How do you use a VA for forum commenting without spamming?

20 replies
Hey all,

A couple of months ago I hired a VA to do some forum commenting to drive some traffic. I also wanted to know the questions the market had about a specific subject so I could use them in my product development.

In return I offered to post the download link for the product for free.

A lot of people in the forums screamed spam simply because I had posted this on several forums. All I simply wanted to do was get in touch with the market. I thought I was creating decent value by giving the product away for free.

I didn't post any links nor did I ask for anything other than what questions they had about a subject.

How do I use a VA to do forum commenting and still maintain my reputation? The last thing in the world I want to do is spam the forums.

Perhaps I need to create more value directly in the post?

Thanks

Brandon
#commenting #forum #spamming
  • Profile picture of the author noble
    I find the best way is to respond to topics with a knowledgable answer and have the link to your site (niche related of course) in your sig. Not only are you being helpful but you come across as knowledgeable and this builds more trust for this clicking through to your site.

    If you want to create threads then make them very rewarding and, again, don't even try to soft sell in the just leave your link in your sig.
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  • Profile picture of the author moneyblogger1
    Thanks Noble for the response,

    What would you recommend then if we are not the experts? We have a product series model in which we work with experts to create products/content. Just like the dummies series or ehow.com/about.com

    Just post some content from our site?
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  • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
    Most forums scream bloody murder at even a sniff of a marketer. The best way to do it, IMO, is to first build up at least 50-100 posts or so with strictly helpful posts and engaging within the forum. Then you can add a sig to your website, but make sure it's a content page and not a squeeze page or sales page. You can always have a link at the bottom of the content page to link them somewhere else, but don't make the link in the sig directly to a squeeze or sales page.

    Of course make sure you can post a link to your site in the sig by reading the rules of the forum and just lurking around and seeing if other do it.

    And never leave a link to your site in your posts. Again, this will raise flags. If anything post links to OTHER sites that are not yours.
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  • Profile picture of the author moneyblogger1
    Hey Bill,

    Thanks for the response.

    Yeah, they were basically treating me like I went in there and made some crazy hard pitch or something.

    What's the point of doing this if you can't send them to a squeeze page? Just for the backlinks?
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    • Profile picture of the author Ken Strong
      I don't think anyone has answered the OP's original question yet, which was: How do you use a VA for forum commenting without spamming?

      IMHO, you can't. At least not on this forum. Hiring someone else to make posts in your name for the purpose of driving traffic IS spamming.

      This is a discussion forum about online marketing. Any direct marketing you do takes place in the WSO and other paid advertising sections. In the discussion sections. you discuss. If you're making a positive contribution to the forum, you'll probably make money as a side effect. But if your primary and ONLY purpose is to expose your links and get traffic, then it's spam.
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      • Profile picture of the author Black Hat Cat
        Banned
        There was a product called nanobloggers that came out a year or so ago that recommended participating in forums for traffic. The problems outlined in this thread are exactly why I questioned the validity of the product. And apparently I was on to something because the creator of the frauduct was never able to deliver the case study he promised on the sales letter. In one of his examples(that I suspect he made up), he said he posted about a bicycle that was on sale, and sent people to his blog, and eventually made a few thousand in sales that day. Now, how many forums do you know of that will let you do that?

        Meanwhile, contrary to Ken's point, paying someone to participate in forums for you is not spam in and of itself. And he's quite naive if he believes no one here is getting paid to post for someone else.

        If they participate, make knowledgeable posts, etc, just like everyone else is doing, that doesn't magically become spam simply because you're paying someone to do it. So there's your answer. They have to post relevant, on-topic content. They have to participate just like everyone else is doing. Then, after a few weeks and a few dozen posts, put a link in the sig. If they came out on day one blasting trash posts with sig links everywhere, that's not going to fly.

        One caveat though. Look at the other sig files before posting. Are other members using their sigs to promote anything? If no one is doing it, that's probably not going to be a good place to post.
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    • Profile picture of the author mailey
      Someone a is never going to be conerned about the job as much as yourself, it is best to do the job yourself if you can.
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    • Profile picture of the author Bill_Z
      Originally Posted by moneyblogger1 View Post

      Hey Bill,

      Thanks for the response.

      Yeah, they were basically treating me like I went in there and made some crazy hard pitch or something.

      What's the point of doing this if you can't send them to a squeeze page? Just for the backlinks?
      You will get a bit of link juice yea, but the purpose of forum marketing is mainly for traffic IMO. It's not an easy thing to do. But I didn't pick up on the fact that you wanted the VA to act as you. That's probably not something you want to get involved in. You don't want the VA to act as you, saying things you might not say. I was speaking from the health/beauty niche specifically...I have used someone in the past that knew quite a bit about the particular market I was in, and they posted to a forum with helpful info and with a link to my site in their sig. If they didn't know the answer, the searched google to give an opinion. Most people that ask questions on forums, don't bother using google..so my VA did alot of google searching for people
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  • Profile picture of the author moneyblogger1
    Hey Ken,

    Hmmm fair point. I tend to agree with you. How do you then leverage the use of outsourcing and still keep it white hat?

    I'm not just talking about forum marketing but all aspects of IM. You hear of so many people outsourcing traffic gen. From an ethical stand point how is it done?
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  • Profile picture of the author BruceWood
    Hiring out our activities is an attractive option- but it's rare to get a VA who is sensitive to the results of their actions. If you ask them to post links, they'll do exactly that. Maybe more specific instructions would include "post 50 responses, then add my link in the signature and post 50 more"?
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  • i don't think it can be done, but i have been wrong in the past. good luck!
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  • Profile picture of the author J Bold
    I figured you were talking about non-IM niche. Usually in the IM niche you want to make a name for yourself so your posts on forums should be your own.

    However, for other niches, you could try this but it would be really, really hard to find someone who is going to give good responses on forums. Forums are about discussion and if you just give them a copy and paste answer to post on a bunch of forums than frankly it is spam.

    Also, if you want to know the questions the market has, just read the forums! It's pretty simple to see what people are asking and having trouble with if you just take a look at some of the threads people have started. This is true for just about any niche or forum, really. You don't even need to start a thread trying to get people to tell you their problems, everything you need regarding market research is already there if you just look.
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  • Profile picture of the author vegasfitness
    Originally Posted by moneyblogger1 View Post

    Hey all,

    A couple of months ago I hired a VA to do some forum commenting to drive some traffic. I also wanted to know the questions the market had about a specific subject so I could use them in my product development.

    In return I offered to post the download link for the product for free.

    A lot of people in the forums screamed spam simply because I had posted this on several forums. All I simply wanted to do was get in touch with the market. I thought I was creating decent value by giving the product away for free.

    I didn't post any links nor did I ask for anything other than what questions they had about a subject.

    How do I use a VA to do forum commenting and still maintain my reputation? The last thing in the world I want to do is spam the forums.

    Perhaps I need to create more value directly in the post?

    Thanks

    Brandon
    My VA wants to do this type of forum commenting and I am very leary of it. Isn't there a better way?
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  • Profile picture of the author pdrs
    Using a $2-4 an hour person for commenting is almost never going to provide quality helpful answers and help build your brand/awareness. If you really don't want to do it yourself but are serious about building the brand maybe check out your local universities and find a good knowledgeable student who needs to make some money part time. You'll have to pay more, but you get what you pay for!
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    RemoteControlHelicopterReviews.(com/net) - Up for sale! No reasonable offer refused. Great branding for a super hot niche!
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  • Profile picture of the author Daws0n
    Well, people do forum posting to get a little bit of link juice & sometimes for traffic
    the best way to do it is by contributing in the threads and by helping others, if you just keep on posting you links in posts wondering that it will make you rich overnight, then it will not going to happen ... you can put your link in your signature and instead of buying a forum poster you can buy signature links of people who already got some handful of posts and are active members

    Hope this helps
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    I don't have a signature dude!
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarah Russell
    I think a lot of it comes down to choosing the right forums first. Forum communities are very protective of their space - I know, because I'm part of at least one non-IM forum on a personal level where even posting a link to anything that looks marketing-related in your signature is an issue.

    So if you want to do forum commenting, look first for the forums where people are more comfortable with links in signature files. You probably aren't going to find many that will be receptive to any kind of posts that come across as self-promotional (even posts that offer people something free in exchange for information are likely going to be shot down, even though I know a lot of people used to recommend this technique).

    But as far as outsourcing the forum posting, that's really tricky. If you want to do it, you've got to have someone who knows the niche well, as "imposters" usually get shot down and won't build the right image for your brand anyways. Maybe instead you could use your VA to simply identify forums and specific threads that would be good for you to post on? That would at least cut down some of the work and all you'd have to do would be to click over and comment.
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