Since I'm new to this forum, I am curious to read your good tips on how to obtain a better interaction between members. On our forum (mobile services) members use the forum to ask questions to the moderators instead of to other members. For example 'Why is my invoice so high?', 'Can you activate this service?' and so on... There are almost no members who will start an open discussion or post questions directed to other users.
Do you think we should put more energy into a Lounge area to tackle this ? Shall we stop providing answers to specific/support questions ? All suggestions will be very welcome !
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So what you want to do, is lead by example (content strategy) or at least reward the few good examples that dare to kick it off (activation). How? Perhaps by looking for ways of actively participating in such discussions, possibly also with non-moderator accounts. You could also start promoting/highlighting such great topics by actively sharing them, either by pinning them as sticky, through newsletter digests (perhaps to a subset of community users, either very active or recently registered), tagged in frontpage/sidebar widgets or pushed through dynamic content integrations (API-powered) across other digital channels. Influencing visitors on your main website, FAQ, mobile app and so forth with engaging community discussions will not only draw community traffic and increase time on site, but will indirectly also contribute to higher brand NPS - due to social proof, thought leadership and authenticity principles. In the end, everyone wins.
By moving into this direction, customers will gradually start recognizing this broader use case of your community and validate whether that's compelling, fun and worthwhile. And while you're making progress, gamification elements (ranks, badges, reputation indicators) can further accelerate your actions by encouraging and motivating the key players. So be sure to optimize these tools along the way!