How to Market an Online Forum to Get the Most Out of Your Community?

Have you ever participated in an online forum? Chances are, if you’re reading this, you have. Forums are a commonplace part of our everyday lives. Whether we’re chatting with friends or meeting up with strangers to discuss a particular topic, we’re often drawn to the internet for a friendly conversation. In fact, according to HubSpot Blogs research, 44% of American adults use forums regularly.

Whether you run a forum yourself or are the admin of one, you’re probably wondering how you can get the most out of it. After all, it’s unlikely that you’d put in the time and effort needed to set up a community if you weren’t sure it would be worthwhile. On that note, let’s dive into how to market an online forum.

Why Should You Market an Online Forum?

Like any other business, the need to market an online forum arises out of the desire to make money. However, the key to successfully marketing an online forum is understanding why people come back year after year to participate in, and contribute to, your community. To help you build a deeper connection with your audience and encourage them to stay for longer, let’s look at a few factors that could help your forum stand out from the crowd.

Good Community Dynamics

An engaged community is a productive community. To achieve this, you must establish good community dynamics from the get-go. To effectively market an online forum, you must consider how you can engage potential contributors in a useful and friendly manner. To create a welcoming atmosphere, you must do your best to eliminate the elements that could cause tension or upset within your community. This means you must be ready to listen and respond appropriately to concerns raised by members.

For example, let’s say that you’re the admin of a forum focused on fashion and style. One of your members, Lily, submits a helpful tip about affordable yet fashionable dresses. While it’s a great tip and could potentially be a goldmine for your community, you have another member, Kate, who strongly disagrees. In the past, Kate had a problem with Lily using the wrong terms when referring to the clothing styles, so now she feels slighted that another member is taking credit for something she had previously shared.

In this case, you can imagine how stressful and unpleasant the interaction could become, especially if you don’t address Kate’s concern in a way that makes her feel comfortable participating in, and contributing to, your community. To avoid this, you can’t necessarily silence Kate or remove her from the community. However, you can educate her about fashion terminology and how it is used in your specific forum. This could be done with a quick note or an update in the weekly newsletter that Kate receives about the fashion forum. In this way, you show her that her input is valued and that her concerns will be addressed in a considerate manner.

Diverse Content

To stand out from the crowd, your community needs unique content. To achieve this, you must produce content that is both useful and beneficial to your audience. Moreover, in an effort to expand your community’s reach, you must produce content in a way that is easy to understand and enjoyable to your audience. To create interesting discussion and cut through the clutter, you can use different methods to obtain content that is both engaging and informative.

For example, suppose that your fashion forum is hosted on a website. In that case, you could use the website’s content to promote your community. However, if the content itself isn’t engaging, you could produce helpful tips or advice about fashion in graphic format as a standalone piece of content, or you could even consider creating a podcast to enlighten your audience about the world of fashion. Podcasts are incredibly popular and could be a great way to establish your fashion community.

Regular Updates

To keep your audience interested, you must produce content that is both relevant and beneficial to them. To do this, you must update your community with new material at least once every month, if not more frequently. To effectively market an online forum, you must consider how you can encourage your audience to come back for more, as well as how you can introduce new products and services that they might find useful or interesting. When you produce content on a regular basis, you allow your audience to look forward to, and benefit from, your updates.

Established Brand

To attract potential contributors and grow your community, you must establish a brand for yourself within the fashion industry. To do this, you must focus on creating high-quality content that is both engaging and informative. Moreover, you must find a way to present yourself as an expert within your industry. With the right branding and an engaging product, you can truly market an online forum and gain the most from it.

For example, if you’ve got a fashion blog, you can use that to establish yourself as an authority in your industry. Once you’ve got some content published, you can look for ways to connect with, and promote, your blog, including through social media.

Regular Activities

An engaged community is a productive community. Therefore, to get the most from your community, you must engage with it regularly. To achieve this, you must set up at least a few regular activities within your community. This could be something as simple as having a weekly chat with contributors or creating a YouTube series about fashion.

For example, suppose that you’re the admin of a fashion forum with a population of 10,000 members. One way you could engage with your audience would be to hold a fashion show once per month where members can come together to share their favorite looks. Alternatively, you can hold a live chat with contributors at least twice per month, or perhaps even more frequently. In addition, you can use your community to post questions and get expert advice from industry professionals via your blog.

When done well, these types of activities can do a lot to foster a sense of belonging within your community, as well as provide you with content to generate and maintain interest within your audience. This, in turn, could lead to more substantial participation within your community and the production of even more unique and valuable content. So, while it’s important to make money from an online forum, it’s also important to find ways to make it a beneficial experience for your audience. To do this, you must establish a brand for yourself within your industry, focus on creating high-quality content, and engage with your audience on a regular basis.