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Why should you get involved with forums?

The question should be, why aren’t you involved with forums already? Forums are a highly valuable business tool for communicating with target markets and driving people to a website.

Businesses often overlook forums in favour of more recognised social media platforms such as Twitter. However, forums are a valuable tool for businesses to communicate to their target customers and drive people to their website.

An internet forum is an online discussion site where people can post messages to hold a conversation with many other contributors. Forums are a great way to find advice or useful information on a particular topic.

They allow people to ask questions and receive responses from many contributors. This means that forums can provide a range of opinions and perspectives on an issue.

If forums are managed correctly they can benefit your business by:

1. Reaching your target customers: People who contribute to forums usually have an interest in the topic of conversation being discussed. If you find a forum which discusses a relevant topic to your business then you have also found your target customers. Through this medium you can also ask questions and gain real feedback for your business.

2. Building a network of friends: By being an active member of a forum you can start to build a trusting relationship with other like-minded contributors.

3. Achieving website traffic: When posting on a forum you can also include your signature or a link to your website. If you post useful and educated responses you will be seen as an expert in your field. Contributors are then more likely to follow the link to your website to find out more information from a trusted source. Website traffic may also be increased over a period of time as your posts will be archived on the internet and displayed in search engine inquires.

There are thousands of forums on the Internet with many catering to niche markets but how do you know if you are making the most of a forum? Here are a few tips to get you started:

1. Become an active member: The best way to benefit from a forum is by becoming an active member in discussions. You should post regularly with relevant, helpful and educated information that will further the conversation in the thread. Don’t post short irrelevant responses as this may be considered as spam and you may be banned from the forum.

2. Be friendly: Remember that, although you are sitting behind a computer, you are still having a conversation with other people and the rules of common courtesy still apply. Listen to others, be generous with your time, be a good contributor to the conversation and be polite when responding. You don’t want to be ignored by other contributors or left out of the conversation.

3. Don’t spread your time too thin: Try to only choose one or two forums to participate in. If you’re involved in too many forums it can consume too much of your time. This means you are less likely to contribute valuable posts and may lose relevance in the conversation.

Forums are a fantastic way to start talking to your target audience and get them thinking of you when they need to invest in your particular product or service. Use forums as a way to create client relationships, and build on your reputation as an expert in your field.

Join the conversation today by finding a forum relevant to you.

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Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard

Catriona Pollard is the founder and director of CP Communications, one of the most respected and innovative boutique PR and social media agencies. She is co-founder of Social Media Women, teaches a PR course she designed and writes the popular blog, Public Relations Sydney. Catriona regularly shares her expertise through articles and presentations to assist businesses grow and thrive by effectively using PR and social media. You can find Catriona on: Blog: www.PublicRelationsSydney.com.au Twitter: @catrionapollard Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/user/PublicRelationsTips Facebook: www.facebook.com/cpcommunications

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