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2 years ago
Social Networking With Entrepreneur Forums, Part Two
GT Bulmer © Affiliate Power Central
Before there were Social Media sites, online business and marketing forums were a preferred method of reaching out to fellow home business enthusiasts and Internet Marketers. Today, Social Networking is popular and smart marketers realize that forums are still an important part of the process.
In my previous article, part one of Social Networking With Entrepreneur Forums, I highlighted several of the benefits of joining an online forum. These include socializing with a group of peers; gaining access to insight and best practices of Internet Marketing; developing a web presence and branding; and promoting your products in a socially respectable way.
In this article, I will highlight some of the things you can do to establish a firm foundation for success in a forum. As noted in part one, you should do these things even before you begin posting comments.
First, you should set up your forum profile. That is typically where you include a brief introduction of who you are and why you are in that particular forum, what your interests are and what your marketing niche or specialty is. Just a few details so other members can get to know you better.
Second, you should set up your forum photo (avatar). This is especially important for branding and recognition purposes. Also, other members feel much better about you, and warm up to you quicker, when they can see your face. Many consider it to be a demonstration of honesty and being approachable.
Third, you should set up your forum signature. A signature is the bit of text that automatically gets attached at the bottom of every post you make in a forum. It saves you from having to key it in every time, plus it is the acceptable way to promote yourself and your business, since most forums do not allow self-promotion in the body of posts.
Every forum and social site has different rules about signatures. Typically, a signature can include a line or two of descriptive text and/or a few links to places like your website, blog page, affiliate sales page or whatever you choose.
Fourth, you should read the rules of the forum. This is where many new members run into trouble. They sign up for the forum, then get excited about “advertising their stuff” and they begin posting all sorts of comments that basically are just ads and promos. This may result in a warning and could even get them banned from the forum. Getting banned from a site does not serve your branding goals.
When you join a forum, learn the rules and respect the rules. Most entrepreneur forums encourage you to share insight, experiences and ideas without blatantly trying to promote your products and services. For example, coming into a forum as a new member and warning the existing members that their current SEO efforts are endangering their business and then saying “Oh, by the way, I am an SEO expert and I can help you,” is not the way to build your reputation. Your tactic will be obvious and existing members will consider it offensive.
Finally, build your reputation by being an active, supportive contributor.
When you post comments in a forum, make sure they are relative to the discussion, contribute to the topic, and are respectful to the original poster. If you get inspired to go off on a tangent, start a new discussion thread, don’t hijack the existing one. In fact, forum administrators appreciate it when you start new topics, as long as they fit the forum, educate or inspire the members, and are not self-promotional.
It will also help your reputation and your branding efforts if you visit the forum regularly, rather than sporadically. If you are a regular participant, other members get to know you as a dependable marketer and that is the bottom line to effective branding.
Social Media sites, like IM faceplate, Twitter and others, are very popular, it is true. But there is still great value in Social Networking with entrepreneur forums. Find a friendly entrepreneur community and be sure to include it in your weekly marketing activity.
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* Read Part One of Social Networking With Entrepreneur Forums
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* You might also enjoy this APC blog post: A Friendly Entrepreneur Community
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