What are some ideas on growing this forum?

Bill N

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With having the best pontoon on the market, I would have expected more growth of this forum than what it has had in ten or so years.

Any ideas that could possibly foster our community here?
 
A lot of people are not forum people they only search the internet when they need to look into something. And those that are forum people get a little put off when they post a question that may not be in perfect light for Bennington and their post is taken down.
 
Non members cannot post on the forum. A post is removed if it violates the terms that must be agreed to when a person signs up to join the forum.
 
Bill, growth as far as membership #'s or to change the format/content or just to freshen it up a bit???
 
I think there is a limit given the format and accessibility of an online forum as compared to networked social media groups on similar topics designed to be shared on peoples streams. I think it is what it is.

I think fostering a respectful and civil forum, focused on constructive support and advice is our strength and priority. IMHO, that is the community, fellowship and Bennington support service we provide very well here.

Growing this forum could be something members “try to get the word out about” on their various social media. For example, I have often referred/referenced this forum to Bennington owners asking questions covered here on my social media. I think if “we“ as members want to grow it, it is up to us individually to get word out about it.

If Bennington is interested in growing it, they could perhaps have their dealer partnership network inform and encourage membership via word dealership mouth or literature. Perhaps during sales discussions or with boat purchases. Frankly, I think we are a pretty supportive group that would probably help close some purchases due to our own generally positive experiences and love of our boats.

For instance, In the past Bennington tied extended warranty years to joining the forum (likely in an attempt to grow this community). Maybe looking into the metrics of that effort could guide future corporate ideas and efforts, cost benefit of such things, etc…

I am sure there are a number of marketing style things that could be done.
 
I suggest driving new owners to the forum would be easy, just use the Facebook and other social media forums to inform people - but, that means we get larger crazy factor...LOL. I like how the site functions and the simple interface. However, I do think it could use three major improvements:

1) A better set of categories and even maybe subcategories - this would allow a more focused casual review of topics.
2) The ability for all users to place a pre-defined set of tags on posts so they are easier to search.
3) A Top Pick / Winner rating or even Moderator Compiled answer from multiple posts to the common questions we see all the time. This would then either stay on top of the related category as Best Answer, and/or even be compiled in a Best Answer directory that could then be searched, sorted and filtered.

Examples:
1) Post Your Spec's Here - that should be it's own category and even have a pre-defined set of input - what a powerful tool that would be, especially if you could sort and filter.
2) Locking Gas Caps - I still don't think anyone has found one....
3) Stereo Upgrades - we have a huge amount of amazing data, but not easy to find or sort through.
4) etc, I could on and on!!!!
 
Laurence is spot on. I wanted to see all the color combos. I asked a senior guy at Bennington if they could start a section with colors and various configurations, one that could be sorted. I wanted to see all the Q’s and R’s. He thought it was a great idea. Crickets since. The booklet just doesn’t cut it. Seems like a summer intern could get this done with the computer folks.
 
Bill, growth as far as membership #'s or to change the format/content or just to freshen it up a bit???
I was just thinking that with the number of Benningtons sold would equate to some growth here, but it seems most of the forum activity is by a very small representation of the amount of owners (potential contributing members).
To word it another way...If you took away the 20 most active members it would be crickets in here.
 
I was just thinking that with the number of Benningtons sold would equate to some growth here, but it seems most of the forum activity is by a very small representation of the amount of owners (potential contributing members).
To word it another way...If you took away the 20 most active members it would be crickets in here.
Gotcha!
 
It's the same on other forums I belong to - 80% of the posts coming from 20% of the members. Most are enthusiasts but also a handful of bored folks looking to stay connected to other like-minded members or just trying to help. Not everyone has time for that especially for something as vanilla as a pontoon boat.

Fast cars, guns, fishing etc... now we can have a engaging discussion!
 
I was just thinking that with the number of Benningtons sold would equate to some growth here, but it seems most of the forum activity is by a very small representation of the amount of owners (potential contributing members).
To word it another way...If you took away the 20 most active members it would be crickets in here.
Ok, but those 20 are amazing!
 
With having the best pontoon on the market, I would have expected more growth of this forum than what it has had in ten or so years.

Any ideas that could possibly foster our community here?
I have been a member for awhile, actually a founding member as Bennington called it. I would have to find my number, and I will take a quick look when I get an E-mail that says See what you have missed. If it is interesting or pertains to me I will view etc. To comment I need to Login. Like Facebook, I do not spend a lot of time here or there but when I get a notification I then check a few others. I think the time of season also creates activity. Maybe pushing articles from Bennington could help. Like how to put your boat away for Winter or How to get it ready for Spring, Launching, Trailering etc. This info is available a lot of other places too, so maybe having it here too is overkill. I think that having Posts about how you use your Bennington are better than what you do to your Bennington. Next weekend our Pontoon Boat Club is doing a Scavenger Hunt based on GPS coordinates. Here is a link to our club and what we do: https://pontoonyachtclub.com/about-us
 
I think there is a limit given the format and accessibility of an online forum as compared to networked social media groups on similar topics designed to be shared on peoples streams. I think it is what it is.

I think fostering a respectful and civil forum, focused on constructive support and advice is our strength and priority. IMHO, that is the community, fellowship and Bennington support service we provide very well here.

Growing this forum could be something members “try to get the word out about” on their various social media. For example, I have often referred/referenced this forum to Bennington owners asking questions covered here on my social media. I think if “we“ as members want to grow it, it is up to us individually to get word out about it.

If Bennington is interested in growing it, they could perhaps have their dealer partnership network inform and encourage membership via word dealership mouth or literature. Perhaps during sales discussions or with boat purchases. Frankly, I think we are a pretty supportive group that would probably help close some purchases due to our own generally positive experiences and love of our boats.

For instance, In the past Bennington tied extended warranty years to joining the forum (likely in an attempt to grow this community). Maybe looking into the metrics of that effort could guide future corporate ideas and efforts, cost benefit of such things, etc…

I am sure there are a number of marketing style things that could be done.
I became a member of this community when Bennington extended there Warranty! Our local club is working with our local dealer to offer a free 6 month membership with the purchase of a new boat.
 
I like @LaurencetheAdventurer 's ideas above.

Some pinned/curated FAQ style stuff would be helpful, and help SEO (Search Engine Optimization) for folks looking for stuff like prop/stereo recommendations, etc.

I agree with @Bill N on the Facebook thing, i hate it too...

The value of this site is that it eliminates a lot of the "alternate facts" out there. because of the inability for folks to just use this as a whine session, and to post hot garbage unchecked, most of the help here is actually useful. and truthfully backed by member experiences.

I would have loved to realize this site was available pre-purchase to be honest... Maybe another angle could be as a pre-purchase sales tool that dealers could turn folks to... helping folks make good choices in their purchase/build is something members here seem to excel at... or at least getting folks to think about what they need/want!
 
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Another factor that does limit participation is the lack of support for topics that would violate the Bennington warranty. I don't mind one way or another, but that does limit certain topics and discussions.

It isn't good or bad in my mind, but is a factor that would keep some folks on other boating forums vs. here. I think that plays into my trust of the advice here though. it comes from owners with experience...
 
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