Most likely if you have an online business you are working at it and may or may not be achieving the results you expected when starting. Gaining knowledge from others who have succeeded is pure gold, that’s why I suggest using online forums to help grow your knowledge. Learning how online business forums help you succeed will go along way towards you acquiring the knowledge required to make it or break it online.
What is a Forum?
An online meeting place to exchange information or ideas. It really is that simple.
Forums have been around quite a while and serve a great purpose online. You are interacting with real people not bots or automated messages. You learn and grow your knowledge and share with others basically a pay it forward type approach.
You certainly do not have to post anything, but as you get more comfortable you may want to expand your brand by gaining insight and sharing that insight with others, without cray self promotions
Not all are free but they are in abundance online, so search around a bit and read some threads that are already posted that are view able without an account. See what the topics are and how often they are updated, meaning activity. If there has not been a new entry since 2012 for example, then I would say they are not very active and also that much of the information available may be outdated
Here are a few forums I recommend to start with.
Warrior Forum– The largest online marketing forum. Great opportunity to learn and share your skills
ClickNewz – Managed by a 20 year marketing vet, a smaller audience but a great place to learn
Digital Point– A very well organized forum with a wide variety of skill levels- Recommended
Quora– A mix of both social media and a forum all in one. Quora is a great place to get your feet wet in online forums.
Whatever your target market is there is some sort of forum for it most likely. Getting set up on whatever forum that is can be a big bonus for your business provided you add value to the forum.
Follow the rules
Read the rules when you sign up for a forum and follow them, Especially if you are new to forums.
Forum admins can ban you and other members of the community can call you out if you do not follow the rules most members of a forum will consider it bad form when you join and pay no attention to the rules of engagement so to speak, Remember that there are real people behind the posts and most will see right through your games if you try to beat the system so to speak.
Know Your Place
There are some operating guidelines that should be followed on forums. You will have a much better chance of being trusted and grow your brand if you stay in your lane, so to speak.
Contribute– Being active is a great sign that you are serious and worthy of someone reading what you post. Make sure you contribute something of value in relation to the topic in the thread. You can be active by asking questions as well or contacting other members, it all matters.
Do Not Promote Right Away– be careful not to self promote from the moment you join. Remember that forums consist of members with a wide range of skill sets and if you just openly promote your product and do not provide value then you will either be dis credited or banned.
Be Honest– portraying yourself as a subject matter expert when you in fact are just learning or getting started will be noticed very quickly by others who really do know their stuff. It is OK to be a new member and learn from others, even if it is topic that you are familiar with you can most likely learn something from others. Contribute when you can and stay on topic to the thread
Sponsored ads– Many forums allow sponsored ads as a way to promote your business, you would need to find out the rules and how much it costs and so on before you do but this method can be a better way to share your brand rather than hijacking a post and promoting only your stuff.
Forums like Warrior forum claim to get around 1 million visitors a month, so your add could get some great exposure
Learn And Grow
Forums provide a great service to the online community since they are normally made up of real people doing something similar to you, like running an online business. So mind melding with experienced members can really help you out.
Find others that have information you need to know about and ask questions? it is a great way to get free information and get the real truth on what is important to know about your topic.
Pay It Forward
Share what you know if you feel comfortable. Pay it forward to others who may have similar questions as you. You can begin to gain quite a following by helping answer questions and providing value.
You are in business online to make a living obviously as are many others. You can separate yourself from the spammers and self promoters by simply being able to help others. That in turn will gain you respect from the community and also build a following. If you focus your online business on helping your readers solve whatever they are looking for, you will be much more successful than just a used car salesman approach.
Here is a great pay it forward community of support and training available to you to learn from, They also have a forum much like a Facebook format with followers and likes and so on.
How This Helps Your Business
You help your brand and your business in several ways. You get exposure to a great resource of knowledge and skill that can be leveraged to learn how to scale your business. Potential back links to your website, a key ranking factor. You become a more trusted source and in turn grow your “authority” within the online world, which leads too much better credibility and of course eventually sales as a result.
As you expand your presence on forums you will start to see an increase in traffic to your website if you have one. This is free traffic and can be a sustainable source for you if you keep current and provide value in the forums.
Doing business online takes time to come together, regardless of what you have heard about getting rich quick. The time spent building your presence on forums will pay of in the long run for you business wise.
As we have covered here, forums can provide a great source for knowledge and also traffic to your website. The process of building up your brand awareness takes time, so Forums can help speed that up a bit. Even if you never answer a question in a forum you can still get good value from learning what others are talking about.
Thank you for stopping by.
Please comment below for questions or to simply share your experience on this topic. Others can benefit from it.