Best Practices for running Groups - Please share your tips, too!
We hope that you enjoy your time as a Group Owner or Admin on CafeMom!
Here are some guidelines that we follow when setting up and running groups.
Setting Up your Group:
- Choose a short, descriptive group name (may want to include group topic).
- Auto Welcome PM should be short and include a link to the group. (Personally reply to members who respond to your auto-welcome - hope you're enjoying the group, glad you're here, let me know if I can help, etc...). May want to include a link to the Welcome thread and a few fun posts.
- Group Description - keep it short and inviting.
- Post Group Rules - Should not be too complicated, intimidating, condescending or scare members away. Members should not feel like they have to worry about what they can and can't say. Feel free to copy the rules from any of our CafeMom run groups.
- Privacy Settings - Public groups are easier for members to find and join right into the conversation. If you want to restrict who can post, reply or see posts on your group, you'll need to do that for each forum (Go to manage forums and then edit forum for those options).
- Group Photos - Make sure each album has a cover - check that periodically so your group home page looks nice. Delete any empty albums.
- Forums - only 1 forum unless the group is very big or has a real reason to use another forum. It's great to have a lot of members in the same place to talk. That activity will keep things interesting and that will keep members coming back. Separating a group into multiple forums may seem more organized for you and the regulars on the group, but it can be very confusing to other members. Multiple forums tend to create walls between members by separating the members who are visiting the group.
- Stickies / Announcements - Keep them to a minimum - in general 2-3 stickies max.
Set Welcome/Intro post as an announcement (keeps that welcome thread at the top). Only use a 2nd or 3rd sticky if it's necessary. Try to keep the 1st page of the forum active with current member conversation. If you feel the need for more stickies, try not to exceed 5 - 6 at any time or members won't be able to see the active posts easily.
- Share a group signature with your members so they can help spread the word about the group.
- Ask members to add their special days to the group calendar so you can send them wishes on that day.
- Offer to add names to your members' posts so everyone gets to know each other better and the group has a more personal feel.
Inviting Members to your Group:
- Use an inviting and clickable Group Signature when posting on CafeMom and other places.
- Share your group link with people who you think would be interested in joining your group.
- Invite your friends on CafeMom, facebook and your off-line friends and family, too.
- Use the Invite a Friend link to email invitations to your group.
Hosting your Group:
- Welcome new members and help everyone feel welcome
- Start interesting and / or fun conversations
- Host Posts - quote members who reply to your posts and start a conversation with them
- Engage in back and forth conversations
- Quote members, Like their posts and replies
- Offer support and advice
- Share a nice word - Happy bday, cute pics, feel better, etc.
- Host special events - event parties, tv viewing parties, chats, etc.
- Have fun and help create a good vibe on the group
The more that you talk with your members, help them find support and keep them entertained, the better chance you'll have of getting them to come back and spend time on your group!
Please share your best tips in the replies below.