Millions of people use forums every day. Born out of the old bulletin boards, today’s forums are great places to seek answers, stir up debate, and geek out about your favorite niche topics.
Forum posting is popular, user-specific, and search-friendly, which is why it deserves a place in your kit of franchise marketing solutions.
This post shares some user tips for franchise owners looking to incorporate forum posting into their current advertising strategy. Read on for our forum posting primer and information on what to do next.
Forum Posting 101
- Review the rules. Most forums use some kind of posting guidelines. These vary widely, from basic etiquette to exhaustive lists of prohibited topics, but they’re all useful. Before you strike up a conversation, take a moment to peruse the forum’s rules and FAQ section. This will let you get to know the audience you’re approaching and help you write a post that wins their hearts.
More importantly, it’ll keep you from getting banned. Some forums won’t let you promote your business, post commercial messages, or even drop a link. While these forums can be helpful for general mentions, community engagement, and keyword/customer research, link-friendly forums are superior franchise marketing solutions.
General etiquette is easy, and probably intuitive for you experienced business owners. Beyond the obvious, make sure to post in the proper subforums, refrain from asking the same questions or excessively “bumping” (where you post in an ongoing thread to refresh its place at the top of the feed), and of course.
- Mind your tone! This might sound like obvious etiquette, but it deserves special mention. Tone of voice is easily misinterpreted in forum posts, and writing in general (who hasn’t had a text message to a friend misinterpreted once or twice?).And at their worst, forums can turn into battlegrounds where “flaming,” “trolling,” and arguments drown out meaningful content.
While there’s little chance that you’ll be posting on those kinds of sites, it is best to “type on eggshells,” as though your audience were looking to take offense.
Don’t polish the life out of your posts, but do go out of your way to express excitement, positivity, and appreciation. Remember: you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.
- Use the right forums. This has nothing to do with our previous point on posting in the proper subforum. Rather, this is about finding forums that fit your niche to maximize the return on your forum marketing campaign.
Both franchisees and franchisors will have several popular forums dedicated to their niche topic. You can ask employees, suppliers, customers, and entrepreneurs about their favorite forums, or simply Google some industry-relevant keywords along with the word “forum.”
Create a list of forums to use and bookmark them all for easy access. Narrow your focus down to 5-10. Look for established communities with at least 1000 members and 10,000 posts. Don’t waste your time on inactive forums; if there are fewer than 5 posts per day, cross it off your list. And avoid sites filled with spam posts at all costs.
- Add value. Never drop a link and disappear! And don’t crowbar your links into unrelated conversations, either. The only time you should link to your site is when clicking through is valuable or helpful to the user.
For example, dropping a link to a franchise brokerage webpage listing investment opportunities would be very helpful on an entrepreneurial forum thread asking for startup recommendations. But that same link would come across spammy in a general query about investing.
Add value or be wear the Scarlet Letter of a spammer!
Just one piece of the puzzle
Forum posting is a great way to supplement your reputation management campaign. And it’s a useful tool to drive highly relevant traffic towards specific offers, pages, and promotions.
But it’s really just one piece of the puzzle. If you want to learn all the franchise marketing solutions needed to optimize your campaign, visit http://www.clicktecs.com.Back