There is no need for us to discuss about the importance of being present online and about the fact many forums in your niche are an excellent place for you to get noticed. For almost a decade since I ran various sites, forum posting has been one of the best ways to promote.
We don’t talk about SEO friendly links to your signatures (since most forums have nofollow on them), but we can get some excellent TARGETED traffic, not to mention a good possibility to BE NOTICED.
For many years I have build my own “brand” in the online communities and till this day a good part of my traffic and even some excellent deals have come from these forums. What have I done to establish myself in these forums?
1. Have the SAME USERNAME in all of them.
Yes, in order for the people to recognize you, we need a name they would see over and over again. In time this name will make them thing about “quality, intelligence, tact etc.”, all the things we are careful about when trying to establish that brand.
I am dojo in over 200 forums. I cannot post daily in all, but I am there and from time to time I am writing content. I am present in the big ones: webhostingtalk, sitepoint, phpbbhacks, digitalpoint, theadminzone, namepros etc. and in my own communities.
It’s a name that kinda attracts attention since it’s a “special” one. You guessed, it’s a good idea to have a name that’s special.
3. Ah, I assume you know about the avatar.
Just like the username, my avatar is the same in most of the forums I am active in. It’s the red nosed face (a picture of mine taken when I was at a friend’s birthday. She has a white hat with candles on it with the “happy birthday” message on it and of course the red nose that makes me look very “serious”).
Still, it’s a picture you have a hard time forgetting. It’s funny, it’s a decent one (no one can say children can be offended by it), it’s safe for public view and it’s UNIQUE. Yes, uniqueness is what we need in this too. A standard avatar won’t cut it, try to have a UNIQUE one: your picture or something you know no one can download from the free avatar collection sites.
The most important thing about our online brand is to establish it as a GOOD one. The way we behave on the forums is the way people will see us. In time we can become some of the best known members in a community, some of the most respected ones and this means in time a good image and even a good business opportunity.
We all hate spammers, don’t be one.
No, the good members we are won’t spam. We have to read carefully the rules, know where to advertise and do this AFTER some excellent posts made there. As a forum admin I am getting short tempered seeing people who come and spam my forums (yes, coming to post an advert in the first message is spam in my book) and I even ban the accounts now. So, we don’t want this to happen.
We want to be seen as good and well informed, guess how the posts should be.
Don’t post one-liners, don’t post idiotic messages just to post there. When you have something to say, then say it. Otherwise just relax and do some more reading.
Offer good information and write in English.
Sure, chat style is cool for myspace, we are on some decent forums we want to conquer. Good style, excellent information, useful advice. These are the tricks.
Who cares you dislike some members? Just mind your own business.
Flame wars won’t establish your brand as a good one. Even if you are being attacked by some member who had a bad hair day, offer an elegant ignore and deal with it like a gentleman (or lady). If it’s something too offensive, report the post and then wait for the moderation team to act on it.
Again, as a forum admin, I cannot stand people who like to play policeman in my forums. From a small mean sentence we can get to real wars in the forums. Are you short-tempered? Chill and don’t make a fool of yourself.
Be consistent and active.
You won’t establish a brand with 3 messages. Find some big forums and also some smaller ones (easier to be noticed) and post frequently. Keep the posting to that high level and present yourself as the good web businessman you want them to see you like. In time, you will be amazed by the results.
And now, go there and amaze some people. And let us know how it all went 😉