The Benefits of Forums for Community Engagement

The Benefits of Forums for Community Engagement

Community. Engagement. Thought leadership… buzzwords or guiding principles? The true question is: are these a part of your business?

The internet has changed. This didn’t happen yesterday. It’s been happening for a long time. The social web is here. I imagine you are already know that.

No longer are impersonal websites and lackluster social media efforts acceptable. Customers — and people, for that matter — have come to expect more. With the adoption of technology, brought the birth of a connected world. This connectivity sped up conversation, and with the amount of time most of us spend online it’s easy to see why “community” is such a hot topic item these days.

People are more interested in the people behind the business.

They want to relate. Customers want personal treatment. No one wants to feel like a sale.

4 Key Benefits of Forums for Community Engagement

A forum is one of those places that can serve as a springboard to growing a loyal community. Social networks have their place, but if you have ever used Facebook or LinkedIn Groups — and to a lesser degree Google+, it’s easy to see the limitations. While social networks can be a great place to share information, there really isn’t as much room for serious discussions.

Forums are great for community discourse.

Forums offer an easy way to collaborate and discuss anything and everything. Any user can start a discussion on the topic of their choice (within the guidelines of that particular forum) and gather ideas and insight from others.

Forums can bring in killer traffic with long-tail search queries.

The type of dialogue that occurs in forums is usually highly specific. Usually, when someone asks for advice in a forum it is because the answer is not easily found online. This can lead to highly targeted search traffic. It also can make your forum rank in Google for these long-tail searches.

Forums offer valuable insights into an industry or niche.

Think about how much concentrated knowledge and information an active forum has. I’m sure you can see the big picture. When you have participants sharing their knowledge, over time you are able to build a very respectable resource for people interested in your niche. Any good resource keeps people coming back, plain and simple.

You don’t have to do all the talking.

Another benefit of running a forum or message board is you do not have to do all of the talking. When you have a blog, the minute you stop posting the conversation is over. With a forum, your members are the ones steering the conversation. This is called user generated content. What are the benefits? Not only will contributing members eventually build up content that becomes an excellent resource for your niche, but user generated content means less work in terms of building up content for search traffic and rankings. Your members are constantly contributing to the success of your site.

Is A Forum Right For You?

If you are interested in building a community around your brand and want to interact with people that are interested in you or your business, a forum can be the perfect choice. You might recognize the name Neil Patel. Neil is the founder of Crazy Egg, Hello Bar (look up), Quicksprout, and KISSmetrics.

Neil has adopted this same strategy for his business model by creating a forum on his personal blog QuickSpout. You can see an example here. He uses the forum to connect with his audience, which builds greater loyalty with him and his brand.

If you want to bring your audience closer and create your own platform for dialogue, you should definitely launch your own forum. Just keep in mind that you still have a bit of work to do if you want your audience to stay.

See what goes into building a forum here. Ready to launch your own? We can help you set it up.

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Post Written by
Greg Middlesworth is the owner of URLjet.

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