We listed feedback boards in our list of essential boards every forum should have for good reasons. Feedback boards can really help you grow and level up if they’re approached correctly, and if your forum is without one it is likely going to suffer.
Take a look at these reasons to get behind a feedback board on your forum.
1. It makes members feel involved
Depending on your forums type, members will usually want to become more involved at some point, usually after gaining something from your forum or because they want to gain something new. For off topic forums this usually happens because members want to bond and fit in, and for on topic or support type forums this usually happens because the member wants to “give back” or appear more valuable to the project or cause.
At the end of the day most members will want to give back or become more involved but they won’t want to do any of the work. This makes a feedback board the perfect place for them to achieve their goals…they can report problems, suggest new features, share their ideas, etc and as they are discussed (or adopted/fixed) the member feels they have added to the forum and become more involved (while you do the work to implement the idea or fix the issue).
2. It makes members feel valued and valuable
When members post their ideas or issues and are responded to receptively they feel valued even if their idea is not used; It’s the same as it is in the world beyond the internet, when you’re listened to you feel good and when you’re ignored you feel awful. If their idea is actually used they will also feel valuable and more involved in the forum.
Usually members who feel valuable will come up with more ideas and suggestions, as well as becoming more active with posts and other forum activities. It’s like a circle of giving back – if you are receptive to them they will continue to give back to your forum. This is extremely beneficial and should be encouraged.
3. It makes your forum more welcoming
Members like to know that if they have input they are welcome to post it. This makes them feel welcome and not shut out of their forum experience, like they’re almost already part of the group before they’ve even tried to fit in.
If you do not have a feedback area members will notice and be taken aback by this. In some cases it’s even offensive not to have one and members may take it personally.
4. It helps your forum grow
When you have an area for people to post bugs, ideas, help requests, and more you will find this is actually more helpful to you than your members!
- When members ask for help it can help you identify areas that are difficult to use or navigate, allowing you to change these areas or provide additional help. Changes (or even just the topic itself) may increase the chances a newbie will stay over leaving out of frustration or to avoid extra effort.
- When members report a bug or an area of the forum behaving unexpectedly it allows you to fix it. As an admin you may not be able to see the issue so it’s always good to have reports from members.
- When members post ideas this is your biggest chance to grow. Incorporating an idea will give your forum a new feature and make a member feel valuable (credit where it’s due!)…members who feel valuable will likely become more active and possibly post more ideas. This is 3 fold beneficial for your forum – but never accept every idea for this benefit or it will backfire.
- When a member posts an idea other members will have a chance to voice their opinions, which is great because this allows you to get real feedback before accepting an idea. This could mean less work for nothing if the idea tanks, the idea can be ironed out so it is less likely to tank, and you may even find that the idea inspires other ideas which will also help you grow.
- It allows you to post asking for feedback on features, inviting members to give their opinions so you can gauge how successful a new feature is, or if it may need tweaking.
5. It makes you look like you give a damn
When it comes to the effort required to register on a forum, set up a profile, post an introduction, etc before a member can even really join in…this can be a huge tipping point in whether or not members will join or stay. Just like using correct spelling and grammar can make members take you seriously, having a feedback board can be a huge indicator that you’re going to stick around, that you’re invested in your forum, and that you might just give a damn about your members and their forum experience. That’s priceless.
Do you have a feedback board yet? What’s the best idea your members have come up with? Do you think a feedback board is beneficial? Let us know below!