Forum Activity Help

Hi! I’ve been running an animal crossing forum called ‘The Sapling Forums’ for about 2 years now and i’m having a bit of a struggle kick starting it since it died. I’ve decided putting this in the conversion optimization section because I feel my inbound marketing strategy is failing to persuade members and traffic to post. I have a healthy amount of traffic of about 200-300 visits a day, I come up in the top 5 give or take when you search my main keywords: ‘animal crossing forum’ or ‘animal crossing forums’ in google which i’ve managed purely through content strategy, structuring data, on page/off seo and affiliation marketing.

A brief history, back at the beginning the forum was decently lively for a new forum with no web presence, it had about a good small group of 10 people who posted actively (purely due to the new fresh exciting phase). About a 8 months later, it started to dwindle, people left and I stopped posting too.

I came back after a short haitus and now i’m stuck in a bit of a rut, i know i’ve only got myself to blame because once you let a forum die, it’s very hard to get activity back as that initial trust is gone. I’ve been trying to reboot the forum for a year now and i’ve been updating it almost daily with new threads, new posts, long blog style posts which encourage users to share opinions. I’ve introduced LOADS of new features, profile badges to earn, an entire roleplaing functionality where you can post and catch creatures (in animal crossing style), profile customisation with custom banners, a forum shop/currency where you can buy collectibles, i’ve opened 4 different social media platforms tailored specifically around my demographic, changed the ENTIRE layout in an attempt to jump start with a brand new look, I amended above the fold, introduced more information that encourages people to seek out content, used sites like crazy egg to track user movement and applied my most important info to the most viewed page spots, i’ve advertised immensely across social groups and other forums…….the list goes on and on and frankly….i’m exhausted.

I run the forum with one other staff member but i’m essentially running/creating everything. I’ve recently created an event where you can win forum prizes and boosted my posts on facebook multiple times, posted across twitter, discord, tumblr, even toke the data of all my members and emailed all of them in an email marketing campaign I paid for to say "look, we have an exciting event coming up!" and whilst the social pages gained a few new likes, the event thread itself resulted in like 50 views!

I honestly don’t know what i’m doing wrong, from what i’ve learnt in SEO, high quality content posted regularly is a goldmine for not only google but for people, posting regularly and using content curation techniques can encourage trust in you as an authority figure and persuade people to follow you but for me, half the time it’s like i’m talking with myself! Atm I have about 4 members who are posting regularly-ish, every 3-4 days. I really could do with an extra pair of hands, even just one person who’s as passionate as I am who will post every or every other day just so i’m not talking to myself.

I’m almost at the point of making multiple fake accounts to pretend it’s busy but I REALLY don’t want to do that. I keep reading it’s a good way to jump start your activity but it’s risky and behing dishonest can get you into trouble later.

Another key problem here is nintendo haven’t released a new animal crossing console game since 2010-2011 (ignoring mobile and spin offs which aren’t full games) so the entire fanbase are a bit in an uproar at the moment and have gone off the series entirely. I feel like i’m steering a sinking ship until nintendo annouces a new game……..which i’d like to think but my biggest competitor ‘The Bell Tree Forums’ has a large ongoing member base who post frequently and still play the games so…is it that people feel: why join my forum when the activity is over there? or there’s no point in joining a new forum yet, may as well join a well established one?

I could do with some good forum discussion tips, ways to convert members not only into joining but into posting because I seem to get the odd new member every other day but they don’t post! It’s easy to be disheartened but I have no time for self pity because I need to be posting every day even if talking to myself to encourage others to do the same. It’s kind of pathetic when you create multiple events to encourage players to join in the games but then not a single person joins so the event just ends v_v

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