Author: May Thawdar Oo
The word ‘community’, depending on where you grew up and who you grew up with, will mean different things to different people.
The dictionary definition of the word ‘community’ looks like this:
1. a group of people living in the same place or having a particular characteristic in common.
“Montreal’s Italian community”
2. the condition of sharing or having certain attitudes and interests in common.
“the sense of community that organized religion can provide”
For our online casino operators and sportsbooks out there, you’ll probably be happy to learn that to create your very own online iGaming community requires neither an Italian community nor any form of organized religion.
An online iGaming community is a place where players can share information, receive industry news, obtain community updates, and, of course, complain that the RNG is rigged.
An iGaming community can come in the shape of an online forum, a group messaging application, or a players’ game review hub. The leading method: forums are fabulous.
We’ve analyzed the best online casino forums and groups to find out how to build the most verdant iGaming community and what makes them tick.
But here is the gist of what we’ll discuss in this article:
Should I Build my Online iGaming Community on Social Media?
iGaming is a unique industry. While online casino customers are open about their passion for iGaming towards each other, they may be more reluctant to let, say, their grandmother know that they spend time online playing blackjack.
Privacy is key when producing a platform that has the potential to allow your iGaming community to flourish. While Facebook does indeed have a seductive reach, players may be reluctant to join groups without an alias.
While player identity verification is of the utmost concern to online operators, your community is unlikely to prosper without the buffer of anonymity.
Even though some online casinos have seen modest success on major social apps, the need for players to have complete anonymity continues to hamper social media marketing for iGaming operators to this very day.
Whether you should build your online iGaming community on social media can in fact be summarized in a couple of words: probably not.
Okay, Enough Already! How do I Build my Very own Online iGaming Community?
Now’s probably not the right time to tell you that
a) building an online iGaming community is incredibly difficult or
b) building an online iGaming community takes an incredibly long time.
You should know us well enough already to be assured that we’re not going to sugar coat this whole how to build an online community thing, not at all. It is hard work. Very, very hard work.
That said, after being made aware of the time and effort involved in creating your own thriving online iGaming community and you’re still up for it, you’ll be glad to know that the benefits can be absolutely massive.
If it’s so much trouble to set one up, why then, do people even bother?, you might ask.
An iGaming community is a group of like-minded players that develop relationships based on their shared interests. The gravity of cultivating an online community based on solid player-to-player relationships really cannot be overemphasized, but we’ll give it a go:
While it’s easy to leave an online casino, it’s difficult to leave a fun and informative community.
This is the concept that underpins why pretty much every iGaming marketing node on planet Earth is trying to build the best online casino forums and communities known to humankind as you read this.
1. Creating a Forum (with Members)
The advantages of creating an online casino forum (with members) that is active, intimate, open, and honest are aplenty. Your forum is a place for players to swap ideas, techniques, create meaningful relationships, and build a digital second home.
Yeah, sure, you’ll get your fair share of posts grumbling about losses, but these should also be welcomed. Gambling can be an emotional journey, and your forum will reflect both the positive and the negative aspects of players’ gaming experience.
The ins-and-outs of how to build an online community via a forum and ensuring engagement can be broken down into the following elements:
2. Build a Solid Onboarding Process
We’re sure you don’t need reminding that with every step of your sign-up procedure, you’re portraying your brand image.
By offering players a clear, easy sign-up process, you’re not only expressing yourself as a trustworthy authority, you’re showing off your industry-leading UX.
AskGamblers have this as their sign up page:
Giving players concise information about why exactly they’re signing up is broken down to clear bullet points here, encouraging players to complete the onboarding stages.
Oh, and live chat? Nice. Effortlessly simple, here players are given the answer to the ‘What’s in it for me?’ question.
At this stage of creating your ass-kicking, world-dominating iGaming forum, your aim is to create quality touchpoints for players. An ‘Introduce yourself’ thread is the perfect place within your forum to get started.
3. Create a “How to Best Use This Forum” Video Guide
Many players are visual learners, so in addition to an FAQ page, a video guide on “How to Use This Forum” is going to go down a storm with players who don’t want to wade through countless lists of forum rules, regulations, and etiquette guides.
While the nut and bolts of forum use may be second nature to you, elements such as private messaging, notifications, signatures, and other essential information can be conveyed through the power of video.
If you have access to a virtual studio and/or post-production software, then use it. Most companies don’t – but never fear. All you need to do is create a professional video that records your screen with a voice-over.
Always aim for the highest quality production possible. Again, this is the brand identity we’re dealing with, not a 15-second clip of a 2-year-old nibbling on someone’s finger.
Video is the most accessible way to introduce your players with a few key pointers and send them off on their way to explore your community platform.
4. Do the Rounds in Your Own Community
Setting up a forum and then leaving the kids to play will only get you so far, that is to say, not very far at all. The importance of having a central, guiding figure to respond to messages and deal with admin issues is vital to your overall community-building strategy.
Before your forum is populated with casino experts, you’ll need a bit of heavy lifting. This not only endears you to your forum members, but you also become an expert on the UX elements of your site and can weed out any issues you encounter while on site.
Welcoming members, answering queries, and being the puppet master of your forum are a few of the tasks you’ll be undertaking as your forum picks up speed.
5. Promote Members of Your Forum
Becoming a class monitor (to the lucky few that ever experienced it) is empowering, encourages independent thought, and, best of all, allows Ms. Smith to get to her coffee break 5 minutes earlier.
Promoting forum members via an automatic tiering process is a given (for e.g. upgrading a ‘Newbie’ badge to an ‘Expert’ one is a way of increasing traffic), offering members extended privileges, and freeing up a bit of time for yourself. This will come baked into your forum software, so you don’t need to lift a finger.”
Spotted an exemplary forum member? One of the many advantages of creating an online casino forum is that you can promote forum members, authorizing greater privileges for the talent within your community. Ideally, you want your iGaming message board to become a fully member-facilitated, self-sufficient entity.
As players take ownership of your online community, long-term viability and community focus are both boosted.
6. Send Weekly Forum Updates
Players need to know more than how to choose the best online casino. A “What’s new in the community” email sendout can go a long way, both literally and figuratively.
Shooting out a weekly email with forum shout-outs for great posts, welcoming new members, and upcoming changes is a top way of keeping your forum members engaged and informed.
7. Keep Players Notified and Busy
Easily overlooked, this simple step, once taken care of, will increase traffic to your forum and hopefully activity.
Notifications are essential as they inform members when their posts have been commented on. While it might be nice to live in a world where people have reminders set to check on forum activity, this is rarely the case. Cue notifications.
Email is the most powerful tool on your forum marketing workbench. What you’re trying to avoid is players signing up and churning, becoming inactive member accounts, and your forum looking the online equivalent of an empty, dusty Wild West town.
8. Host Live Networking Events
Networking events are often a case of gripping a styrofoam plastic cup, alone in the corner, waiting for a kind soul to take pity on your social anxiety. But, it doesn’t have to be like this. Bringing an already-formed community together face-to-face is inspiring.
Not only do community members have a chance to meet their contemporaries in the flesh but they also have a chance to bond, further reinforcing player-to-player relationships. As well as further strengthening the relationships between forum members, not only do in-person meetings warm those heart cockles, but they’re also superb for business.
However, with the COVID-19 regulations still in place in some countries, virtual online meetups will do the trick for now.
All in all, when it comes to bringing people together to share ideas and form a living, blossoming community of players, forums are top of the heap to do so.
iGaming marketing strategies come in all shapes and sizes – there truly is no off-the-rack approach to building an online iGaming Community. The best way is to do your research, see what competitors are doing and improve upon it. Oh, and share this blog post, of course.
How did you like May Thawdar Oo’s blog post “Appetite for Connection: Build Your Very Own Online iGaming Community”? Let us know in the comments if you have anything to add, have another content idea for iGaming blog posts, or just want to say “hello.” 🙂