Is it possible to start again and rebuild a community?


(Barry Hynd) #1

Hey All,

My name is Barry Hynd and I’m the founder of www.scottishbusinessforums.co.uk.

I’ve come to this site after reading Richard’s book (which is excellent by the way!).

I feel a bit lost with SBF and wonder whether it’s time to give up. Lots of people tell me forums aren’t the future but I’ve never been able to really let them go. They were once fairly popular but it all seems to have faded. Mostly my fault!

So I guess what I’m looking to ask is is it possible to start again and build it up? I’ve been very protective of the site and have kept on top of forum spam and updates etc. I think SBF could be amazing but maybe it’s too big for just little old me.

Anyway thanks for reading and I’m going to have a wee dig around now and see where I can maybe add a bit of advice etc.

Cheers :slight_smile:


Introduce yourself (or at least just say hi)
Introduce yourself (or at least just say hi)
(Nick Emmett) #2

Hey @Barry_Hynd, welcome to Feverbee, it’s great to hear from you.

What’s making you feel the way you do about your community?
Why did you set the forums up in the first place? Do they still serve the same purpose today, providing the same value? How would you say the health of the community is? Is the fire still burning inside you or do you yearn to make changes?

Who are the people telling you it’s a waste of time?

There’s lots of experience and knowledge in here so feel free to dive in with any questions you might have - perhaps a thread about starting again would be worthwhile?

It’s great to have you hear and it would be great to hear your thoughts on some of the issues being discussed.


(Barry Hynd) #3

Hi Nick,

Thanks for the welcome :slight_smile:

The forums were set up for probably different reasons from most. I felt Scotland deserved it’s own dedicated small business forums as we have unique challenges up here. Part of the reasoning was to also maybe try and foster offline meetups and having a much tighter geography seemed to make sense.

It wasn’t started to make money or anything like that. It was just my attempt to give something back and to try and help people not make the same mistakes as most people do when starting up a business.

The fire is definitely still inside me and I feel that the way I have the forums set up is pretty good - it just lacks people and activity (pretty fundamental stuff though!)

I’ve tried to reach out to people who used to be on the forums to find out why it tailed off. Alot of people have said that life just got busier and the forums kind of weren’t as big a priority but more than a few have said that forums have had their day and that I should look at Facebook or LinkedIn groups instead. My problem though is that I’m not a fan of those platforms and I feel that forums can offer so much more. Clearly that’s not coming through in the offering though!

I think I’ll take up your suggestion of a dedicated thread on starting again.

Thanks for taking the time to respond :slight_smile:


(Sarah Hawk) #4

I’ve done that for you. :slight_smile:

So I personally think that the answer to your question is yes, it is definitely possible to start again and rebuild, but you’ll need to do some soul-searching and some hard yards.

I’d start by reading this article: Why Your Community Isn’t Growing (And How To Get Unstuck)

If some of the tactical approaches in there resonate with you, then you’re back on track. If they don’t, then you probably need to redefine your concept. Refine it to appeal to a new audience. What challenge can you solve for your new audience? This article will help with that: Understanding Conceptualization: The Process You Go Through Before You Launch An Online Community


(Richard Millington) #5

Hey @Barry_Hynd I guess the obvious question from my side would be what are you trying to achieve? At the moment it sounds like there isn’t a clear vision in place which is why you might be feeling a bit lost.

It doesn’t have to be financial, but it’s good to have a clear goal in mind. I think most communities will still be using forum-based technology. I’m less sure that most of the current forum platforms will still be around in a few years.


(Jess Williams) #6

Hi @Barry_Hynd, and welcome.

I agree with Richard’s questions above, and I think once you figure out your mission, you can begin mapping out some achievable goals. Setting some goals on how to keep the community engaged is important as this is not a “set it and forget it” kind of business. :slight_smile:

Once you have that figured out, you’ll focus on your members. What are your community members looking for right now? What problems do they have and how can you facilitate other members to help solve or sympathize with those problems? What meaningful connections are your members looking for? Why are they suggesting FB?

In my experience, the platform is an important consideration, but ONLY after you’ve clearly mapped out what you’re trying to accomplish and what your members are looking for.

Someone brought up a community called Ravelry recently. This community is massive (6.4 mil users with more than 4K logged in as I write this) and is forum-based. I’m betting they are not looking to move to Facebook. :slight_smile:


(Mark Baldwin) #7

Hi @Barry_Hynd sounds like you’ve got a big decision to make. It’s incredibly hard to breathe new life into a dormant forum, I know this from experience. When I started my current position a few years ago, my client had an existing forum for his games, but he had let it slip and it became dormant, with only the odd regular popping up now and then and a lot of negativity, a breeding ground for trolls. I tried for a while to kickstart it but to no avail.

So we made the joint decision to mothball the forum and to run the community through social media platforms and support emails. I appreciate that this approach does not and will not work with a lot of communities, but it seems to work really well in the games industry. As a result, our Facebook page has 1.1 million fans, with a regular audience of about 80-100k per post/update and we added more social media interaction directly into our games.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that starting from scratch can work.


(Sarah Hawk) #8

This comment interests me. I wonder if they’re thinking of more traditional platforms (like vB) or forums in general.