Message boards and online forums are definitely great places to find new customers. These are also where you gain insights from your existing clients. As an Internet marketer, you must take these platforms seriously. Committing one wrong move on message boards or online forums can stain your brand and hurt your online image.
Today, about 33% of Internet marketers are eyeing online forums as a tool to reach customers. This is based from a report of “Awareness”, a Burlington, mass-based social media marketing management software provider.
Additionally, 1 out of 5 Americans is found to use online forums to talk about and recommend products or services. According to the study by Blogher, iVillage and CompassPartners, “2009 Women and Social Media Study“, 64% of online women post product recommendations on message boards.
Online forums and message boards have their own personality. They dominate today’s social media sites. Think of Facebook and Twitter among the social media giants wherein people share and post their opinions on various topics. This is primarily because most Internet users are highly-opinionated and more vocal these days. This fact made Internet marketers truly interested on utilizing online forums and message boards to communicate with their customers and prospects.
Tips to Take Advantage of Online Forums and Message Boards
- Register and introduce yourself. Inquire about advertising and sponsorship rules.
- Avoid putting marketing messages right away or you can be kicked and banned forever. Doing so can also malign your products and services on search engine rankings.
- Send a private message to the site’s admin and signify your intention to become a paid sponsor.
- Be honest with your purpose. It’s either you become a regular member or a mere sponsor.
- Ask about banner advertising and sponsored post. Many online forums feature “sticky” threads that they sell to sponsors. These make discussion posts “stuck” on top of online forums for maximum visibility.
- Post messages that are related to the topic. Keep them engaging and educational.
- Become a valued contributor to online forums or message boards. Respond to questions that you are knowledgeable of or ask your own questions. This will make you a credible resource person for a particular topic.
- Acknowledge complaints and criticisms addressed to you on online forums and message boards. Do so politely and lightly. Don’t make it personal by attacking the person and not the comments or complaints. Remember that negative reactions are part of online forums and message boards.
Take note: Online forums and message boards are archived. These are easily searchable so dare to take advantage of them.