Forum Marketing - Advice Please

8 replies
I've been looking into forum marketing and I've come up with a basic plan:

1. Find forums in my niche
2. Participate in useful posts - join conversations; add value
3. Add signature once established - include a "call to action"

There are obviously some important things to consider:

1. When searching for suitable forums, I obviously want to look at the number of members, how active the forum is and whether or not they allow signature links. Can anyone add to this, or give me guide figures e.g. minimum number of members etc.

2. I'm not sure how many forums I should post to, or how many posts per forum per day. I figured it would be best to start slow until I get the hang of it, then gradually ramp it up. I would like an idea of the minimum amount of posting required to be effective as a starting point, and if there is an optimum amount, a point of diminishing returns.

I realise it's impossible to give exact figures, and I suppose it varies with different niches. I'm just looking for rough guidelines.

I would appreciate any help.

Cheers

Mark
#advice #forum #marketing
  • Profile picture of the author JimDucharme
    Hi Mark,

    For years now I've said: Communities drive the web and without them, it's just one big strip mall with infinite parking.

    WF is a great example of just that.

    There's no forumla that I know of for this kind of thing. I think you have a pretty good handle on it. Participate, be sincere and add value and people will appreciate that. Build relationships and reputation as a resource and people will respect that.

    As for time and effort, that depends on what else you have to do in a day. Be careful, sometimes you can really fall in love with a community and spend a lot of time there...time perhaps that you don't have. Start small and then build up in stages. Start with one or two forums then when you are comfortable, expand.

    I spend a lot of time interacting with people on forums and other channels and what I like most about my job as a Community Manager is that being a nice guy is actually appreciated. (cue the one liner and cartoon image from Joe Robinson! LOL).

    Regards,
    jim

    PS: each week (wednesday at 2pm EDT I think) there is a twitter chat of community managers and you get lots of good insight on forums and online communities. The hash tag is: #cmgrchat.or try #cmgrhangout.
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  • Profile picture of the author tryinhere
    Put my tin hat on first.

    I do not think there is such a thing as forum marketing / what you suggest is forum spam badged as / or using the term forum marketing. ?

    Maybe this makes spamming forums seem OK and legit especially if we add some sugar and spice words like add value etc etc

    People use words like, "make sure it has do follow links" / now when you read that then the only conclusion is that you do not care about the community / if it has good content / has great members or even a great admin backing it. The main focus is can I get my back link and spam it to the world.

    Of course people are not spamming, why well because the then throw in the we add quality card, and while that may be the case it is followed then by these words.

    How many sites can I join and follow around and yes I will add quality to all of them ( so long as I can get a back link to spam with my quality replies )

    The thing with wanting to join as many as you can and do the rounds backs up and supports the forum spam option.

    I do not know of anyone in sane mind who would deliberately join as many forums on the one topic / theme as they could with a genuine reason or purpose, you would need to be a pure nutter in some ways to do that.

    Could you image every one here joining every other mmo forum because that was a natural thing to do ? not really some people may join one or two.

    You then mention minimum amount of posting to be effective, again whats the best way to spam my link is what your asking, and guess what there is no best way post other than natural as if you do not even have a link in your Sig.

    So rather than ask how many forums, how many posts, how many times a day, do I post at 7 am for best results and every other crap pile reason for spamming a forum in pretense of adding value, just select one (maybe two to test to see what you like best) then adding your signature and after that just contribute to the forum in a natural un thought of way in that your only purpose is to become a active and helpful member of that community.

    Get that right and your Sig will do the rest and you will probably have 10 times the results as apposed to the method above.
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  • Profile picture of the author Carol_A
    I was a member of many "work at home mom" type forums LONG before I became an Internet marketer and added a signature line to my posts.

    You should choose a few forums that YOU want to glean from....personally (whether that includes your business aspirations or not)...

    Then naturally interact as you find things that you're interested in and that can help you, as well as take the time to help others where you can.

    Wishing you all the best.
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    • Profile picture of the author jficarro
      I disagree with forum marketing being spam. I have joined niche related forums that don't even allow signature files and try to interact when appropriate. I get responses via the PM or email function of the forum.

      So, in my opinion, it works.

      The main caveat with this method is that it is a huge time suck and depending on the niche, difficult to outsource. I answer questions as a professional, so outsourcing wouldn't be a great idea. It's very time consuming, particularly if you have multiple niches like me.

      If you have one main niche, I think it would be important. It's like going to a business function with hundreds of other business people. You're bound to make connections, garner interest in your service or site, and in a gentle way - market yourself, your services, products, or site.

      Good luck
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  • I know where you are coming from. Your intent is not to spam like some might suggest by your questions. You want to participate and help others, but you also want to make sure that participation is beneficial for you. We have a limited amount of time in which to grow our businesses and can't waste it going all over the place.

    The size of the forum is not the big issue. You really want to know if the forum is active and moderated well (spam is not out of control). Then you want to make sure it is the place where your audience is hanging out.

    In terms of how much time to spend posting, I would say start out by reading a bunch of post and add your comment where relevant for about an hour a day. This way you can back away and process what has happened. It also keeps you from getting so caught up in it that you don't get anything else done. Once you are comfortable, then you will be able to tell how much time you should devote.

    Also, only promote yourself in the Signature and any place in the forum that is designated for that. Especially at the beginning, I would avoid making any link to my own content, even if it is relevant to the conversation. This way, the community will know you care about it first.
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    • Profile picture of the author pixelrat
      Thanks everyone for your comments and advice, it's much appreciated.

      PassiveIncomeTeacher hit the nail on the head regarding my intentions:

      Originally Posted by PassiveIncomeTeacher View Post

      I know where you are coming from. Your intent is not to spam like some might suggest by your questions. You want to participate and help others, but you also want to make sure that participation is beneficial for you. We have a limited amount of time in which to grow our businesses and can't waste it going all over the place.
      The way I look at it, it's the same mindset as professionals such as accountants, lawyers etc. At the end of the day they are in it for the money, but they take pride in what they do and in offering a good service (the good ones, at least).

      I've received some very useful advice here, and I've got plenty of food for thought.

      Thanks again.

      Mark
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  • Originally Posted by pixelrat View Post

    I've been looking into forum marketing and I've come up with a basic plan:

    1. Find forums in my niche
    2. Participate in useful posts - join conversations; add value
    3. Add signature once established - include a "call to action"

    There are obviously some important things to consider:

    1. When searching for suitable forums, I obviously want to look at the number of members, how active the forum is and whether or not they allow signature links. Can anyone add to this, or give me guide figures e.g. minimum number of members etc.

    2. I'm not sure how many forums I should post to, or how many posts per forum per day. I figured it would be best to start slow until I get the hang of it, then gradually ramp it up. I would like an idea of the minimum amount of posting required to be effective as a starting point, and if there is an optimum amount, a point of diminishing returns.

    I realise it's impossible to give exact figures, and I suppose it varies with different niches. I'm just looking for rough guidelines.

    I would appreciate any help.

    Cheers

    Mark
    I'll actually try and answer your questions instead of shutting you down with ramblings about 'spamming' and all the other stuff...

    1.) These figures don't really matter too much, I guess. Just have a look if the forum is active enough. Check the dates and times of the most recent posts - this will sort of indicate how much participation the forum gets which is what you want. The amount of members doesn't really matter too much. Also try to see if the forum has some sort of authority behind it (Alexa ranking maybe?).

    2.) Well it's really up to you. How much time have you got? How much value can you add? How many people can you help and how much can you contribute? Try starting with what works for you. e.g 5 posts each in 2 forums per day. That's 10 high quality posts per day. That's not that much, but its a good start. The quantity doesnt really matter. It's the quality of your posts that will attract discussion and contribution. To be honest, I post as much as I find topics interesting and as much as I have new stuff to share. But I need time to do other things to, so I keep myself a bit of a limit. Again, it depends on you and your time.

    Hope this gives you a better idea. You can go on reading about everyone else's rants about spamming now (which I'm sure you weren't intending to spam forums to begin with anyway).
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    • Profile picture of the author pixelrat
      Originally Posted by Michaelangelo Flores View Post

      I'll actually try and answer your questions instead of shutting you down with ramblings about 'spamming' and all the other stuff...

      1.) These figures don't really matter too much, I guess. Just have a look if the forum is active enough. Check the dates and times of the most recent posts - this will sort of indicate how much participation the forum gets which is what you want. The amount of members doesn't really matter too much. Also try to see if the forum has some sort of authority behind it (Alexa ranking maybe?).

      2.) Well it's really up to you. How much time have you got? How much value can you add? How many people can you help and how much can you contribute? Try starting with what works for you. e.g 5 posts each in 2 forums per day. That's 10 high quality posts per day. That's not that much, but its a good start. The quantity doesnt really matter. It's the quality of your posts that will attract discussion and contribution. To be honest, I post as much as I find topics interesting and as much as I have new stuff to share. But I need time to do other things to, so I keep myself a bit of a limit. Again, it depends on you and your time.

      Hope this gives you a better idea. You can go on reading about everyone else's rants about spamming now (which I'm sure you weren't intending to spam forums to begin with anyway).
      Thanks for your answer, it's very helpful.

      Cheers

      Mark
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