DISCLAIMER: I am not a professional forum marketer. The follows is what I’ve found to work for me and what I’ve seen work for others.
Can’t guarantee your mileage.
There is no doubt that forums can drive traffic to your website.
No big secret there.
But SO many people do it wrong.
Now, I am not that naive that I don’t know some people (many it “seems”) only post on forums to get a link back or only to “try” and drive traffic. I know many folks are not there to even try to contribute in a meaningful way. Only getting what they want.
Always going to be those who abuse.
But… let’s get back to the positive.
For those who want to brand themselves, build a reputation and actually build a business or an income, let’s talk about it.
For those who only want to use and abuse forums, stop reading now. I don’t want to waste my breath or your time.
Seriously, stop reading now if this doesn’t pertain to you.
Sure you want to continue?
Is that your finally answer?
I want to talk to the folks who are trying to build a serious business that lasts. That stands the test of time.
You know who you are.
One other thing, I know there are folks who might even say or think forum marketing is too time consuming to bother with. While I agree it can be a time suck (if you let it), there are a few important reasons it can be worth your effort.
Okay, since you asked…
Benefits of Forum Marketing:
Another traffic channel – Not every blog commenter hangs out on a forum and not every forum member comments on blog. Yep, another way to get new customers or clients.
New Connections – I don’t know about you, but one of the best things I’ve found with blog commenting, is the people I’ve met and the new connections I’ve made. Priceless. Same holds true for forums. It can be a great way to network. You never know who you might make friends with.
Branding – Here’s something I believe SO many people don’t give enough thought. We should always be branding our selves or our business. Now, I am not talking about constant promotion, that’s quite different. I am talking more about building your reputation.
Stand Out – What makes forums a little “better” for branding is the fact that you can stand out a little more. Let’s be honest… your comment on a blog could and often does, get lost among the sea of replies. While a forum post usually gets more attention. Why? How? Most forum posts do not get 100’s of replies. There are some, and it depends on the forum, but they are far and few between.
Now that we’ve covered the benefits, time to get to the tactics.
The Center Of Attention
One of the best aspects of a forum is that YOU can start your own posts. This is the REAL power. This is when you start to actually get seen as, or at the least be perceived as someone who knows something.
This is where you start to build your reputation.
The good stuff.
Now, I know putting up your own forum posts can be intimidating. Starting a post on some forums can be downright scary. But if you really want to be “someone”, you need to do this.
And you can do it. I know you can.
If you’re a little skiddish about putting yourself out there, here’s a couple idea’s that might help…
• Get some feedback BEFORE posting. Ask an online friend, heck even a family member, to read your post before you post it.
• Start with smaller forums, they can be less intimidating and could help to build up your confidence.
On to the next one…
Be A Real Person
Funny how people use their real name on places like facebook and other social platforms, but when it comes to forums, they often have all these strange names.
Again, the strange named might not be concerned with branding.
But if you want to brand yourself, it’s only common sense to use your REAL name.
Who’s going to remember Krl422?
Or some other weird, hard to pronounce or hard to spell member name.
Make it easy for people to remember you and they will mention you more often. That’s when you become more.
Be a REAL part of the community
Dang this should be so common sense, but unfortunately it’s not.
Now, this one can be quite powerful if you do forum marketing correctly. It’s something I don’t think many give a thought.
It’s networking. It’s making connections. It’s making buddies.
When you make yourself a part of the community, you get to know the regulars and some of those regulars can become not only friends, but those connections could lead into big things.
And it’s so easy.
Simple engage with others on the forum.
Mention other members by name.
Here’s how to make it even easier… treat it like real life interactions.
When we talk to people face to face, do we go on and on about ourselves? Not if we want to make or keep our friends.
In real life, do we speak with others as if we did not even hear what they said? Of course not.
We know how it works in the flesh, but for whatever reason, when it comes to online, far too many don’t seem to care much about others. They speak as if they are the only one in the room.
Don’t get me wrong, most every forum has a core group that do make themselves a part of the community. They get it.
Now let’s talk about…
Use Your Real Picture
Most people don’t like pictures of themselves. Well, unless you’re a Kardashian.
But, if you want to build a real reputation, along with your real name, your real picture is another part of the equation.
And, please, if you’re serious about this, DON’T use a picture of a celebrity. Or a cartoon character.
While we are on the subject…
No Hot Girls Allowed
It’s an age old tactic, but some “marketers” still think they will gain in some way if their profile picture is some scantily clad hot girl. It might get them some hits or attention, but rarely do those kind of members last. I doubt it even get’s them the kind of attention they want. Though, I guess it depends on what they are selling.
But, who is even going to take that kind of member seriously?
It’s not a good long term strategy.
And frankly it can be a little creepy if you ask me.
Not to mention, it’s not exactly professional.
If that matters.
It’s already been said
Sure I am not the only one that gets annoyed when people say the exact same thing that someone else has already said.
It’s like really? Didn’t someone already say that? Didn’t I just say that?
If you’re going to repeat what’s already been posted, at the very least acknowledge the person(s) that’s already said it. And add something extra or something or value. Otherwise, what’s the sense of replying? You’ll just look like a fool.
Plus, this all goes back to building relationships with other members. Acknowledging what another member has said gives you’re the opportunity to connect with them.
Thank You Goes A Long Way
If you ask a question on a forum, or ask for a review of your website, or anything else you might want to know, make sure to thank those who have given a good response. They’ve taken their time to help you; they at least deserve some appreciation.
Not only is it the proper way to show your appreciation, but it can be a step to forging relationships with others on the forum.
Obviously this was not meant to be a complete guide on proper and successful forum marketing, but I hope it’s been helpful.
Do you have anything to add?[easy-tweet tweet=”Is Forum Marketing a part of your promotional routine?” hashtags=”marketing”]
I’d love to hear what you have to say, so please leave a comment below. Don’t be shy now.
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