Posts Tagged: "forum advertising"

Using Online Forums To Build Social Engagement And Loyal Fans

Using Online Forums To Build Social Engagement And Loyal Fans

At times it may seem like pulling teeth to get people to read your blog. You could have award winning content and be a social media marketing master and still get mediocre page views and little to no comments. But one reason you may not be gaining the notoriety you crave is because you are simply not marketing to the right audience. Another reason could be that you are not becoming engaged in other communities and blogs.

In order to build loyal fans and traffic it is important to join forums focused around the same niche or industry. As long as you are active in the communities and post relevant content that inspires other people you will stand a better chance of attracting people to your social media channels and engage people with your brand. You must scan through relevant topics, read, and engage in conversations. When commenting, reply with meaningful insight which either inspires others to reply, answers someone’s question, or adds upon someone else’s point.

Google Search Operators

Google search operators are little shortcuts that help refine search results. Examples of this may be the word OR, symbol |, quotations around phrases or stop words, and other symbols such as a minus sign or hyphen (-), asterisk (*), half ellipse (. .), and tilde (~).

There is a whole website which contains a very in-depth guide on how different ways to use Google in order to refine search results to specifically search certain parts of the internet. It contains all kinds of Google search tips that many do not even realize exist. Below is list which should provide helpful examples on the basics of how to use Google search operators to find forums that will be relevant to your business.

Niche keyword “comments”

Putting comments in quotes will specifically find pages that have comments. It will help find discussions related to your niche. Try changing the keyword to a variety of words or phrases related to your industry for different results. Give yourself time to read articles or forum posts and reply with meaningful comments.

Keyword site:wordpress.com

This will search a specific site for results. It may provide better queries than using the websites own search bar and allow you to look for specific types of posts on a forum. That way you can easily filter through results to find the most relevant posts which pertain to your area of expertise.

“Powered by vBulletin” keywords

This is quite possibly the best Google operator phrase you can use to find great niche forums. As the query implies, this quotation will search through all message boards powered by vBulletin. You can of course do the same thing with any forum host that has been around for a long time such as SMF, IBP, MyBB, PunBB, and Phbb.

By combining different operators and trying new things there are a variety of different results you may get. Just experiment with what you know and see what you find. At the very least you will find helpful articles that pertain to your market. So experimenting with search queries can’t hurt.

Include a great bio with a call to action

Before you begin posting on forums that you find while utilizing these tips make sure that you write an awesome bio or forum signature in your author profile as well. Keep it quick and to the point while also inciting others to click on your link. Effective author bios should also include a small call to action.

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Hosting a Forum is No Walk in the Park: The Sequel

Marketing a Forum The Sequel
Last week we talked about the steps needed to get your new forum up and running. There we spoke about the nitty gritty of what it takes to get your forum online: web hosting requirements, deciding on a forum software, creating rules, and establishing moderators. Assuming that you followed along and now have your shiny new forum online for the world to see, I’d say it’s time to start navigating some new waters – marketing your forum.

Internet marketing strategies on the internet are a dime a dozen. The ‘latest trends’ can change by the week and you will no doubt find an abundance of information with blatant contradictions. When learning anything I highly recommend doing your own fact-checking. If you stumble upon something that seems like it makes sense, follow up by searching around and seeing if you can find more people professing this same strategy. It’s always best to be objective. Just because it’s on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s true. I actually learned this during my time in France as a fashion model (pun intended).

Now that we have that out the way, I will give you some resources that you can explore yourself for information on search engine optimization and social media marketing. Each of these communities are notable and top ranked in their category:

I wanted to put that right out front, so you can discover the facts for yourself. Indeed, no one can give you the blueprint to success. You have to constantly search for it yourself.

Of course, I don’t mind giving ya some help. So, let’s get on with it.

Marketing Your New Forum

We’ve talked about ways you can advertise your forum in the past. Here’s the reality for 2013: no matter your industry, if you are marketing your business online, you need to be publishing content. Content is the driving force that brings visitors to your website. Whether it is in the form of discussion threads, blog posts, articles, web pages – your forum needs a healthy diet of fresh content to rise in the rankings and grow up to be a big, strong website. People are searching the internet for value. If they can’t find any on your forum you are #%&! out of luck.

Here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Populate your forum with interesting threads. No one will post in an empty forum. Kick off the conversation and ask a lot of questions. People are more likely to respond when they can give an answer or their own opinion.
  • Leverage your own contacts. If you know someone that would be interested in your forum, by all means – ask them to join!
  • Create a sense of activity. A silent forum will go nowhere. You have to get the conversation going. If you don’t have the money to shell out on advertising like banner ads and Adsense, you should consider hiring paid posters / forum members. You can use sites like Elance or oDesk to hire people willing to post in your forum. This might be the way you’ll initially have to go in order to get the activity going.
  • Approach people in other forums. Prior to launching your own forum, you should develop a presence on other sites that are in your niche or have a topical relationship. This way you can advertise your forum link in your signature and reach out to contacts already participating on these other forums. Of course, you don’t want to break the rules. Keep it classy. Karma can be unforgiving.
  • Create a contest or giveaway. Everybody is a fan of freebies. Consider giving away a prize, creating a sweepstakes, or some other type of contest. Then, build links through guest blogging and articles to advertise the giveaway.
  • Network with social media. It’s here to stay and is just as relevant as SEO in 2013. Build a presence on the popular sites and reach out and connect with people. Of course, optimize your profiles to include information about your forum.

The Big ‘C’

And here we are again. It’s something you’ll hear time and time again in the internet marketing world – content.

Creating a content calendar and planning your posts will actually help you out in more than just the SEO department. The more content you produce, the more content you can share across social media. Essentially, you’ll have an ongoing reason why people should visit your website.

I am reading your mind right now: “Greg, I don’t have the time to write blog posts all day.”

Never fret, young Padawan. (Forgive the Star Wars reference).

The truth of the matter is that most of us, in fact, don’t. But I must challenge you with the fact that most business owners always say that, yet when they are faced with something that has to get done they typically find a way. It becomes more a matter of perspective than anything else. If you do not take it as a priority, you won’t get it done. If you want a screaming forum, you simply have to produce content.

Creating a ton of content by yourself can result in writing fatigue and mental melt down. Well, I might be overstating it, but why not get a little help? Lighten the burden by finding other people interested in contributing to your forum. Give a little – get a lot. If you allow guest authors to post their own links or have an author bio box, chances are you’ll find some regular contributors – especially if your forum matches their niche. Don’t know where to start looking? MyBlogGuest is a free community that helps connect bloggers to other blogs. Take a look, experiment, and see what you come up with.

Lastly, don’t try to be everything to everyone. Keep your niche in mind (your target market), and craft everything with them in mind.

Don’t say I never helped ya.

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5 Ways to Market Your Forum Online for Free

5 Ways to Market Your Forum Online for Free
In ancient Rome, the Forum was a plaza, a marketplace, surrounded by magnificent temples and government buildings. It sat in the heart of the city between two of its seven hills, Palatine and Capitoline. The Forum was the epicenter. Everything from the political to the gladiatorial, from commercial to religious found its way through this hub. Rome’s great innovations and ideas found their hearing among the great thinkers in the Forum. So, it is no stretch to understand why the word Forum still resonates that original innovation in 2013. It is in the forum where we get together, discuss and rethink how we will develop our newest technologies.

Advertising Your New Forum – The Smart Way

Forum marketing is a logical way for innovators to promote collaboration. We all want to find better solutions. It is a platform for educating and exciting consumer interest in the products we sell—and it’s fun.
In this article, we will look at five tips on marketing a forum online:

Blog to blog

Everything you need is already there. Let the forum generate ideas for articles on your blog. Invite readers to the forum to get the context of where an idea came from. You can link to the blogs of key contributors in your forum. If your forum is brand new, invite experts to panel a discussion and announce it on your blog. Ask them to guest blog. When you introduce them in the byline, link back to their blog. Have them link to their guest blog from theirs. Their readers will become your readers over time. And readers of both will know about the forum.
Appearing in the comment chain on another blogger’s article and pointing back to the forum is yet another quick hit generator. Getting fresh thoughts into the mix can renew your readers’ interest and foster relationships within your field.

Keeping SEO Text Organic

Capture valuable points in your forum and use them as titles or headers for your articles. Use these titles in your URLs. Make them tags and Meta text. Just keep your phraseology simple enough for search engine users to find:

John’sCulinaryForum.com/SauceBernaiseDoneRight, versus John’sCulinaryForum.com/item12?=12345.

Keep image descriptions people friendly—John’s Culinary Forum Food-fight.jpg, instead of Image15862.jpg.

Social Media Marketing

Make frequent announcements on Facebook, Google Plus, and Twitter especially when someone on the forum publishes an article or speaks publically. News Items can point back to the forum. The subject of their article or speaking engagement doesn’t even have to be an exact match on the forum focus. Any credibility your contributor may have in their field will lend credibility to your forum discussion. Include a link to their article and the forum. The more points of contact you engage, the further your reach. While you are at it, be sure to include your forum address on your LinkedIn profile.

Important Events Press Release

This is a formal way to announce the opening of or reintroduction of a marketing forum. The nice thing about a press release it that it captures all of the salient points you want your readers to know in one place. It can eliminate questions and allow readers to pass accurate details along to their friends and colleagues. Send to the addresses on your blog mailing list and post your press release on social media.

Special Events

Last of all, one sure way to market your forum is to host a webinar with Q & A. Invite a frequent contributor on your forum site. Find someone who knows their stuff, is a great communicator, and loves talking about what they do. You can practice ahead of time. Announce your webinar well in advance. The topic should relate to some new or challenging aspect of your forum focus. When done right, you can draw enormous interest from your focus community and begin to establish credibility for yourself as an industry leader.

Got some more ideas? Show us what you got in the comments below.

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