Forums – The Establishment Cause
When it comes to developing a forum as a means of marketing your online business one of the key components is the free flow of communication between members. You will discover there may be times when you need to work at initiating conversation between your members. If the site does not elicit conversation members will migrate elsewhere and may not be overly interested in returning. It may be to your advantage to hire (or offer) a moderator’s position to a motivated early member. This moderator will work to keep conversation going and they will also monitor the forum for spam and inappropriate posts. This moderator should have an interest in the primary topic of your forum and have the technical skills to remove posts while providing new content for members to consider.
There should come a time when the moderator simply provides a policing effort while allowing other members to continue to interact. One other element that may be useful is to cross-pollinate your business blog (b-blog) with your forum. Essentially you would have your moderator post your blog material within your forum. This can help drive forum visitors to your blog without the invitation coming directly from you. It can also allow your forum members to discuss the content freely in the forum.
So many business and individuals begin a forum with great intentions, but don’t do much to keep the ball rolling with an otherwise potential-filled forum. The use of a third-party moderator coupled with the potential use of a short term paid posting solution can help provide your forum with a sizeable history with many threads for new members to pay attention to. If your business is a growing online firm, you may consider delegating the moderator position to one of your employees. Many online companies require a little extra outsourced assistance to keep everything at an optimum level of functionality. For many online users a forum can almost be addictive. In a best-case scenario they will discover personalities within the forum that keep them coming back for the company. The sense of community is what keeps them coming back. The best element you provide is a place to meet and a reason to stick around. Most forums are cyclical, so you can expect some time to get a forum developed, a time when it perpetuates in its own and a time when members leave and new members find their way onboard. The dynamics of the board will continue to change.
Don’t lock yourself into thinking the forum has to remain a certain way because it won’t. A forum can be a great marketing tool, but you will likely need some help to get it established, don’t be afraid to ask for help.
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