, and lacks push notifications. Notifications really make a difference.
I recently migrated a Vanilla forum to Discourse. It acts as the “discussion section” of a website I run. When I created a live notification badge (just a simple update count) on the main website, showing a count of new posts in the forum, it massively drew people from my website into the forum.
Update badges, push notifications etc, these are things that stimulate interest. At present Facebook does a better job than Discourse Hub. If we could easily “white label” Discourse Hub for our own forums, and get push notifications working, it’d help a lot in the fight against Zuck’s oligopoly.
Note - I think Discourse’s commercial offering does indeed feature push notifications.
Unable to fight Facebook groups, this is the age of the mobile Internet. If you want internet users to use your forums more, you must have features that are not available on platforms such as Facebook, or unique features that users like. The forum is gone, the world is the same. Even in China, forums are dying out.
My main Forum is alive and well, because people will still Google (or quack) a topic and be presented with search results that include my niche community near the top.
Facebook can’t do that nor prevent my site appearing.
Facebook has tried and failed to replace the open internet along with Apple and its obsession with native ‘apps’ (which are also dying, paid apps almost completely dead).
It is not the future. Facebook is a passing fashion. Facebook is an enormously expensive facade. Their costs are only going to rise if they are forced to more tightly police content and take full responsibility for it. And in doing so they will also alienate users (and doing a pretty good job at that already!)
The cloud revolution means my costs are tiny!
The open internet will prevail because most technologists don’t work for Facebook and want their products to be visible on search engines.
Reddit is probably a bigger rival but that fight is on more even terms.
I realise the “open internet” is a dream in some countries but it is something many countries will seek to defend whilst others will sadly seek to control it.
We must do everything we can to resist these monopolies!
Well, there is the “web3” decentralization pushback effort, which has some aspects of this covered.
The idea is to create a decentralized web, where users can transport their data from service to service without corporate walled gardens stopping them.
Welcome to our world since 2013, web3 fans … we’ve been waiting for you.