In one of my previous posts, I referred to Forums as areas for online discussion, often around specific topics and interest. However, forums are more powerful than what we think.
A forum is a discussion area on a Website that allows members to make posts and start new topics without users having to be online at the same time.
Forums let you create robust online communities even with low traffic volumes since people often return to the site on a regular basis to catch up on what’s happened since then. In addition, forums tent to be more topic-focused than chat rooms. Encourage the sharing of ideas with a central way of collecting feedback. Everything that gets posted gets read again. History matters!
5 Benefits Of Having a Community
Forums will allow your company to:
- Get educational information on your Webpage
- Increase traffic through repeat visitors and capture email address and details of posters
- Gain more credibility
- Build relationship with visitors: If you post regularly and actively discuss different topics with your forum members then gradually you’ll get to know them and more importantly they’ll get to know you. People are much more likely to buy a product or service when someone they know sells or recommends it. Peers-to-peers suggestions are the most truly and honest recommendations
- Forums are great for increasing your traffic and increasing the profits you make on your website
5 Advantages of Forums
- Customers can answer one another’s questions. This reduce your support costs – Call Deflection
- If you or a customer answers someone’s question — especially with a detailed response — this information can be referenced in the future, so you don’t have to recreate it every time someone sends you the same question. Accepted Solutions
- As customers discuss your offerings, they are generating, for free, fresh content that is rich in keywords and is attractive to search engines. Content + SEO for free!
- By having an online community, customers are encouraged to visit your website more often, and then they tell others about it. Advocacy | Brand ambassadors | Long-term relationships
- Customers will typically and freely share ideas on how you could improve your offerings, market them better, and reach new prospects. Marketing Research
Differences between Forums and Social Media
- It is the community the one that generate content and discussions
- Forums are like social mixers, where everyone is at equal level
- These many to many communications tools allow anyone to start a topic and anyone to respond to one
- Content is usually by topic, rather than by people. Information flow is typically one-to-many
- It is mainly the company the one that generate topics or talk to the community
- Social networks allow members to organise around a person’s relationship or interests
- People that know each other will connect by a variety of common interests
- Contain a huge array of people who may have nothing in common
- Information flow is typically one-to-one
How To Generate Synergy Within Other Channels
The Community should work closely, aligns with each area and be at the forefront of client’s mind when making business decisions – the impact on the Community and vice versa should always be considered, as well as the potential value driven.
Does that sound familiar? I’ll bet it does!
Top Tips To Build Your Digital Strategy
– Try to put the forum as the centre of your digital strategy by seeing it as your own social channel. Let your customers and prospects talk, debate, criticise or make suggestions around your products and services. You will see how powerful and useful is for the brand
– Define a digital plan based on user experience
– Delineate roles and different objectives for each digital channel. Collaboration and synergy within platforms is the only way to succeed
I would love to hear your thoughts. Please feel free to share below!