From internet forums to blogs to Twitter the range of online communication methods has never been greater. The Oxford Internet Survey (OxIs) Report 2009 found that 33% of UK Internet users now take part in online communities or post on discussion forums. This has increased from 16% in 2007, and is bound to continue increasing in the near future. Consequently business and website owners should look to embrace the possibilities that these new communication mediums provide.
Specialist discussion forums can not only provide a wealth of information and advice from a variety of viewpoints, but can also be a medium-term online marketing strategy. By responding to questions you can demonstrate your expertise in your field of business, and as you become part of the community you may start to receive requests for business and referrals. Most forums also allow you to add a ‘signature’ to your posts, which in some cases can benefit your search engine marketing strategy.
Participating in forums should be both ‘give’ and ‘take’ – you put effort into helping others, and hopefully in the process you will also be promoting your website and business.