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Nowadays, forum marketing doesn’t get as much credit as it used to; mostly because at one point marketers got carried away and turned forums into their online playgrounds. At the time, it didn’t matter where you posted your links or how often you posted them—everyone lived by the rule “the more, the merrier”. Needless to say, things went downhill from there, and people got not only penalized by webmasters, but also received poor backlinks and even poorer traffic. So, marketers decided that it’s better to stay away from forums altogether.
However, despite their bad reputation, forums still present one of the best ways for website owners to find new users and promote their business, plus boost their SEO along the way. The questions remains: how are you supposed to do this without being spammy? Here are a couple of tips that should help you out with your forum marketing game.
Don’t Break The Forum Rules
Every quality forum has its own set of rules that you should read before you start doing anything. Both forum users and moderators will notice if you are up to anything suspicious that breaks the rules, so if you want to remain a member, steer clear of trouble. Plus, reading the post with forum rules will help you get to know the community better, it’s do’s and dont’s, and make it easier for you to build your profile. Once you’re done reading these, you can move on to introducing yourself on the forum.
Build Your Profile
Here’s a very important part when it comes to forum marketing: building a trustworthy profile. You don’t want to arrive to a forum and start posting right away, without letting the community know who you are and what you are about. Fill in your profile, write a short description about yourself, and introduce yourself in the “Welcome” post. People respond positively to these posts and actually like to see that you are a human being and not just someone paid to post comments on their forum.
Read What Others Say
Before you start looking for topics to post your answers in, it’s a good idea to wander around your forum of choice a bit and see what others posted before you. Dedicate a couple of hours to reading others’ answers and threads, and find out what they like and don’t like. Learn as much as you can, because these are your potential customers and you want them to be happy. Reading discussions can even become a daily thing, plus it will help you find the latest and best posts on forums.
Post Fairly Regularly
Naturally, you don’t have to post 20 posts per day right away (20 is a bit too much for one forum, to be honest). Start off small—pick a couple of forums and post one or two answers per day on each. This will help you build authority and let other forum members know that you’re here to stay. Remember, this is still not the time for you to post your links or content or any other promotion for your business. This is still the “getting to know them” part, where you just want to establish connections and credibility.
Make Valuable Contributions
When picking out topics to respond to, don’t just pick the hottest ones just because they’re popular at the moment. You want to contribute to the community, show members that you have something to offer, and the best way to do this is choose threads and questions you actually know answers to. Provide people on the forum with valuable insights and let them know you’re there to help them out no matter what and that you are not there just for the sake of your business. Contribute, engage, and do it all over again.
Don’t Spam, No Matter What
Whatever you do, refrain from spamming.Once you develop real relationships with the forum members and moderators, you can go ahead and make your business known. Start off by adding adding a link towards your website into your bio and then, if the forum rules allow it, a signature that links back to your website. Post a link to your content in threads only when it makes sense and not too often. After all, it’s better to have two quality links, than none. If you follow these tips, you’ll get the most out of forum marketing.
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