In this video, we learn how to create Forum Groups and Forums within Lightning Tools – Social Squared Discussion Boards from within SharePoint and Microsoft Teams. We discuss how to structure your Forum Groups and Forums in a way that will be intuitive, and that will get engagement from your users.
Forum Groups & Forums
In this section, we’ll explore how to go about planning your Forum Groups and Forums, and also how to actually configure them using Social Squared.
Planning your Forum Groups and Forums
Social Squared provides three levels for categorising discussions:
- Forum Group
A Forum Group is the outer category for conversations. The Forum is an inner category, and the Topic is the start of the conversation which of course could be an idea, a statement, or a question. There are many examples on the internet of Forums for different interests. Let’s see an example below of how a layout could be created for a Community of Practice around BMW cars:
Site Name: BMW Forums
Forum Groups & Forums:
- BMW 1 Series (Forum Group)
- BMW 3 Series (Forum Group)
- BMW 5 Series (Forum Group)
A topic may be created by a person who owns a 2014 BMW 330I. The person has a question about a warning light showing on his dashboard. The best place for that question to be asked would be in the Electrical forum under the BMW 3 Series Forum Group. A Moderator would be a specialist in BMW 3 Series Electrics and would be able to offer sound advice in the form of a reply. However, other members who may have also experienced the same warning light, may also be able to offer advice. Those users can reply to the topic. Once the Author of the topic (the owner of the BMW 330I) has read the advice and resolved the problem, he/she can mark the best reply as the answer. This will go on to help other people in the future who may have the same warning light displayed on their dashboards.
Social Squared can be configured in the same way as the above example, but it’s more likely that you will be configuring it for a business purpose. So, in the below example, we will plan Forum Groups and Forums for Contoso Corporation. The Forums will help the community (employees) to contribute to a better company with improved or new products, better marketing techniques, and sales strategies. Moderators would be assigned to each forum; for example, a Marketing Specialist would be an appropriate moderator on the Marketing Forums.
Depending on your requirements, if we were to create a Forum for everyone in the organization to contribute to, we may plan our forum groups and forums as per below on a communication site:
Site Name: Contoso Corporation
Forum Groups and Forums:
- Product Ideas and Questions
- Home Electronics
- Business Electronics
- Car Electronics
- Marketing Ideas and Discussions
- Events & Conferences
- Social Media
- Microsoft Advertising
- Sales Strategies
- Direct Sales
- Partner Network
It is possible, however, that you wish to use Social Squared in a more focused way, such as for a specific business unit, department, office location, or project. In the below example, we focus on Marketing:
Site name: Contoso Marketing
Forum Groups and Forums
- Online Marketing
- Summer Campaign
- Fall Campaign
- Pay per Click Advertising
- Offline Marketing
- North America Events
- EMEA Events
- Southeast Asia Events
Planning your Forum Groups and Forum structure is key to the success of the forums for your employees. Discussions with Moderators and Users will help to brainstorm the ideal structure. In the next section, we’ll explore how to configure the Forum Groups and Forums.
Creating Forum Groups and Forums
Once you have a plan for creating your forum groups and forums, you can begin to build the Forum Groups and Forums.
To create the Forum Groups:
- Click the Ellipses in the top left corner of Social Squared, and choose Forum Settings.
- In the right-hand side panel, click ‘Add Forum Group’.
- Provide a Title for your Forum Group – for example Online Marketing.
- Click Add.
- Repeat these steps for each Forum Group.
To Create Forums within the Forum Groups:Click View Forums in the side panel next to the Forum Group within which the forum will be created.
- Click Add Forum.
- Provide a Title for your Forum – for example ‘Social Media’.
- Provide a Description for your Forum – for example ‘Social Media campaign ideas’.
- Optionally, add a moderator (Moderators are covered in the next section).
- Click Add.
- Repeat for each Forum in your Forum Groups.