There are direct and indirect benefits that marketers can gain when participating in forums (or fora, if you feel like being a linguistic purist). In fact, if you take a look at it, there’s actually no downside to establishing presence on sites saturated with potential clients.
But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, though.
Posting comments, responses and opinions on forums may either promote your brand’s identity (as well as your own) or destroy it. It takes a considerable amount of discipline and verbal know-how to carry out this activity effectively.
These are some of the benefits that forum participation may offer to your lead generation campaigns:
1. Brand Awareness
One of the key marketing benefits of forum participation is brand awareness. Remember, even if you are an entrepreneur, you still have a brand and that brand is YOU! So, whether it is a company, a client, or you, define the brand that you are promoting and enhance your forum profile to reflect that brand. Include the brand motto in your signature, so that people can start to associate your brand with your expertise (reflected through your forum posts).
2. Opportunity to Build Your Authority/Credibility
This is where the real “guts” of the actual forum participation comes into play. This is your time to shine and to share your expertise. Don’t be “cocky” about it. You really want to share your information in an informative manner and it is received better if it is not accompanied by an air of superiority.
3. Meet New Colleagues (even friends!)
This is a natural by-product or benefit to participating in forums. You are naturally going to be find people that have similar interests and likes and dislikes. You may even find yourself connecting on other social platforms or commenting on each other’s blogs.
4. Find Opportunities (like Joint Ventures)
You may have come up with the greatest and best idea ever known to man, but need some help bringing that idea to the masses. What better than a joint venture, where you combine your skills with that of another company or individual and reap the benefits jointly? Forums are a great place to identify the people that you would like to talk to about joint ventures. Who knows? You may find someone you want to hire.
5. Altruistic Sharing of Knowledge
For some people, they just get that overall “feel good feeling” when they share. This is not necessarily a benefit for everyone, but for those who really feel like their happiness in life is dependent on how much they help others, forums serve as an opportunity to do just that, to share and help people.