If you decide you do want to create a faction, make sure that you do your research, now by this I don't mean go read a few wikipedia pages on gangs, and people like Pablo Escobar. I mean if you want to make a street gang, then you're best off going to watch a couple of documentaries of street gangs in the 1995-2000 period, that way you get a general idea on how they acted back then. Furthermore, you need to research on how the leader of the type of faction you're creating (i.e Triad/Gang/Cartel etc) acts, you don't want to be leading a cartel and acting like a triad boss, I personally recommend a good 3-4 hours of research on it, I'd recommend mixing it between documentaries and research on different sites.
Making sure you have members pre-creating the topic.
When you make a faction, the most important part about it is your members. You may see a few factions have a minimum of 3 members, personally I wouldn't recommend it (don't get me wrong, it can succeed, if you recruit as you go along.) I'd recommend starting with a good number of around 5-7 members this way you have a nice variety of ranks within the faction, so it allows you to roleplay a lot more, and keeps the faction active. The main problem I see with starting with 3 members is that unless you co-ordinate it, you will only have 1-2 members online at a time, and it truly does restrict your roleplay. However, if you decide to start with just 3 members (IE. Starting a new street gang, and you want to RP "starting from the bottom" then sure go ahead!) but I personally wouldn't recommend it if you're aiming to be a pre-built organisation. I would recommend that you start the faction with friends and people you can trust to roleplay with you for time, and not those who just like to roleplay as a certain character for a while and then switch, starting a faction and then closing it down is not the way you want to go. Last, but definitely not least here -DO NOT- panic hire, if you are lacking members look at it calmly and still be precise with your recruiting -DO NOT- hire those who you think will destroy your reputation, break rules, and generally cause trouble.
Roleplay a little in the faction before making a topic.
Now I understand fully why you'd want a topic before you start roleplay, but I can assure you that's the worst way to go. You always want to have a topic to alert people of your presence in Red County! However, you should always get a few people together, maybe even start recruiting before you make the topic because having more members is better (Read above.) Furthermore, you want people to know you ICly for your IC reputation, you do not want people to just assume they know you because you have a faction topic, or people to approach you because of a faction topic. (Trust me it gets rather annoying.)
Roleplay the faction how you planned it to be.
I'll put this into context as it's the easiest way for me to explain it. If you create a mafia, then you roleplay as a mafia, you should really know about roleplaying as a Mafioso as you did create the faction, if not read above! There's not much else to say, if you create a faction roleplay it realistically and do not try and escalate into something you're not. A quick tip as well, even if you do roleplay as a huge mob, or organisation, remember you have just came into a new county where you didn't have a foothold ICly, so do not roleplay as if you own the place, you earn your respect ICly with the other crews that have been in Red County for longer than you.
Keeping the roleplay within the faction.
With keeping the roleplay within the faction I mean, if you decide to do huge roleplays make sure that your entire faction is there and you do not go there as an individual to represent your faction. Another example of keeping roleplay within the faction is, if you're a street gang or a cartel you normally will associate yourselves with yourself, and that's it, the only times you'd really go out to meet others is when you decide to deal drugs/guns and what not. I'm not saying don't have external friends and what not as an individual, but as a whole you probably shouldn't have too many randoms standing around with you constantly. Furthermore, if you're keeping it within the faction whether you're friends or not, -DO NOT- troll whilst doing faction roleplay, also doing relaxed roleplay everyday may seem stupid, but its necessary if you want to keep realism up, it's more important for you to go out having a drink, having a barbecue and what not than it is for you to try and force illegal roleplay as a whole. Also, you'll obviously want to develop your character and the best way to do it is around your faction, so that they understand how your character develops, my only tip here is -DO NOT- roleplay as Ironman, always develop, even if you don't think you can, develop. Character development is the key to any faction or just roleplay as a whole.
Gang attacks, I have personally made a lot of mistakes when attacking gangs. Just take into consideration when you attack another "gang" you still need to keep it to fit your roleplay. If you're a street gang, I can imagine you drivebying your targets, however -DO NOT- stick around once you do, driveby and leave, do not get out and kill whoever you can, you need to realise that its still your enemies hood most likely, and you don't want to stay around so they can pull their guns out and it turns into a DMfest, you come to send a message and leave. If you're roleplaying as a cartel or such, you will normally want to kidnap one, torture him, and kill him in a ironic way to send him a message, it normally ends pretty brutally though. A mafia or a mob will more than likely do it quick and simply with no trace back to them, if they want to send regards personally, they normally hire external sources such as hitmen and hired guns for that sort of work. (Correct me if I'm wrong.) Of course we all love a shootout, but you must keep it as realistic as possible.
How to lead a faction?
Well, this may seem stupid. But, if you're leading a faction, you're the figure head, your attitude OOC'ly will affect the entire faction as a whole, so on the forums even if someone may provoke you, you really shouldn't bite at the bait, you need to compose yourself and act calm in all situations, you also have to take all criticism into consideration and most of the time you should abide by it. On the matter of leading a faction, you need to trust your members however, if they've been punished by admins, you do have to take action against that, I understand you may be friends with your members, but you cannot allow your members to run around breaking rules as they are representing your faction. Furthermore, you do need to provide roleplay for your faction, personally I'd say provide a good hour or two's worth of roleplay toward the faction a day/every other day, you need to give people motivation for escalating up the ranks, this means each rank should be hard to reach for your members, and there should be benefits to each rank. This keeps your members interested in roleplaying their way to the top, and it gives them reason to try and improve.
How to have a competent and functional high command.
Well, you need to keep your high command in shape, you need to talk to them everyday both IC'ly and OOC'ly via forum PMs, teamspeak, the whole works. You -NEED- to have trust in your high command as a leader, you also need to make sure your high command are contributing to providing roleplay for the faction and generally in the faction to help the faction and not there to just boss people about. (Take this from experience.) Your high command is almost your most important factor of your entire faction.
Now you may think you've reached where you want to be now, I mean, you got official right? But, whatever you do, -DO NOT- change anything, keep the roleplay flowing, keep updating screenshots on the thread, there is no change between being official and unofficial other than /hire and faction vehicles, believe me. You should not ever ease up on roleplay because you have got official, do not become arrogant because you lead an official faction (I admit I went that way.) Being official is a privilege given to few factions, however it is nothing special, yet it is special. If you do become official, just remember to keep in the mindset of still being unofficial. One last thing, as an official faction you are a rolemodel to all those new players on the server, you are the factions that help mould the server into what it is.
PS. All of this was wrote from my personal experiences I have had both roleplaying within factions, and leading The Inquisition, I hope this guide helps, if you need anymore help to do with factions don't be shy to PM me!
Credits to me, and to Kikboxr for da title and amazing proofreading skills!