This is Day 22 of the 30 Days to 3,000 Fans program. You can learn more about the program here.
Forums are one of the best places on the internet to generate awareness about a product and to drive traffic. There are forums for just about anything and relevant forums around the web provide a great opportunity to participate in the conversation and drive awareness to your Facebook Page. In addition to forums around the web, you also have forums on your Facebook Page, which are installed by default. Today we’ll be going over a few external forum strategies as well how to take advantage of your Facebook Page forums.
External Forum Strategies
In general, forums are a great place for targeted conversations. You can search for forums on any given topic (hopefully one related to your brand) from Google and then join those forums to communicate with others. It’s valuable for building relationships as well as promoting your brand. Here are three strategies that we think are extremely important when using forums to build your brand:
1. Use A Consistent Signature
When you register for any forum, you can typically modify your profile. From that profile, I suggest that you go modify our signature to include you name, general information about yourself and include a link to your Facebook Page. When search engines crawl those pages it will generate search engine juice for you as well as drive new users from the forum to your Facebook Page.
2. Make Valuable Contributions
Forums are filled with people that are talking crap and making useless contributions. Don’t be one of those people! Contribute to the conversations and even step out on a limb to create your own forum threads once in a while. Active forum users tend to take note of those users that are also active . The more active you become, the more likely that you’ll drive traffic back to the sites in your forum signature.
3. Avoid Aggressive Self Promotion
While posting a link in your forum signature will help drive traffic, the last thing that you want to do is spam the forums. Don’t post threads that are about your Facebook Page or website. Instead be conversational and eventually there will be opportunities to insert your company into the conversation. It’s not about you, it’s about the community.
Internal Forum Strategies
In addition to the external forum strategies that you can use to drive new fans to your Facebook Page, you also want to continuously engage users on your Page. As such, the forums application can be extremely useful for accomplishing that. Below are three strategies that I recommend for engaging users within your forums:
1. Regularly Monitor The Forums
Often times users will go to your forums if you’ve left it as a tab. Whether or not there is content there, many users will go ahead and post their own threads and then check back later for replies. It’s important to make sure that you are engaging the community within your page on all fronts and that includes within the forums. Check back regularly to see if any content has been posted and be sure to reply to any new posts.
2. Post New Thread Topics To Your Page
If you are looking to create a new dialogue and drive more users to the forums, post links to new discussion threads to your Facebook Page feed. I receive a number of new threads from users on a regular basis but often times those threads aren’t relevant to all of my fans. For those threads that are relevant, it makes sense to post them to the feed and encourage fans to go contribute to the forum thread.
3. Promote The Forum On Your Website
While you can promote your Facebook page forum you can also take advantage of the forum for things like support. I have a couple of pages on AllFacebook which encourage users to go post threads to the AllFacebook page forum in order to get a response. Most often I find that other fans will answer a fan’s question without needing to answer it myself. Other times I can engage users directly and answer whatever questions they may have.
Facebook Pages serve as an excellent community platform for any brand and whether it’s posting updates to your fans or providing them with a forum to post questions and have general discussions, you should leverage all aspects of them.
For today’s task you should take the time to get your forum going. Post a couple of discussion threads and link back to them through a feed update. This way you can get some initial conversation going in your forums. As your fan base grows you’ll notice activity in your forum will increase.
Why Use The Forum?
Some of you may be wondering why I’m suggesting to use the Facebook Page forums when status updates and wall posts duplicate much of the functionality of forums. The first reason is that at the time of writing this guide, Facebook did not allow page admins to remove their discussion forums. That means you have two choices: have an empty forum or have an active forum. Forums most definitely serve a different purpose and also provide page admins with another communication channel. While some could live without forums, I recommend taking advantage of them since they are a permanent fixture on your page for the time being.