Could Forums Be More Valuable to Your Brand Than Facebook/Twitter?

Reaching a Niche Audience and Searchers

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Social media marketing is largely about engaging with your audience, and a big part of that is knowing where your audience is. A lot of brands may find that their audience is easiest to reach through forums, which are kind of the old school social networks.

Do you use forums to engage with your audience? Tell us about it.

There’s no question that there is a lot of value to the big networks like Facebook and Twitter, but forums have always been and still are a way to jump into a topical conversation within a specific niche and engage with an audience that is heavily invested in that niche. As Li Evans of Serengeti Communications talked about with WebProNews at Search Engine Strategies last week, forums can sometimes provide more value than the big social networks, depending on your audience.

"A lot of people think forums and message boards are dead, but they’re not," she says. "They’re very powerful because they have a lot of influencers, it can reach a lot of people, and these forums rank in the search results as well."

The very nature of forums makes them good for search, because users will continue to update them with fresh posts in many cases, and add information and value, and often answer the questions users are seeking with their search queries.

Last fall Google introduced a new feature to search results, making it easier to find forum posts related to topics users search for. When forum sites have more than one relevant discussion going, Google will link to them under the main result.

Google Forum Results

As Evans pointed out, it’s a great idea to listen before you talk in a forum. Communities often have certain ways members will talk to one another, and just have things established that may not be so apparent to the "newb." She likens it to petting a shark. "It can bite you," she says. Just pay attention and get a sense of the atmosphere in a community before jumping in and embarrassing yourself. If there’s one thing most active forum participants have in common, it is that they’re vocal, and you don’t want any negative reputation issues to arise.

While forum participation may be like petting a shark, that doesn’t mean you should be afraid of it. Just get to know the shark, and become its friend. The forum sharks just may potentially be some of your best and most loyal customers.

Do you find forums to be of significant value to your brand? Discuss here.

Could Forums Be More Valuable to Your Brand Than Facebook/Twitter?
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  • http://www.buildersinteriors.com Carpet Installation Woodinville

    Depending on the site rankings and how competitive the keyword phrases, Any forum can get ranked, on the other side of marketing. If your brand is in the appropriate forum that is relevant, this is worth being in, you don’t have to rely on the search engines. Seen it in the carpet & epoxy paintindustry.

  • http://progi.blogspot.com IT Trainings UK

    If you post regarding to your business on relevant forums it could be beneficial for your rankings.

  • http://serpeoseo.wordpress.com Philadelphia Internet Advertising

    Blog sites are specialty in nature and no one blog site caters to everyone. This is why they are so relevant. If you have that old pickup truck that is giving you aggravation and you want answers, there is a blog for that. If you want to know about how to fix your roof, there is a blog for that. Blog sites do well in search placement because of the ever changing content. The organic content of these sites can become on the stinky side sometimes. Ruffling feathers is the norm and embarrassment is something that you should not be too worried about.

    As many as there are to scoff and mock, there are to chastise the tormentor and then there are the moderators. It is alright to have dialogue and these blogs are the place where this is allowed to a point. Big search is driven on content and these are the places on the internet where the freshest content exists. The relevancy of the blogs is undisputable. The implementation of RSS feeds send the content right to the real-time

  • http://www.cardonatoys.com Cardona Toys

    The masters at google like forums. And I certainly think that it is more meaningful than mindless twittering. In seardh engine ratings race, a good relevant forum post is worth something. Agree with carpet guy 100%.
    Twitter is really for birds.

  • http://www.ahwebart.com/ Web Design

    Social networking is the huge network platform where millions of users connected and sharing with eachothers and they are open to discuss any topic, while forums can be specific but we cant say are less important than social sites.

  • http://www.SEO-writer.com Guest

    I really like forums, but they do take more time than just retweeting. Sadly, my participation at most forums I am registered at is much less than sporadic. And at a few that I really like are nevertheless sporadic.

  • Matt

    I think the new social media websites like facebook and twitter have simply given us more ways to market, rather than take anything away from forums and other social websites. There is still room for promotion in forums


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  • http://www.parallelprojecttraining.com Paul naybour

    We run a forum for project managers and very few people get involved. People have much more ownership of twitter etc

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