You need to remember when participating on these platforms that, just like in real life, you don't want to go in guns blazing and speak about yourself the whole time. You need to be respectful of the community already there and ease your way into the network. Blogs and forums operate slightly differently so I have broken them down below and outlined how you should approach each platform.
Blog: Quick definition:
- An online diary.
- The focus is on the content.
- People can comment and you can comment back.
- It is like a continuously updating website.
Figure 1 Blog Comments
Blog commenting Strategy
- The best way to approach this is to subscribe in your reader to between 8 and 10 of your favourite blogs (all related to your website and the services you offer). Make sure that you actually like reading these blogs so that it doesn't seem like such a chore.
- When you read something you like or feel a need to comment on, then you usually have to provide a name, email address and website if you have one (use your real name and give your website URL including the http:// part).
- You want to be as genuine as possible here – as if you were talking to someone in real life.
- Usually, if you are a first time commenter, you comment goes through an approval process (so it will take a while before you can see it live).
- Be as authentic as possible otherwise you will be considered a spammer
- Only comment when you have something to contribute ("Nice Post" – is NOT good enough)
- The value of this is that not only is your URL appearing in other places, but if people like what you say then they will click through to your site to see who you are and what you offer.
This is a place you can go to ask questions and find answers from a community of people interested in the same thing.
Figure 2 Example of a Forum Forum Strategy:
- When looking at forums you have to actually sign up to these and create a profile.
- You find related forums by Googling "Your Keywords + Forum"
- Again, try and be as authentic as possible, putting up a real picture (or at least a decent substitute), listing your gender, birthday etc etc
- You can create a signature which should be your name (or nickname if this is what you choose, with a link to your website – I suggest only setting this up once you have been active on the forum for a few days).
- Next is to find your way around the topics and see if there are any new threads you can answer or comment on.
- Communities on forums can be very active and won't hesitate in calling you out if they think you are spamming them.
- Try and keep the comments generic and don't mention your business for the first few instances, if they want to find out more about you they can go to your profile page.
- You can start your own threads if you would like answers to something or would just like to point out an interesting fact. Make sure that you start it in the correct category.
- Once you are well established on the forums you can start mentioning interesting clients you had (not by name but using them as a case study) and even dropping in the URL to a blog post you wrote or to events you are hosting – you HAVE to have done the legwork first though otherwise you run the risk of being kicked off.