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Avoiding that empty feeling with a community forum

SilenceDogoodSilenceDogood subscriber Posts: 9
I want to start a community forum for my customers (and perhaps potential customers).
So, how do you avoid that empty feeling when starting up a forum.
It does not look great that you go to a business website, poke around, find their community forum and see 2 members and 5 posts and no replies.
A couple of questions:
What is the critical mass necessary for a lively vibrant community?
Until you get to that critical mass what can you do (without scraping or faking) to make your community seem alive rather than dead?
Or is it just something you have to go through?


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    RockinJoeRockinJoe subscriber Posts: 0
    I agree with guerillaRed. No one likes to be first on the dance floor. You have to jump out there and do it and people will follow. You can also hire posters (I`ve seen rates of anywhere from 25-50 cents per post) to do the job for you. Do a Google search. They`re out there.
    http://www.teazinsgreetings.comRockinJoe9/16/2008 3:12 PM
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    DefMallDefMall subscriber Posts: 2 Member
    I have to `third` the motion.
    I ran a website that included a chat board. I asked every friend I had to go there just once or twice a week and write SOMEthing, to give the board some life. I advertised it wherever I could and luckily had enough friends on line to make it seem hopping.
    This isn`t lying or faking. Their posts were genuine...I just don`t know if they would have done it if not asked to. And I don`t know how often they would do it if not asked to!
    But you need to build some `bottom` to your community so that newcomers/strangers see it as a lively community...
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    RockinJoeRockinJoe subscriber Posts: 0
    Wow...can anyone at this forum list an online community / social networking website they built / marketing / ran for more than a year that backs up their view point?
    I can`t, but when I began my career in stand up comedy many years ago, I used to enter contests where the winner was determined by the loudest audience applause. If you didn`t have the audience stacked with friends, you`d lose no matter how funny you were.

    RockinJoe9/16/2008 9:27 PM
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    SilenceDogoodSilenceDogood subscriber Posts: 9
    Lively discussion.
    But I am left not knowing what to do.
    I am personally not comfortable faking it <sound clip from "When Harry Met Sally" here>.
    Plus, I serve a highly specialized niche market and I think my patrons would see through it.
    I may go with the "BETA" idea.
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