Tips For Marketing Through Forums

There are many advertising techniques we can adopt when building an online business, forum marketing is one such technique which can be hugely beneficial to your business. However, it must be handled with care! Handled correctly a forum marketing campaign can bring much needed free targeted traffic to your website. Handled poorly it can leave you alienated from the forum you joined with no hope of return and leave a bad taste in the mouths of the people who read your post.

A few days ago a friend of mine contacted me. He was rather upset as his account with a forum had been blocked. He was not sure what he had done wrong and asked for my advice.

I suggested that perhaps my friend had put a post in a forum which was, to all intents and purposes, an advert about his business opportunity. This was indeed the case. As so many of us in the beginning, he had been unsure how he would get people to join his list and take up in his opportunity without actually advertising it directly.

This is actually quite a common problem when we first begin marketing in forums. I’m sure most of us know someone who has struggled with this, if we haven’t ourselves. Unless someone has taken the time to teach us how to do it, it is so easy to get it wrong!

Yes, there are a list of terms and conditions when you join and a big list of forum rules but how many people actually read them? Of those people that actually did read the rules, how many fully understand them?

It’s one of those all too common situations, we know we should read the small print but it’s so much easier to just click the “I agree button”.

It is so easy to wade in and advertise ourselves isn’t it? We have something we are sure other people want and the best way to tell them about it is to talk about it, promote it! We’re excited about what we have to offer and we know others will be too!

Not so if you want to gain trust and have people follow you in a forum and ultimately follow you into your list.

So, how do we tackle forum marketing effectively?

1) Update your profile, fill in all the relevant parts about you and/or your company, this a lows others to get to know more about you and what you do if they so wish,

2) Complete the signature section; This is where you can put a link to your site! This signature will appear in a separate box below each and every post you make!

If you are unsure as to how you should construct your signature, spend a little time looking around the forum, see how other members have constructed theirs, get some inspiration and then create your own! Make it good, give people a taster of what you’re about, leave them wanting more, wanting to join your list!

3) Profile and signature done, you’re ready to go!

4) Take a look at the forum topics and pick one which interests you and where you may have a little knowledge, no matter how limited.

5) Read the posts others have made in your chosen thread, see if you can offer any value, any advice or expertise.

If you feel confident, type a reply.

6) Start a new thread if you have a topic which is not currently being discussed.

7) Be sure to concentrate your efforts around topics which are directly related to your business, answering questions in the health and fitness arena when you are promoting a new dog food is hardly likely to get you any new sign ups.

Making forum marketing part of your advertising arsenal is a fantastic way to promote your business, it’s a great opportunity for you to showcase your knowledge, build up relationships with people and ultimately grow your business!

Attention All Newcomers! Education Is The Key To Your Success! Join Us Now To Start Improving Your Online Prospects Today!

A Business Forum: Customer Experts

“If you make a product good enough, even though you live in the depths of the forest the public will make a path to your door, says the philosopher. But if you want the public in sufficient numbers, you would better construct a highway.” – William Randolph Hearst

One way many enterprising business owners are finding to construct that highway is through the use of an online forum. If you have clients who can create a buzz about your product there is likely to be more interest as other guests find your forum.

Some entrepreneurs have discovered that getting a forum started may be difficult work. In order for there to be dialogue among a growing list of members someone has to start the conversation.

Paid Postings

There are a variety of freelance services on the web that provide writers willing to place informed posts on your forum as a means of priming the pump. This may not be a solution for every forum, but if you’d like to give your forum a good kick-start you may want to allocate some funds for the purpose of a series of start-up posts that allow guests to perceive your forum as one with activity and one worth participating in.

“Customers buy for their reasons, not yours.” – Orvel Ray Wilson

Let the Experts Convene

Everyone is an expert on something. It is possible some of your customers can provide expert assistance to others that use your forum. Many forum boards ultimately find themselves directed by members who simply have a knowledge of your product or service and how best to utilize and pass along that information. This can be valuable because you gain an expert voice at no cost to you while visitors gain insight from someone who has had experience in the use of your product.

Many of these same individuals may be interested in assuming a moderators position for the forum. They will likely do this without pay and will work to keep it on track if for no other reason than they have discovered an online community they want to see continue.

“Trends, like horses, are easier to ride in the direction they are going.” – John Naisbitt

The trend in online marketing is likely to change over time given the rapid advances in technology, however the use of forum boards and other marketing tools that are proving themselves should be something you consider and implement whenever possible.

Scott Lindsay is a web developer and entrepreneur. He is the founder of HighPowerSites and many other web projects.

Rock Songwriting Forum

Are you a rock music song writer seeking to get fresh songwriting ideas for churning out hit rock songs? Or are you interested in meeting like-minded individuals to exchange ideas about writing lyrics of rock music? Then joining a rock songwriting forum will be great. Why a rock songwriting forum?

The reason is that in the forum you don’t only get to meet like-minded people, but you also get to promote your own songs and lyrics plus find great resources to enhance your songwriting career. As a popular scripture says “iron sharpens iron”, you get to learn a lot as you exchange ideas and grow to become an excellent song writer.

Once you have decided to join a rock songwriting forum, go in there as student wanting to learn how to create excellent rock music. Do not take constructive criticism too personally especially when a member of the forum critiques your lyrics. Be ready to accept them and strive always to accept the objectivity of peoples critique as it allows you to judge your song/lyrics through their eyes.

Being objective about the critique of forum members doesn’t mean you have to compromise on your abilities. The constructive criticisms should rather help you become better at your craft. Sometimes what they suggest might be an important thing that you might have overlooked. You therefore must be ready to re-write your lyric to make it a lot more better.

Certain times, you may want to offer advice to a member of the rock songwriting forum. Just be honest with your comment but do it tactfully. Why tactfully? This is because you have to say it such that the person does not feel bad about it. So always point out the good first, before pointing out the bad aspects of the song.

So where can you find a rock songwriting forum? Just do a search on google.com and you will find several forums to join online. Songwriting can literally determine how your music career will be. So it is better to keep learning. The more you know the more you can achieve. So leverage the power of forums and become a rock lyric superstar.

Free Highly Targeted Leads? Try This Forum Marketing Strategy

Would you like free highly targeted leads for your business? The source of these leads and the high quality may surprise you and yes I said free, don’t be put off by some people’s bad experiences who say that you need to have huge sums of money to produce leads of any worth, this just isn’t true. You really can actually market effectively for free, this isn’t a myth, trust me, if you are prepared to learn and put in a great deal of consistent work on a daily basis then you can create a large number of free highly targeted leads for your internet network marketing business. I really can show you how to generate the numbers of leads that you desire to build your business online without a marketing budget.

What I’m about to show you is only one of 15 to 20+ free traffic generation strategies that will allow you to grow your Internet network marketing business. Not only will this help you to increase the number of leads you bring on a daily basis, but will also help you build relationships within the targeted niches that you’ll be contributing to.

The method of marketing I want to talk about in this article is a forum marketing strategy, now as I alluded to in the previous paragraph this is only one element of your overall free marketing strategy. With this strategy if applied consistently you could generate free highly targeted leads averaging 3-5 per day. If you target your audience effectively by participating in relevant forums, tailoring your landing page, offer, product or service to them, then I believe you could exceed this figure.

You’ll need to check the forum rules regarding advertising or affiliate links, in this case your only promotion will be passively through your signature file, you will under no circumstances overtly promote your business, products or services. If you add value, are constructive and helpful within the forum community, you will come to be seen as someone who knows, someone knowledgeable, someone who gets things done. There will be a natural curiosity to learn more about you and what you have to offer, which will take people through to your landing page or your blog, call it a form of the much vaunted attraction marketing.

The pivot point of your forum marketing effort will be focused upon your signature file, you will need to construct a very effective marketing catch line to maximise your click through rate, you will likely only have between 2 to 5 lines to work with. There is a typical tendency to resort to the usual worn out old ad copy “I’m an ad read me!” With this type of approach you don’t stand much of a chance on the Internet, it likely will not get read. (it’s a strange paradox because off-line, in traditional advertising media these types of ads work very well). The aim here is to stand apart from the inexperienced crowd, avoid hyperbole, exclamation marks, capital letters and multiple colours, it smacks of amateurism.

You will need to feature something of interest to your market, it will need to be something of genuine value or newsworthy in some way. You can get some great ideas from magazines editorial headlines or blurb headlines used on glossy magazine covers. This form of copywriting can be adapted for your purposes and has been thoroughly tested and split tested so as to effectively produce results, you would likely only need to rework this copy in a very minor way to meet your own requirements, for example 7 Secrets of Attraction Marketing Revealed, Read More Here… 9 Facts Why Most Network Marketing Businesses Fail Learn More Here…

You get the picture, get creative, and take many examples from the the editorial copy of magazines, remember as mentioned earlier not from the advertising copy of traditional media, they’ve done a lot of work and have a lot of experience in writing compelling headlines that catch peoples attention and compel people to take action, which is exactly the result you want.

Now you’ve created your editorial style “hook” in your signature, with a link back to lead capture landing page or blog, simply just enter the conversation by contributing to the overall discussion, providing help and solutions to fellow members. As mentioned earlier “never overtly promote your business” If you do you’ll likely get flamed, chastised in no uncertain terms and could face the likelihood of getting booted out of the forum if you persist.

A list of the most effective forums and the specific tactics I use to maximise this forum marketing strategy can be found on my marketing blog or by sending a blank email, you can do this by clicking the links below.

Forum Etiquette – Don’t Feed the Troll

A forum, by definition, is an open-communication arena where like-minded individuals can share and help each other – be it for a game, a particular subject, or even for a medical condition. So what do you do if you receive a comment that makes you cringe, a review that makes you rant, or feedback you’d like to forget?

Do you try to explain yourself or debate that person? Do you try to reason with them and show them the error of their ways? Do you take it personally?

If so, you may be opening yourself to an internet troll. What you can expect is a laundry list of insults toward everything from your writing style to your mama’s heritage.

When you’ve spent the time and energy to research and write a great piece, or you simply voiced an innocuous opinion in an open forum, being sniper-hit by some anonymous creep can be truly disheartening. Why do they do that?

Simply put, they have nothing better to do.

The internet is a wonderful place to learn and share ideas. People from all walks of life, all over the planet, can discuss their experiences and expertise in a seemingly safe environment. The problem is that it is a safe environment for everyone – including bullies. Anonymity breeds boldness. They can say anything they want and not have to face any consequences. Bullies thrive on the internet, especially in forums.

IDENTIFYING A TRUE TROLL

You don’t want to overreact. You can get a bad taste in your mouth from a random post or get your feelings hurt by someone who didn’t mean any harm, this is perfectly natural. Take a breath and make sure you’re not taking something personally that might not have even been meant for you. Before you start a war, make sure you’ve got a real troll on your hands. Here is a three-step process to spot a troll:

#1: Identify the difference between constructive feedback and insults.

It happens. You spelled “its” or “their” wrong. You posted a dead link or asked a question in the wrong area. You cross-posted by accident. Some well-intentioned person lets you know. You thank them and fix it. End of exchange. This is not a troll, this is a person who truly desires to help out – we are all in this together. Constructive feedback is how we learn and grow. This is how forums work for the greater good. This is not a troll, this is a kindred spirit.

#2: Determine their agenda

As you can see, most people just want to help. Some are curious, and some simply don’t know any better. Be gracious, but don’t be too lenient. Frankly, a true troll’s agenda is always the same: they want attention, and the more negative, the better. They thrive on being mean.

#3: Determine if the offender is knowingly baiting you.

Are they new to the forum? Are they new to the internet? Is their first language the same as yours? Are they genuinely curious or just jerks? These are very important questions that are relatively easy to answer, just read their other posts. The difference between a newbie and a troll is intent and tenacity.

INTENT: True trolls spend their time scanning the web for anything that will allow them pick fights. They are very good at what they do. Most of us envision some pimply-faced loser giggling to himself as he corrects your grammar and insults your historical references or OS, but this isn’t what the average troll looks like. The meanest and most effective trolls are over-educated snobs that simply love to argue. They honestly feel that they are better than most everyone else (even though they obviously have an abundance of free time due to their lack of actual friends) Think “Frasier” with PMS and severe mommy issues. These trolls will spend hours crafting the perfect comeback and, even though their wording may be artfully fashioned, their attacks have about as much class (and purpose) as a drive-by egging. Their intent: bully someone until they cyber-cry.

TENACITY: No matter what you do, these bullies will not give in. They simply won’t let go, even if they’re proven wrong. You can’t win, period. They have the tenacity of a pitbull on steroids, minus the cuddliness.

Bottom line: If you are viciously attacked for an honest mistake, a question, or a valid opinion in an open forum, you can assume you have a troll on your hands.

HANDLING A TROLL

How do you handle an internet troll? There is only one rule:

#1: Do. Not. Engage.

Replying to a troll only encourages them. They will continue to argue, bash, and rant even if you agree with them. Many blogs and forums have pictures reminding you to “DNFTT” – do not feed the trolls. Heed them. Remember, a troll’s food is attention – any attention. You have the right to ignore, delete, unfriend, or whatever other method is available to silence them, depending on the site. Let it go. They are not worth your efforts.

For those sites that do not allow you to monitor and/or delete comments (a certain bookseller named after a large river comes to mind), just let the trolls do their thing. Do not answer them or try to explain yourself, you’ll only make yourself look worse. Most people recognize a troll when they see one. If you investigate, you’ll find that (assuming they consistently use the same user name) they are never helpful to anyone. They are always cranky. No one else will pay attention to them, so neither should you.

Don’t fall into the troll-feeding trap. Let them starve and seek victims elsewhere. You have better things to do. Happy posting!

A Forum Post is Useful For Rapidly Generating Traffic To Your Website

The initial thing to keep in mind about using forums to make traffic to your website is that the classic forum is designed for humans seeking information, not for search engines looking reciprocal links and other factors to conclude page rankings. Although you can include links to your posts and pages in your comments in a forum, these are mostly ignored by search engine spiders as they are infrequently linked to by other sites. Also, public who constantly promote their site on these platforms without actually contributing to the discussion is likely to be ignored or even harassesed by the expected forum users.

The most essential way to utilize forums to generate traffic to your site is to participate in them as a human being who is genuinely interested in growing their understanding of the subject matter. Proffer advice, answer questions and pose questions of your own on dialogue sites that have viewers that overlap with the audience you are seeking for your website. Then, when you can, present links to your site as a way to find out more related content or as a store for troubleshooting or answering a question. Since my sites take around a half hour each to build, it becomes a very valuable tool to not have to wait around a long time (more than a week) to get the site indexed, ranked and earning

In this way you’ll construct credibility and a sympathetic reputation with genuine live website users that will go back to your site again and again. One more thing to keep in brain about forums is that they are not designed to be personal complaining opinions or a means for you to secretly harass your contest in plain view of the globe. It is essential to consider playing by the regulations of the forum or it could really perform as negative experience for both you and your business. Thinking before you chat in a forum, just as you would if you were inserting on a sales presentation for a prospective customer or investor. Try to be constructive and treat other members of the discussion with the absolutely you yourself ambition.

10 Easy Ways to Handle Constructive Criticism

Surveys are a great way to do market research and to understand the preference of your target market. Besides that, in web design and development we have usability testing too. The test is a way to spot not only website usability weaknesses but the effectiveness of a well designed user interface (UI).

Advertising agencies on the other hand have design surveys to help identify if the new loge they may be proposing works with the target audience. With the Internet, many designers now find their feedback from blogs, forums, social networking sites and online portfolios. But I’ve seen many come under the pressure of the harsh comments or sweet compliments. So how do you keep your cool and handle it well?

What is constructive criticism?

Constructive criticism is the process of offering valid and well-reasoned opinions about the work of others, usually involving both positive and negative comments, in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one. In collaborative work, this kind of criticism is often a valuable tool in raising and maintaining performance standards. Source: Wikipedia

How can you tell or filter out the constructive criticism from normal comments? To be honest, there isn’t a way to do this. That’s why the pressure is high when you ask a dozen other designers to comment on your own design. In my humble opinion, constructive criticism is as the line from Wikipedia states – criticism often…in raising and maintaining performance standards.

So if you came under the pressure, you don’t have to blow your top and eventually find acne somewhere on your face because of this. Here are 10 easy ways to help you (especially in web design) handle constructive criticism at your favourite forum or even blog.

10. Analyze the criticism or review made

There will be those who are easily satisfiable while there are those with high expectations. Before you do anything, just take your time to read through their comments. And if you have to, read it over again.

9. Answer their questions (if any)

It’s polite to answer the person who’s given you a question. You should also be more worried if they didn’t ask you a question because it would mean they didn’t understand or you weren’t clear on your request for criticism.

8. Do NOT involve your emotions

You requested for the criticism by saying, “please comment my…” or “please review this…”. If a critic didn’t have any nice things to say, thank them and reply you will try your best to satisfy their expectation in future. By venting your emotions towards them is a personal attack and worst of all, is unprofessional.

7. Reply offensive comments in a mature manner

If someone only said, “you suck..” or something along the lines don’t be on the offensive and try to bash them in return. Instead, pause and think about it for a moment. Think about what to say which will empower you in a better position to the offensive comment left behind. Another advice is, thank the person again and end it there.

6. Do NOT be afraid to apologize

Many are afraid to apologize when they are in the wrong. It could be ego or it could be some other God given reason they are abusing. Instead of just being humble, try using an apology as your nuclear bomb as your nuclear bomb next time. After all, you know you can’t satisfy everyone in the world.

5. Do NOT be an elitist (or think like you’re the last person on Earth)

As I have said, you are not the only person in the world. Although you may be in a cult who executes others who do not comply with your life principles, it does not mean they do not have a fair share of criticism. Don’t try turning them your way but educate them to understand your way.

4. No two individuals speak the same way

Internet communication (without voice) is an easily misinterpreted medium. Even if I left “Ha ha ha…” some would mistake it as sarcasm while others would see it as a laugh. Therefore, do not assume everyone is criticizing the same thing in the same way.

3. If it is a lost cause, do NOT pursue the problem

Generally, lost causes to me are scenarios where I have done my best to educate the person but they still refuse to be educated. Therefore, I would apologize and just say I will try to satisfy their requirements in the future. By claiming you have a solution planned, it will help you end the problem early without more emotional damage.

2. Do NOT judge a group you are asking for criticism

A very good example is when a designer said, “…I’ve been doing html website since u guys start learning html…” Never ever ever generalize your critics as it will follow you till the end. In addition to that, you will only self-inflict emotional damage to yourself later. Instead of making such a remark, maturely handle the situation with one of the earlier tips I said.

And the number one way to handle constructive criticism from my person view is…

1. Always be humble

No one likes a wise *ss. And most definitely, no one would want to hear how you are God or the most renown web designer in the world. Fame is one thing but it can come in many ways. By staying humble, people will respect you more and will naturally grow to like you better.

With these 10 easy ways to handle constructive criticism, I hope you will be prepared the next time you ask for constructive criticism.

I’m the author of Websites Made Simple; a Malaysia web design blog that exists to share my experiences and knowledge. Currently, I head a small web design and development team in a company I co-founded; Simpleet Solutions, located in Malaysia.

Get Results From Forum Marketing With This Guide

What Is Forum Marketing

As the name suggests, forum marketing is a way of gaining traffic from the forums by contributing to the content. There are so many forums available online covering any topics that you can think off. But to think of it, if you stumble across any topics that are not covered by any forums, do let me know (if you know what I mean).

Common Mistakes In Forum Marketing

1) Spamming

There are thousands of people who know that forums are a good channel to drive traffic and focus their attention on it. As a result, they spam the forums with zero value comments and posts. Forum marketing is about quality content rather than quantity count.

2) Not using eye-catching forum signature

Forum signature is an area where you can display text or links of your choice. This is the link you want the forum readers to click which will lead back to your blog. But often, I see casually written signature display on it which doesn’t create any urge for the forum readers to click on it.

Achieve This Before Linking To Your Blog

As a rule of thumb, try getting up to 50 posts first before even recommending people to read your blog. Always give before thinking of receiving. Avoid being seen as a spammer by forum members as it will hurt your credibility in the long run. In most cases that I have seen, the easiest way to get banned by a forum is to start posting links to your website on your very first post and this is what I don’t want it to happen to you.

Post 1 unique entry on your blog and put it as your forum signature. This increases the chances of forum members clicking on your link. Make the link description as compelling as possible.

Leveraging From Forums

My advice is to concentrate on 1-2 forums by posting regular comments as well as articles for better results. Find threads that you can add valuable comments on it and do it everyday. Build up your forum profile and you can easily leverage from it. Alternatively, you can start a new thread to share on your experiences of the topic and at the same time provide a lesson for the forum members to learn from your story.

Participate in forums that have active members and fresh threads are being created everyday to discuss on different questions. In this way, you are exposing your content and at the same time being more productive when you leave comments on the thread.

Tips To Improve Forum Marketing

1) Use compelling forum signature

There are simply too many signature links in a forum and how do you make yours attractive for the forum members to click on it? You can use my technique by creating a unique article and post it on your blog. Include the article link on your forum signature to drive traffic to your blog.

2) Use real name

You should be trying to get your name out to your topic market as much as possible and thus using your real name in the forum is a must. You notice that I am trying very hard to tell you to build up your credibility because we are living in a cruel world.

People only follow and believe what you say after you have carved a name for yourself. They will then be all out to get your attention because they hope to get some benefit out from you. I know everyone goes through the same process but shorten the time frame needed to build your credibility online.

3) Post only constructive comments and articles

Contribute only when you can add to the value. Do not post for the sake of increasing your post count in the forum. I need to stress on the importance of quality in forum marketing because there are simply tons of competition in it.

Wei Liang

How to Effectively Use Market Forums

Marketing forums online is an extremely powerful method of taking your business name out to the wider masses, and of course it sets you on the global scene of business itself. Like most organic marketing methods this one has no cost attached to it and in addition to getting yourself out there, you can indeed pick up a huge amount of information for yourself which you might not have been aware of beforehand. So essentially forums can be used twofold – firstly, getting your business name and reputation out to the world and secondly, receiving beneficial information for continuing growth of your business. Let’s take a further look at this successful marketing tool.

Believe it or not, using forums for your marketing can be fun as well as an important business tool. You may find yourself being carried away with intrigue as you delve into the mass of information that others have left and then using that information to further your success.

Don’t forget that you obviously need to use forums which are applicable to your own cause. Using the correct forums will drive more traffic to your website. As with most tools, there are good and bad forums so keep a check that you’re using the ones which have lots of traffic for example, or ones where the visitors use the forum with respect and in a business like manner. To find a relevant forum just type into a search engine “your niche forum”, for example “office equipment forum”.

You will be looking for those forums which have like minded people contributing their experience and knowledge as opposed to those who blatantly promote themselves and nothing more. This type can be destructive to your cause as they actually drive traffic away from the given forum.

Before you join any forum, check it out. Are the visitors giving constructive information whilst complimenting the information given by others? Is the information even relevant to your cause? Is there a moderator on the forum checking visitors’ contributions? If there is no moderator, the forum may well be rife with blatant self promotion which is certainly not what you want to be a part of.

Once you have found your forum which is apt for your business, you can start contributing. So how are you going to do this on a level which is beneficial to your business?

The obvious one to all will be to post comments and information regularly. Your posts simply must be relevant and up to date as your readers want rich, valuable information to drive themselves forward also. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you can just post on there whatever you want just for the sake of getting your name plastered all over the internet. You will not succeed. If there is a moderator on the forum, he or she will put a stop to your self promotion rather rapidly and ultimately may even ban you from the site for life. If there is no moderator on the forum then the other visitors to the site will soon become aware of what you are doing and will do their best to drive you from the forum site.

So only post when you really do have worthwhile information to give. This form of action will give you lots of credibility as others will eventually know that when you post information, it is actually beneficial to themselves. They may even search you out for valuable pointers to help their business. Following from this method you can see that it is better to post less, with valuable information, rather than post more but with self promotion. To verify this, check out a regular on any forum and see how he or she is doing.

Another method of using marketing forums is to optimise your posts for the search engines. Understand that search engines just love fresh information or content as it is also known and will rank this type of information highly as opposed to old and sometimes copied information which will not help your cause at all. Don’t forget to use lots of relevant keywords to drive the traffic to your posts. Again, don’t overdo it, but certainly make sure they are there. If you have fresh content in all of your posts you will without doubt drive lots of healthy and targeted traffic to them.

This method may not be for everyone but you can actually set up your own forum on the internet. Yes you can, but you may need some experience and expertise in this area so it’s not for any newbie’s out there. It will take you some time and effort and really is a long term method so you will be some time before your new forum becomes lively with visitors. And don’t forget there are already quite a large number of forums on the internet. This method you may consider as food for thought only.

As you can see, forums are an easy to use method of promoting your website to make money. But please remember to use them with respect as they are most certainly not a tool for blatant self promotion and doing this will bring much harm to your business rather than success.

Use the forums professionally with other like minded individuals and always post information which is fresh and relevant to the cause not forgetting to include those golden keywords. If you keep to this approach the forums will prove to be an invaluable asset to your business.

John Milligan

Don’t Forget About Forums!

Forums are everywhere and are great for people to ask questions and discuss services and products. Some businesses interpret a forum into their website whilst others use a forum as their website.

Forums and message boards are still as important as these are the places people go to if they have a question. You can use your expertise to answer these questions or join in on a discussion or debate about a topic which will draw more respect and attention to you and your business.

There aren’t that many online marketing companies who will provide a social media strategy that includes forum use so here is an idea as to what you can do as a business to start participating with the online community:

1. Find the right forums for you

There are so many forums out there that if you try and participate in even half of them, then this could take up way too much of your time. Instead find the right ones for you where you can truly show off your expertise and services/products.

How about asking your co-workers, suppliers and clients where they spend their time online and where they would go to get a question answered or to get information on a topic as you can use this research to give you an idea of what you are looking for.

Construct a list of around 6-9 forums that you feel best suit your business and expertise by looking for forums that have a large number of members, try to avoid forums that have quite a lot of spam and definitely avoid forums that are run by your direct competitors.

2. Start setting up your accounts

People who visit forums respect the answers and views of members who have been registered to the forum for a long period of time, these members are in fact given a start rating or a title once they have either posted a certain number of posts or have been registered with the forum for a period of time. So don’t dawdle, get your account set up and start posting (but don’t spam) as soon as possible so you reach that high status.

Forum marketing is a long-term strategy so don’t start setting up profiles and posting for a month and then stop, keep on top of it and view at as your own marketing channel.

3. Make sure you read the guidelines

As with most things when registering, you will be asked to agree to the terms and conditions, make sure you read these as you do not want to be suspended or banned from a forum for posting a link in a post that you should have known otherwise if you had read the guidelines. All forums have their own different rules so please make sure you read each of their guidelines and don’t just read one and think that counts for all.

4. Choose a clever and relevant username and avatar

One of the first things people see will be your avatar (a small picture that represents you… not a character from the movie!) and username so think about what you choose. Pick a username that is relevant to your business but is also easy to remember and pronounce, do not choose a username that has deliberate misspellings or involves numbers if you can.

Your avatar will be attached to each and every one of your posts and clearly visible to other members. Try going for a professional headshot of yourself looking cheerful as this can make the best avatar.

5. Create a profile that will impress and engage

This is where you can describe your expertise and experience so make the most of it and make sure people will read it. I would add a couple of hobbies or something personal like your favourite football club so that it doesn’t turn out to be a sales pitch which can put members off from reading it.

Provide contact information like an email address so that people who interested in your business can contact you for more information. To avoid spam and identity thieves avoid using information that you don’t want to be made public such as your mobile telephone number.

Remember forums are great places to ask questions and receive very helpful answers and are a big platform for brands.

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