Online forums are the “old timers” of social marketing. Not as flashy as Facebook or Twitter, online forums are places where people with a common interest gather to trade insights, discuss ideas and to meet new friends. There are online forums for professionals, for politics, for pet lovers, gamers, travel, and for parents, both at a national level and locally. There are not many interests where you cannot find a niche online community. Like any gathering of consumers, there is a real marketing opportunity, but one that can be successfully accessed only by applying very careful rules of etiquette.
The ambiance in most online forums is relaxed and casual. It is very important to understand at the outset that the members of an online community are there because they enjoy each other’s company. Communities never form around the idea of being monetized and overt marketing is typically strongly discouraged Read the rest of this entry »