The Marketing Report
Forum Marketing Strategies Conference on Saturdays at 3pm PST
From the Desk of Thomas Prendergast
The art of engaging with forums can be rather daunting. Dealing with the unique personalities of the admins and moderators can be challenging. Putting on the thick skin for the inevitable flaming and dealing with the trolls as well can be a test of your virtue. But learning the trade of being able to join in the discussions will have generous benefits.
I have been on the Internet since 1993 when the Mosaic browser was made available to the public by NCSA. It was in 1994 I discovered using tables <table> tags by experimenting with my text editor on a site I came across using it. (thanks and appreciation goes out to Arnold Aosved and Kristi Rushing) for introducing me to the Internet and HTML markup back in those days when I lived in Olympia Washington. I was a newbie baby on the Internet back when there really wasn't anyone else there. So I was pretty much on my own. After my first mlm deal with Powernet blew up around 1996, ship wrecking 1000s of people and 1000s of customers I lost contact with, I decided a third party community was a good idea in case this ever happened again.
I already had experience in writing HTML markup code, so learning CGI was not that hard. I discovered Matt Wright's WWW board cgi script about the same time and built a community with it. It was crude by today's standards, but it was a beginning. This was the beginning of and the foundation of the Forums we see today. So I think I can claim being well experienced and somewhat of an expert regarding forums.
Forums are communities, not advertising platforms. You need to truly understand this. If you think a forum is a place to just lay eggs (ads, backlinks, etc.) you will be shunned by the community as a spammer and expelled and banned quickly. They are communities. They need to be treated as such. When you join a forum, think like you just enrolled in a school or local club or church. Read the posts. Get to understand the nature of the people that are active in that forum. Read the threads. Find common grounds. Make it a point to join into the forum consistently. Start posting relevant questions in threads that you have interest.
You start making friends this way. Being consistent reinforces your friendships with others. It will build. It will educate you as well. It is what makes forums work. They are communities. People in these communities grow and earn seniority; therefore your value grows and is measurable.
This is the word and term you must remember when posting to forums. What does it mean?
en·gaged adjective in-?g?jd, en-
1: involved in activity : occupied, busy
2: greatly interested : committed
When you start working into a forum, you are on a pecking order. Your stats will show how many posts you have made. Those who have been in that forum for many years with thousands of posts will trump you. If they find your involvement is dubious, they will see to it you are ejected. This is why it is important to enter these forums with humility, start slow, ask relevant questions. Seek information and wisdom. Be prepared to lurk and read and watch for a while.
You will begin to develop a sense when you start posting. Because it is your first post and new posts they will reflect your ignorance and should come across with humility. Just like making friends in a new school. Tread carefully. Start out slow and build it up with consistency.
Make friends, ask questions, seek wisdom. Many forums have excellent content. The Warriors Forum has special deals where you can buy services, WordPress sites, etc. Make a few purchases on occasions. If you are thinking about setting up WordPress sites or have done so, seek wisdom on the threads and work with the people there for learning what these experts have to offer.
As you progress overtime you will develop into an expert with respect on those forums. It will be the best thing you do for your business. Education is priceless and you will gain a lot of knowledge and wisdom as you continue your engagement on the forums. It takes time. Just like success does. You must pay the dues, but you never will if you don't get started.
If you are in Veretekk, you are probably aware of the V2 Groups. Here is an example of a V2 Group:
These are teams coming together for a common goal or purpose. The advanced technology of the V2 Market Manager allows the V2 owner to manage and track the work being done within the group or team. The above mentioned V2 Group called "The Bull Pen", shares each other's blog post via their own Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter accounts, In other words, in the Skype chat group that is part of the Bull Pen V2 group they each post their respective blog links and the others share those links in their own social accounts. Even more so, the team posts blogs within each other's blogs, thereby sharing the 'juice' of blogging, and building a virtual blog cloud. This is the art of a symbiotic group. They will have meetings from time to time to discuss strategies. However, every one of them is promoting something unique to each individual not as a group. They are a team.
Creating teams to work forums also takes skill, knowledge and patients. Veretekk's V2 Groups gives you the platform to work as a team utilizing the conference room, setting up a Skype chat group, and creating links within that group. While writing this article I have set up a V2 Group called V2 Team Forum: http://veretekk.com/group/team_forum
In the V2 Group you will learn the proper etiquette with working in other forums. How to distinguish a forum to use as a SEO link and content compared to building your brand, or acquiring information to creating and becoming part of a community to establishing yourself as an authority and expert on many subjects.
In fact some of the forums I attend are strictly a stealth process (like .edu forums) just so I can EVENTUALLY establish a back link and others are strictly for my education and search for information.
Never ever promote anything on a forum. That should never be your reason for being there. If you want to run ads in a forum, then pay to run banner ads or however the owner has paid advertising set up. Note: Not all forums even have or allow advertising at all.
Look at it this way. That forum belongs to someone. It is their farm land, their territory; they are the lord of that piece of real estate. You are a visitor there. When you come to visit for the first time read the terms and expected behavior from you. Behave yourself accordingly.
How would you feel if I came to your ranch, your farm, your store, and set up a booth there, my own merchant cart and spray painted my ads all over your buildings?
These days moderators are trigger happy just looking for a reason to expel a new member. So be warned. Incidentally, as I have been writing this article I went to the work-at-home-forum.com forum, because there has been a long standing thread about Veretekk there and I was curious as to the current status of this forum for future V2 meetings and to evaluate it as a potential candidate for my coming trainings.
Of note, the forum is not easily found in Google SERPS for the keyword search for their domain name "work-at-home-forum". I was looking for this forum a few weeks ago and last night I discovered them in an old bookmark. They are still around. However their Alexa ranking has gone from around 20,000 to over 145,000. What happened? Alexa shows activity, not SERPS. Alexa measures how many people actually show up on the site. Something has happened badly for this forum.
Just recently we terminated the mlm aspect of Veretekk a 15 year old company. I would assume that is pretty big news, right? Press releases and articles are written in that regard. Pretty good reading.
There is a thread about Veretekk from 2006 - 2010 where the thread stops. So I had to re-register to this forum (registered with my real name too as Veretekk CEO) and after doing so, posted in that thread, Veretekk is no longer an mlm, and is still alive and doing well. I posted two links in that post. One to the press release and one to the article about 'Why service oriented mlms always fail". Timely stuff. Long articles and to copy and paste them into the thread would not be consider good practice.
The post was waiting for moderation. I got moderated. I got terminated for spamming the forum. Apparently they have gotten pretty sensitive about this. I was not promoting. I was in the appropriate thread. I revealed who I was. I also revealed I had a previous account but apparently the email on record was not working for my password retrieval. Still no warnings instantly banned.
I share this with you, as even using the utmost care, I still got banned. Like I said, tread carefully.
Setting up your Profile
When the time comes to set up your profile, do not use it as a promo platform or an SEO tool. Use your real name. If you are going to put links in your profile, link to your blog, do not link to an affiliate site. Use your profile to help people learn who you are. New people that join a forum are almost always suspect and they will watch you. Use your profile to confirm to them you are real and legitimate.
You should also set up your profile as best you can, upload a picture of you or an avatar that is original and unique. Upload pictures, fill out the profiles, ad as much information that you can to help people know who you are.
Last but not least, keep your profile current.
For those of you that master Photoshop and design and are good or great artist, go for it. Like me, the world is your palette. But for the rest who are not or do not possess the skills to create and use Photoshop, I can help you with this.
Go to Google and choose the "Images" options. You can do this with Bing as well. Now search for something you like, say, friends, or expert, or dragon, or blog, or social, etc. But when you search add the word "icon" or "avatar". Like "friend icon" or "space avatar" or "warrior avatar" or "dog icon", etc. Go ahead and try the variations. You will find something you can use.
Then right button click on the image and save it to your PC. Make sure the graphic is square in dimensions. Save several to a folder so you can refer to them or have a selection of them as you set up your Forum accounts.
You can also use a photo of yourself, but make sure the file is not too big. You can do this online at http://www.webresizer.com/ then save the edited file for use as your forum avatar. There are many online services for this that even allow you to add captions and borders.
Personally, I send a few hours at a time preparing new avatars and icons in advanced before I go about finding new forums to join.
I suggest creating a text document that lists all the forums you sign up in. Do this so you have the records in one place for the date, name of the forum, url, username of record, email of record and the current password.
Better Networker Forum
Username: Thomas Prendergast
Why Do Work
Username: Thomas Prendergast
I keep all my online accounts (except for banking) like my Wordpress, my own PhPBBB forums, hosting accounts, etc. You get the picture on a text file on a thumb USB removable drive.
I have over 1000 accounts on the Internet and this is how I manage them. Each one with a cryptic long password and all of them different.
Facebook vs Forums
I have been studying the Internet since I got started back in 1993. It is an amazing laboratory and continues it's growth on one hand and affirmation of the retarded effect in our culture on the other.
Forums are a more vertical vehicle for communications. Easier to search for information on and the structure lends itself to finding information unlike Facebook. Threads in forums are usually vertical in nature and easier to follow and research. Forums offer far more valuable content then the droning narcissistic ramblings found in most Facebook posts.
It has always amazed me the amount of time people spend getting nothing done, time wasting and self-grandiosity as is done on Facebook. It amazes me the people I know who say they cannot think of anything to write, yet in a matter of a day can pour out on Facebook.
Forget Facebook; discipline yourself to the increase of knowledge that occurs in good forums.
I will easily explain this with a simple illustration. The Warrior Forum is probably the best forum resource for Internet Marketing. It is a magnate for the IM entrepreneur. So I went there searching for a solid list of Press Release sites, in early preparation for one of my next articles on how to incorporate Press Releases into your SEO as well as giving your campaigns that professional touch.
We will be conducting a weekly mentoring, training, etiquette and brain storming for forum engagement every week. To stay connected in this training join the V2 Forum Team group.
Thomas Prendergast, The Marketing Pro
Just a reminder to make sure you have the Alexa tool bar plugin installed. It is an important tool among others. But I consider the Alexa tool the most important plug in for Internet Marketers.
Install Alexa Tool Bar