If it weren’t for online forums, I’d have very little social interaction – especially when I first started my business back in 2007. My income was detrimental to our family’s survival at this time as my husband’s once thriving business began to fold. Meanwhile I was also caring for four small children under 6 yrs. There wasn’t much time for going out to meet friends.
Building my business was very important to me. I needed the support of others who understood what I was trying to do and could offer advice. I soon found online forms to be an invaluable source of support, advice and business opportunities.
The great thing about forums is that they aren’t just a source of social interaction and business advice. You can find customers on forums too. Many experts refer to this as forum marketing. Many business owners find that forum marketing brings them more sales, but you need a strategy to reap the benefits of this free marketing resource.
Choose Forums the Reach Your Target Market
If you sell handmade jewelry, you’ll want to join forums where the people who want your products hang out. If you sell abayas and hijabs, you’ll have more success targeting forums with fashion forward sisters. The most profitable forums are those that represent your niche or industry.
Set Up an Account
Next step after choosing a forum is setting up an account. You’ll probably be asked to choose a user name. Make it a good one. It should be simple and easy to remember. You’ll also need an avatar. If you have a logo, you can use that, or some other graphic or photo. Avoid offensive or controversial avatars.
Create an Interesting Profile
Create a profile that is interesting to read and lets others know about what’s important to you. Add your contact information in case anyone wants to get in contact with you.
Set up Your Signature
If your account has a signature section at the bottom of your profile, add a tidbit of business info (your SP would be good) along with a link to your website. You can also encourage others to click on your link by sharing special promotions and discounts. Keep it simple and avoid flashy graphics.
Most forums have a section specifically for newbies to introduce themselves to everyone. Take a moment to post an introduction before you start commenting.
Participate Regularly and Sincerely
Make sure you engage others in forum conversation. Share helpful advice and contribute useful information. This is the perfect opportunity for you to establish credibility through your expertise. Don’t jump in and start pitching and selling your product or service to everyone. Work to build relationships and trust first.
Avoid All the Drama
Forums are known for being hotbeds of controversy and conflict. Some arguments are the naturally occurring result of two strong, opposing opinions; others are the result of annoying trolls who get the kicks from showing up on forums stirring up trouble.
Try to avoid participating in controversial topics, don’t jump to respond to criticism, stop your end of the conversation when you notice things becoming heated and remember why you are on the forum in the first place.
Muslimahs Working at Home was created to provide women a financial alternative to earning an income outside of the home. Our objective is to provide women with the resources and tools they need to operate a successful, home-based business.