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Forums – Your Untapped Marketing Opportunity

Let’s face it. Most SEO’s when they think of forums, they’re thinking of getting a profile link back to their site but not really about participating in the forum or looking at how they can add value. While everyone is on the Facebook bandwagon (and sometimes rightly so), forums are almost always overlooked as a means of creating referral traffic and more importantly sales or leads.

They say that when you market on Facebook you should imagine you’re in a pub before replying or updating your status but I think a forum is more apt for that analogy. Forums are mostly anonymous and you’re much more likely to hear the truth on them than on Facebook.

Where forums have an advantage over Facebook is that they are:

  • More open: Forums don’t require registration to read. They do however require registration to add a post or thread.
  • Anonymous: A positive and a negative but you’ll often get a truer reflection of people’s thoughts and opinions. Sometimes you can encounter more passive aggressiveness on the Internet when people have an avatar to hide behind.
  • Niche/High Interest: Most forums or boards are centered around a specific topic or a common interest that helps create that sense of community. They’re a tribe (vide0). That means if you’re selling gardening products, it makes sense that you should be involved in gardening forums. They are often tight knit groups that can shun a new user so you have to be careful how you’re interacting.
  • Decentralised: What I mean by this is that, there is no central control on a forum. There are mods and admins but in general the discussion is driven by users with no differentiation in posts. The defacto display is usually by the latest active post. This creates a sort of meritocracy where only the best conversations or ones with most interest stay active.

 

5 Key Ways to Use a Forum for Marketing

  1. Correct misinformation about your product/company
  2. Respond to compliments/complaints about your product/company
  3. Respond to queries related to your product/company
  4. Discuss news/developments in your industry
  5. Share tips and advice to people that you can help with

 

10 Tips To Get Started on Participating in Forums

  1. Find the right forums. Don’t participate in a forum for the sake of it or to drop a link. This isn’t really a tactic that you want to scale. It’s about picking a few key communities you want to engage in.
  2. Create an account on the forums you want to engage in even if you’re not ready to start conversations. Many forums show the length of time you’ve been a member, the longer the better. Also if the conversations aren’t there at the moment it helps to be prepared for when there is something you want to respond to that you don’t have to go set up an account when speed of response can be crucial.
  3. Pick your own name or your brands’ name and avatar. Although most users will use a moniker, it’s better to be authentic.
  4. Fill out your profile with full information about who you are.
  5. Remain consistent in how you speak. The tone of your messages should be the same as your other social networks and reflect your brand.
  6. Understand the conversation before you participate. Don’t jump in to add your 2 cents if you’re not adding value to a conversation.
  7. Collaborate. Support or disagree with someone’s statements to build up relationships.
  8. Read the rules. It can be very easy to get banned on forums. Reading the user agreement is important to know what you can and can’t do.
  9. Add an email signature when you can. This has the benefit of giving you a link back to your website but also identifies you each time you post.
  10. Think of interacting with forums moreso as participating than promoting. Any obvious promotional posts that don’t add value will see you get banned quickly.

 

One thing forums don’t do is bring huge amounts of traffic to your site. What they will bring though is very high quality, targeted traffic. We’ve seen in our client campaigns that where a structured approach is taken in forum marketing, there is high converting traffic compared with other sources.

Remember it’s not all about dropping in your link, a mention can always work just as good if not better than a link to your website.

 

Pro tip: Create your own forum!

 

 

Comprehensive List of Irish Discussion Forums:

  1. http://www.boards.ie
  2. Askaboutmoney.com
  3. Allaboutbusiness.ie
  4. Smallbusinesscan.com
  5. http://www.irishwomeninbusiness.ie/discuss/
  6. http://www.startups.ie/forum/
  7. http://www.ybig.ie/forum/
  8. http://www.indiansinireland.com/forum
  9. www.cricketeurope4.net/CEIRELAND/GENERAL/forum.shtml
  10. irishtaxi.org/forum/
  11. republican.ie/forum/
  12. www.bodytonicmusic.com/forum/
  13. www.reservoirdubs.com/forum/index.php
  14. www.canoepolo.com/forum/
  15. http://www.iwai.ie/forum/list.php?1
  16. http://community.o2online.ie/t5/O2-Forum/ct-p/Forums
  17. www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/
  18. www.ipmsireland.com/forum/
  19. www.stephenm.org/forum/
  20. forum.vodafone.ie/
  21. www.flyinginireland.com/forum/
  22. www.irishlandlord.com/forum/
  23. www.wufi-forum.com/
  24. forum.educationposts.ie/
  25. www.mrs2be.ie/wedding-forum/
  26. totalopel.com/forum/
  27. www.biker.ie/forum/
  28. forum.blacknight.com/
  29. www.bmw-driver.net/forum/
  30. forum.ncif.net/
  31. www.thebohs.com/forum/
  32. www.limerickblogger.ie/forum/
  33. www.railusers.ie/forum/
  34. www.poetryireland.ie/forum/
  35. forum.electricpicnic.ie/
  36. forum.leinsterfans.com/viewforum.php?f=2
  37. www.irishminis.ie/forum/
  38. www.gliderireland.net/forum/
  39. www.munsterfans.com/forum.php
  40. www.type2ireland.org/forum/index.php
  41. srfcultrasforum.eu/forum/
  42. www.eskimofriends.com/forum/
  43. www.metalireland.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=1
  44. www.kitingireland.com/forum/index.php
  45. www.imbrc.com/forum/
  46. www.ballinasloe.com/forum/index.php
  47. www.crookedhouse.ie/forum/
  48. www.fishingtalkireland.com/forum/
  49. www.octane.ie/forum/index.php
  50. www.tyrrelstown.net/forum/
  51. www.dublinforum.net/forum/
  52. fwonk.com/forum/
  53. www.ae86irl.com/forum/index.php
  54. forum.iww.ie/viewforum.php?f=2
  55. racecaller.com/forum/index.php
  56. foot.ie/forum.php
  57. www.tirnahifi.org/forum/
  58. www.hpaichat.org/forum/
  59. hoganstand.com/forum/forumpage.aspx
  60. www.topix.com/forum/ie/dublin
  61. www.rebelgaa.com/forum/
  62. www.scalea.info/forum/index.php
  63. forum.irishwhiskeysociety.com/
  64. irishdogs.ie/forum/
  65. connachtclan.com/clan-forum
  66. invasivespeciesireland.com/forum/2012-forum/
  67. forum.labour.ie/
  68. http://www.laoistalk.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5
  69. forum.leinsterrugby.ie/
  70. http://www.alfaowner.com/Forum/republic-of-ireland/
  71. www.irishpokerboards.com/forum/index.php
  72. www.species-specific.com/orchid-forum/
  73. www.baltinglasstown.com/forum/
  74. www.filmandgamecomposers.com/forum/
  75. sun.racecaller.com/forum/index.php
  76. www.gaycork.com/forum/
  77. www.poultry.ie/forum/
  78. www.archiseek.com/forum/
  79. www.mythicalireland.com/forum/
  80. www.life.ie/forum/
  81. www.carpfishingireland.com/forum
  82. www.irishjobs.ie/Forum/
  83. www.selfbuildinireland.com/forum/
  84. www.network54.com/Forum/402609/
  85. forum.climbing.ie/
  86. www.letsbet.ie/forum/
  87. www.forum.cancer.ie/phpBB3/
  88. www.ballymunkickhams.com/forum
  89. www.corkcitypartnership.ie/cork-city-community-forum.asp
  90. www.politics.ie/forum/
  91. http://www.irishastronomy.org/index.php?option=com_kunena&view=listcat&catid=0&func=listcat&Itemid=41
  92. www.youthworkforum.ie/forum/forum.php
  93. www.bilingualforumireland.com/forum.html
  94. forum.gavinfriday.com/
  95. www.egomotion.net/forum/
  96. www.antrimhistory.net/forum/
  97. www.clannad.ie/forum/index.html
  98. www.urability.com/forum/index.php
  99. www.ucdtramp.com/forum
  100. http://www.lonelyplanet.com/ireland/dublin/forum
  101. www.ouroceanwealth.ie/Pages/Discussion-Forum.aspx
  102. parrots.ie/vb/forum.php
  103. www.womensmtb.ie/forum/
  104. sindice.com/main/forum
  105. maths.slss.ie/forum/
  106. forum.netfort.com/
  107. www.dungloe.info/forum/
  108. www.afraid2fly.com/forum/4561523463
  109. www.irishfreestyle.com/forum/
  110. www.qwertee.com/forum/
  111. forum.transgender.ie/
  112. www.feasta.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=13
  113. www.clansandnames.org/forum/listall.php?1
  114. http://www.irishhiphop.com/forum/list.php?15
  115. http://forum.p2p.ie/
  116. www.celtic-lyrics.com/forum/index.php
  117. forum.ovh.ie/
  118. www.coastguardsofyesteryear.org/forum/index.php
  119. www.topix.com/forum/world/ireland
  120. airport-tkd.com/forum/index.php
  121. www.fethard.com/forum
  122. www.campsitereview.com/forum/
  123. forum.porsche-club-ireland.com/
  124. bhaa.ie/forum/index.php?forum=2
  125. www.jabula.ie/forum/index.php
  126. forum.planetjedward.net/
  127. massiveattack.ie/forum/
  128. www.giyireland.com/forum
  129. forum.sdlp.ie/
  130. astonvilla.ie/forum.php
  131. www.filmmakersnetwork.ie/forums/forum.php
  132. www.nerfodestiny.net/forum/forum.php
  133. healyfn.com/forum.html
  134. ukeireland.com/forum/
  135. www.salsa.ie/Forum/
  136. www.gallagherclan.org/forum/
  137. www.irelandyes.com/forum.html
  138. classiccar.ie/forum/forumdisplay.php?f=1
  139. www.cavaliertalk.com/forums
  140. forum.passivehouse-international.org/
  141. www.forumga.net/ga/create-forum/invision.htm
  142. www.donabateportrane.com/forum/
  143. www.gardenplansireland.com/forum/forum-11.html
  144. forum.gentlebirth.com/
  145. www.donegaldarts.com/forum/
  146. forum.downsyndrome.ie/
  147. afloat.ie/forum/
  148. www.youthworkforum.ie/forum/tags.php?tag=forum
  149. http://www.digitalvomit.com/forum:start
  150. eraser.heidi.ie/forum/index.php
  151. www.thebreastway.com/index.php/forum
  152. www.sharoncorr.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=7
  153. classiccar.ie/forum/
  154. www.joomla51.com/forum/categories
  155. w-ired.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=40
  156. www.solasmissingdata.com/forum
  157. www.emeraldcircus.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=72
  158. http://www.wwoof.ie/forum/1
  159. forum.mycork.org/
  160. www.irishwebmasterforum.com
  161. www.frenchleaseback.net/forum
  162. www.magicmum.com
  163. http://community.eircom.net/
  164. http://www.octane.ie/forum/
  165. http://www.drivingschoolireland.com/phpbb/index.php
  166. http://www.boat-angling-ireland.com/phpbb/
  167. http://www.ucflforum.com/phpbb/viewforum.php?f=19
  168. http://www.workinclassrecords.com/phpbb/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=2
  169. http://www.perryblake.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=207
  170. http://foot.ie/forum.php?s=2ab4397a44dfed894a7c146576546083
  171. http://thumped.com/bbs/forum.php?s=85e6ddcc626571da12e419496ae5f54b
  172. http://fordrestorations.net/phpbb/
  173. www.adhd.ie/phpbb/
  174. http://www.galwaylaptopsurgery.com/phpbb/index.php?sid=a2baf2728fd24df8368e33eaea547bb9
  175. http://hongkonglegendsfansite.com/phpbb/
  176. tullamorecycling.com/phpbb/index.php
  177. www.vigovproductions.net/phpbb/
  178. www.bagenalstowncricketclub.com/phpbb/index.php
  179. withoutthe.net/phpbb/index.php
  180. practiseireland.com/phpbb/index.php
  181. elistaeducation.com/learner_zone/phpBB/index.php
  182. www.kilcoolegaa.ie/phpbb/index.php
  183. womenscycling.ie/phpbb/index.php
  184. www.themoviebit.com/phpbb/index.php
  185. stjosephstulla.com/phpbb/index.php
  186. www.vertigo-live.com/phpbb/index.php
  187. www.writingclub.org/phpbb/
  188. www.saudiclubcork.com/phpBB/index.php
  189. www.irishwhitewater.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2
  190. onthestep.net/forum/viewforum.php?f=42
  191. lyreandbrush.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=12
  192. www.fly-wonderful-islands.com/Forum/viewforum.php?f=9
  193. www.mythicalireland.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=16
  194. www.redsindependent.com/Forum/viewforum.php?f=1
  195. www.delorean.ie/forum/viewforum.php?f=35
  196. mbcc.ie/forum/viewforum.php?f=5
  197. www.irishairsoft.ie/forum/viewforum.php?f=21
  198. www.thelinknetwork.eu/forum/viewforum.php?id=7
  199. www.satboxes.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=2
  200. babywearingireland.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=6
  201. www.flyinginireland.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=23
  202. www.freakscene.com/forum/
  203. www.ptparty.biz/forum/
  204. www.mx5ireland.com/forum/
  205. www.leenanevillage.com/forum/
  206. www.ress.ie/forum/
  207. www.gaelforceevents.com/forum/
  208. www.mumstown.ie/forum/
  209. www.mydoggyhotel.ie/forum/
  210. www.westofirelandnetworking.com/forum/
  211. www.masonic.ie/forum/
  212. www.irishbusinesswomen.com
  213. www.algarve-guides.com/forum/
  214. www.tcdgsu.ie/forum/
  215. www.poultry.ie/forum/
  216. www.phantom-gaming.com/forum/
  217. gayweddingsireland.ie/forum/
  218. www.gigsmartireland.com/forum/
  219. galwaykayakclub.com/forum/
  220. www.gymlockr.ie/forum/
  221. www.flyfishireland.net/forum
  222. www.royalcountyflyers.com/forum
  223. www.claresoccer.net/forum/
  224. www.ruffians.ie/Forum/
  225. www.tullamorelife.net/forum/
  226. www.ulstercastingclub.org/forum/
  227. www.trimcanoeclub.ie/forum/
  228. www.fto-ireland.com/forum/
  229. www.couture-auto.com/forum/
  230. www.prettybigshoes.com/site/forum
  231. www.europeanirish.com/forum/
  232. www.frankandwalters.net/forum/
  233. support.wonderware.ie/forum/
  234. www.lunasa.ie/forum/
  235. theatticstudio.net/forum/
  236. www.roseberryhillra.ie/forum/
  237. www.wwkc.net/forum/
  238. www.dialogueireland.org/forum/
  239. www.dublinrebels.com/forum/
  240. www.balgriffin.com/forum/
  241. anonireland.com/forum/
  242. www.ucdmountaineeringclub.com/forum/
  243. www.portlaoisekenpo.com/forum/
  244. www.orielzone.com/forum/
  245. www.irishracehorseowners.com/forum/
  246. www.learning.ie/forum/
  247. www.clannad.ie/forum/
  248. support.wonderware.ie/forum/
  249. www.teresianpastpupils.ie/forum/
  250. retrostock.ie/forum/
  251. kilkennytriathlonclub.com/forum/
  252. www.spiritstore.ie/forum/
  253. www.columbansisters.org/forum/
  254. www.edublin.net/forum/
  255. www.longfordbusinessforum.com/forum/
  256. www.gotocollege.ie/forum/
  257. www.dairyglen.ie/forum/
  258. www.aitsu.ie/forum/
  259. www.postgrad.ie/forum/
  260. forums.chiffandfipple.com/
  261. www.tullaonline.com/
  262. www.toutless.com
  263. www.flutemeet.org
  264. forum.iww.ie/viewforum.php?f=2
  265. http://www.thepropertypin.com/index.php?sid=cf94a7398ae96202e1c247fb2c69e5a2
  266. www.weddingsonline.ie/discussion/viewforum.php
  267. www.kilkennycats.com/viewforum.php?f=1
  268. www.leitrim-roscommon.com/bbs/viewforum.php?f=3
  269. www.photographyireland.net/viewforum.php?f=17
  270. pipers.ie/phpBB2/viewforum.php?f=4
  271. livinghistory.ie/viewforum.php?f=20
  272. www.shelschat.com/chat/viewforum.php?f=1
  273. http://www.mrspring.info/vbulletin/index.php?s=d4ab494f032e8965e43748691ee847a5
  274. http://www.irishdancing.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?f=41
  275. http://www.soberireland.com/vbulletin/forumdisplay.php?4-Quitting-Drinking
  276. http://www.dun-laoghaire.com/discussion/index.html
  277. http://kerrycomputerservices.com/index.php/discussion/
  278. http://www.isands.ie/discussion-forum
  279. http://www.cluas.com/indie-music/Discussion.aspx
  280. http://www.celebrityslim.ie/general-discussion.aspx?p=269
  281. http://www.nuigenergynight.com/discussion.aspx
  282. http://www.ipmsireland.com/forum/
  283. http://www.pearsestadium.ie/discussion.php
  284. irishrockers.com/discussion.php
  285. www.leinster4x4.ie/vbulletin/forum.php
  286. www.globalmotorbikes.com/forums/forum.php
  287. www.stabletostable.com/forums/forum.php
  288. www.tailsandtrails.ie/forum.php
  289. healyplanthire.com/forum.php?topic=8&category=1
  290. www.romaniancommunity.net/forum.php
  291. www.drummingireland.com/forum.php
  292. www.topdog.ie/forum.php
  293. www.ultimate.tcdlife.ie/forum.php
  294. www.randalstowncsc.ie/forum.php
  295. http://www.rollercoaster.ie/Discussions.aspx
  296. http://beaut.ie/forums/index.php
  297. http://www.irishbusinessforums.com/

If you want consultancy or implementation support on your forum marketing or digital strategy, say hello or call us on +353-1-6625810.

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