If You’re Not Incorporating Videos on Facebook You’re Doing it Wrong

There’s really no better way to say it than this: Videos are a must to be successful on social media, but especially so on Facebook with the changes that have come down the pipe.

Correction: Quality videos are a must to be successful on social media.

It’s easy to post a video on Facebook, but if you’re not making sure it’s in line with your social media strategy or has a strategy built around it, the odds of success are not in your favor. According to Cisco, 80 percent of all content consumed online will be video by 2019 and that’s only six months away folks. The time to get going on videos was yesterday, so if you could use some guidance on how to correctly incorporate them into your Facebook strategy, you’re in luck, MILO is here to dish out some advice.

Focus on what matters

Gone are the days of relying on metrics like views and followers to judge the success of your videos. In fact, Marcus Sheridan, of The Sales Lion and IMPACT fame, stressed at Social Media Marketing World 2018, that you need not get caught up with the things that don’t matter, such as views.

According to Sheridan, you have to establish other parameters to measure success early on and determine the KPI’s that will dictate if you’re winning or not. Your video can have a million views, but if none of those views have generated sales for the business, are you truly winning?

Brian Fanzo, founder of iSocialFanz, is another social media expert who is urging marketers and businesses to say goodbye to vanity metrics, as Facebook is all about those meaningful interactions now. For Fanzo, the focus now is on bringing authenticity and creating participatory content when building out your social media strategies. By the way, did you know that Facebook Live gets six times the interactions than native videos on Facebook?

Content is Still Key

Mari Smith, Facebook’s designated “Small Business and Facebook Marketing Expert” shared an interesting statistic at SMMW 2018 – people gaze five times longer at video than static content on Facebook (and Instagram). Due to this, we need to move away from the whole “buy my stuff” style of copywriting and begin thinking about the videos we create from more of a screenwriter’s viewpoint. Remember, relationships first and business second.

If you’re wanting to move the sales needle, remember these five types of content which are favorites of Sheridan:

  • Content that is willing to look at the good, the bad and the ugly. To create trust with the customer, you must be willing to look at all sides. Remember, it’s not the competition who is keeping your lights on, it’s the customers and they value transparency.
  • Content that openly discusses money, costs, pricing, rates, etc. Did you know that 90 percent of businesses won’t address the cost of their service/product online? Take a chance and be one of the 10 percent who will.
  • Content that is willing to turn customers away. This one is important: don’t be afraid to tell folks exactly who you are and what your company can do, including what you’re not.
  • Content that promotes self-selection. “For me” searches have increased 130 percent over the past two years and “Should I” searches are up 60 percent. Incorporate this in your content strategies.
  • Content designed to replace or facilitate the traditional buyer experience. “First Ride” and “Shop With Me” videos continue to see their popularity surge, which is telling of what social media users are looking for.

Videos on Facebook are here to stay and if your brand implements some of these tips, you’ll see some encouraging results. Confused about how to get started? Remember, you’ve always got MILO Detroit in your corner!

 

Pinterest your way to more clicks, email subscribers & sales

Businesses use social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to connect with their audiences and promote services, but over the years Pinterest has grown to become a powerful search platform to further target audiences before they make a purchase.

According to Pew Research Center, only 29% of U.S. adults use Pinterest but learning how to maximize and best use this platform can be key to an increase in clicks, email subscribers and sales.

Pinterest is commonly used to browse around for something to use in the future, narrow down ideas or find something specific. Today, businesses are taking advantage of what pinners are using Pinterest to better promote their services.

Be prepared
Before you dive into using Pinterest, it’s important to have a marketing plan in place to ensure this is the best direction to go. The plan should focus on how the business is going to use Pinterest to increase traffic, email subscribers and clicks. Take into consideration what topics to focus on and turn them into boards, featuring related pins.

Pinterest uses boards to gather pins and businesses can use this to showcase their products and help consumers find exactly what they are looking for.

Do your research to maximize reach
When you have an idea of what topics you want to feature, think about your target market and research what keywords for search perform best.  Step into the shoes of the audience and determine what terms they use when searching for your product.

For example, if your business is all about social media, your pins should feature social media tips, email marketing, tips to improve branding and more.  Keywords should also relate to social media, marketing, strategy and more.

Pinterest is for more than ideas
Wpromote, a full-service digital marketing agency in California, uses Pinterest to create campaigns to expand their reach. According to Pinterest, this agency wanted to expand their clients’ reach with a lower cost per action.  People use Pinterest to not only scroll through content but to plan purchases.

“We’ve found that people on Pinterest are more actively trying to plan or make a purchase than on other platforms. Being able to reach them when they’re in that mindset is a primary driver for the strong performance we’re seeing.” – Ashley Talley, Wpromote Account Director

With the use of Promoted Pins, their campaigns included 40% lower costs per action and 26% lower costs per thousand than other paid channels. They were able to reach new customers via Pinterest at a much lower cost than other paid channels.

Use eye-catching imagery
Along with using keywords and taking advantage of Promoted Pins, design plays a part in getting more people interested in your Pinterest.

Taking the time to design beautiful and striking graphics, focusing on the layout and creating useful pin descriptions are a few design ways to help increase traffic to your website. Using design tools like Canva, Crello and Adobe Photoshop can help to create impactful images.

As Pinterest expert Peg Fitzpatrick said, you want to maximize your efforts and create content that inspires, teaches and visually appearing to gain the attention of the audience.

Eye-catching images within your pins can make or break your business. The better the image used, the more clicks, traffic to website and email subscribers you can potentially have.  Preparing a style guide with brand colors, fonts and logos can help plan out your Pinterest layout easily.

We can help you plan how to use Pinterest to increase traffic, gain more email subscribers and improve sales. Contact us!

 

Using Twitter Can Increase Your Customer Base!

Did you know there are over 330 million active daily users on Twitter? If you’re looking to increase your customer base, interact with your audience more and improve your sales, Twitter is a great platform to use.

At this year’s Social Media Marketing World, top media experts discussed everything Twitter including tools to use, algorithm, analytics and how to turn conversations into customers.

Below are some key takeaways to connect with more of your customer base and increase sales.

 
The Value of a Tweet
Small businesses have started turning to Twitter to target their audience and increase their customer base. With that, it’s important to take into consideration the value of a tweet and how it can benefit your business.  

International Social Media Trainer Nicky Kriel stressed the value of a tweet is NOT the number of impressions, reach, engagement or if the post goes viral. The value is: The tweet drives traffic to your website, makes the right customers aware of the business, builds business relationships and generates revenue for your business.

To increase the value of your tweet, take a look at Twitter Analytics. This gives you the chance to dive deep into the data of the account and learn what works best.  Here you can be aware of who your audience is, their locations and their interests.

 
Produce great content with Twitter’s timeline algorithm
Creative Content Marketers duo Andrew and Pete shared their strategy for working with the Twitter algorithm with the acronym TUCEPM!

The Twitter algorithm ensures the most important tweets appear at the top of users’ timelines. Per Twitter, tweets that followers are more likely to care about will show up first based on accounts and tweets with which they interact.

Keeping the algorithm in mind, there are ways to achieve organic reach. Check out a few below:

  • Timeliness: Newer posts get shown more often than older ones, so it’s important to post in real-time and relevant times to your audience. Take advantage of relevant trending topics and post a few minutes before or after the hour as opposed to at the top of the hour.
  • User interests: Use Twitter analytics to find out what your audience cares about the most.
  • Credibility signals: Twitter’s algorithm favors accounts that are credible, meaning the profile is complete with a name, bio, location, website, profile picture and header image. Tweets shouldn’t have broken links, swearing, nudity, high bounce rates or aren’t mobile responsive.
  • Engagement: The more engaging a tweet is, the greater its relevance score, which means it will show up across more timelines as a top tweet. Twitter takes into account the amount of time spent reading a tweet, sharing via direct messaging or if someone clicked the profile as a result of the tweet.
  • Tweets that have high engagement often include one of the following: “RT if,” “Retweet if,” “RT and follow to enter,” a Twitter poll, asks questions, mention/tag someone or uses GIFs.
  • Past engagement: People see more tweets from accounts they have engaged with in the past so increase engagement now to benefit in the future.
  • Media: Users are shown more of the media type they prefer based on what they have engaged with in the past. Along with your standard tweets, add in a variety of videos, images, GIFs and polls to keep followers engaged

As Andrew and Pete said using this acronym can help your account get the organic reach it deserves even with the new algorithm.

 
Improve your Twitter account with these tools
Throughout their workshops, four Twitter experts shared various tools that can help step up your Twitter game, work well with the Twitter algorithm and improve your content marketing. Below is a list of tools you can use can help grow your Twitter account.

Twitter Analytics
Measure and boost your impact by analyzing your followers’ interests, locations and demographics. Twitter analytics provide a 28 day summary or a summary by month to see what is working best for your account.

ManageFlitter
This tool allows you to manage multiple accounts, grow your business by finding relevant people to connect with and schedule tweets at optimal times.

Zest
A Google Chrome Extension that provides you with smart marketing content that is hand curated. This extension is similar to Sprout Social’s “Find Content” feature.

Union Metrics
Union Metrics provides social media analytics for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr.

Social Jukebox
Allows users to automated and schedule content on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Tweriod
Tweriod provides you with the best times to tweet by analyze your tweets and your followers’ tweets.

ClickToTweet
This tool encourages people to Tweet something by giving them a link. People who use this tool can promote, share and track content on Twitter.

Reach & Impressions: What Does it All Mean?

If you’re a social media manager, you understand how important it is for your content to be seen and engaged with.

One of your main goals for social media management is to increase the account’s audience and  brand awareness. With that in mind, it’s important to know the difference between reach and impressions. Both terms have similar meanings, but provide different results on social media.


Reach vs. Impressions
Reach is the total number of people who can see your content and Impressions are the number of times your content is displayed, no matter if it was engaged with or not. For example, if a post was shown to the same person three different times, it would be 1 reach and 3 impressions.  

Clients wish that all of their followers would see and interact with every piece of content posted but it doesn’t happen. For instance, the Regional Transit Authority (RTA) has 7,200 followers, but the organic content doesn’t result in 7,200 likes, comments, and shares. Without a post being promoted (like the post below), the organic content only receives a small percentage of interactions.   


Why Reach & Impressions Matters (+ which is more important)
Both reach and impressions are important because they help increase brand awareness and grow the audience.  

Depending on an account’s goal, you might want to focus on just one or the other. If the main goal is to get content out to a specific number or people, then focus on reach. Shift the focus to impressions if your main goal is to increase brand awareness and you want your content shown a specific number of times.

However, Sprout Social reports reach may be less than impressions since one person can see multiple impressions. But knowing who your target audience is and what kind of content they like to see can help to increase both.

Something more important than reach and impressions is engagement. Engagement is the number of interactions people have with your content, whether it’s likes, comments, shares or retweets. According to AdWeek, it’s considered to be the most important metric for social media campaigns. If people are liking and interacting with your content, they may be likely to share it with their friends. If you’re receiving high-quality engagement on your content, reach and impressions will continue to grow.

If you think about it, engagement is the final step in this three-part process. Reach and impressions work together to drive engagement to your content. It all starts with content and what the audience likes to see.

Still don’t understand the difference between reach, impressions and how beneficial it all is? MILO’s team of experts are here to help increase your brand’s awareness! Contact us.

5 Sprout Social Tools to Take Advantage of in 2018


If you’re in the business of social media marketing, how do you manage social media marketing tasks?

At MILO, we use Facebook Business Manager and Sprout Social to help us manage our clients social media activity.

Next to Buffer & Hootsuite, Sprout Social is a social media management platform that can help streamline workflows and ensure your content reaches the right audience at the right time. We’ve identified five tools that can help you integrate with the platform to maximize its capabilities.  These tools enable users to find content efficiently, review social media analytics in real-time, and connect with the audience all within the same web environment.

Tool #1: Find Content/Content Suggestions

Looking for content quickly? Turn to the Find Content section under the Publishing tab.

Sprout Social recently announced Content Suggestions as a way to find current and engaging content. This tool aggregates shared content from various social channels to help the user find articles from trusted sources, posts from industry blogs and other brand-related media.

The content is aggregated from links shared on Twitter and based on an algorithm created by Sprout’s Data Science team, each article is matched to one of the featured content categories.

Tool #2: Reports

Getting ready to present social media updates to a client? Turn to Sprout Social for automated analytics!

Using the Group Report option, you’ll be able to see all of the analytics for the channels you have connected on the platform. The report gives you the opportunity to analyze your social strategy and compare data to understand what works well for the account. Included in the reports are: Impressions, Engagements, Audience Growth and Link Clicks.

Sprout Social also gives you the opportunity to review each profile in full depth. This is an opportunity to analyze data for individual profiles including audience growth, total engagements, top posts and impressions.

 

                                                 

 

Tool #3: Messages & Smart Inbox

Interact with your audience without leaving Sprout Social by using the Smart Inbox! Located in the Messages tab, Smart Inbox provides users the opportunity to monitor and engage with conversations across Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. It also allows users to customize their inbox feed, monitor keywords and hashtags, assign tasks to other team members and keep in touch with viewers.

Tool #4: Discovery

If you are interested in seeing what others are saying about a specific topic, use Sprout Social’s Discovery tool. This tool allows you to find conversations and people to engage with based on keywords relating to your business. You can even narrow the search by adding a location to find a highly geo-targeted audience.

Along with finding new conversations, you can increase your follower count by following accounts. Additionally, clean up your account based on Sprout’s suggestions. Using the Suggestions, you can see the account’s Twitter followers and who to follow back, accounts you’ve held a conversation with and those who have mentioned you at some point.

 

Tool #5: Hashtag Analysis

Studies show that tweets with hashtags get twice as much engagement as those without hashtags. Because hashtags can help generate engagement for an account, Sprout Social provides a hashtag analytics tool to help find popular topics and hashtags.

By utilizing the Trends Report, you can see the most commonly used hashtags and topics when the account is mentioned on Twitter. Apply the hashtags listed within the report to help increase your engagement.

Take advantage of the tools on Sprout Social to maximize your efficiency and improve your social outreach skills. Maximize your time and ROI on social media by implementing these time-saving programs.  

Looking for some more in-depth help? We’re happy to consult and/or bring you into the office for a one-on-one session with our in-house expert. Let’s talk!

 

5 Ways to Take Your Twitter to the Next Level in 2018

Next to Facebook and Instagram, Twitter is another social media platform that brands and organizations can use to connect with their audience across the world.  

According to a report by Hootsuite and We Are Social, there are currently 3.196 billion active social media users around the world. As of January 2018, their report lists Twitter at No. 3 behind Facebook and Instagram for the number of active users on the social media platform.

While there are more users on Facebook and Instagram, there are some key benefits to Twitter including increased brand awareness, ability to promote content, boost website SEO, drive website traffic and monitor brand reputation.  

Twitter allows brands to connect with their audience on a different social media platform without being subjected to the weird algorithm that Facebook and Instagram are. The algorithm limits the amount of posts from businesses, brands and media but allows users to see more meaningful content.

According to Twitter Marketing, people share positive experiences about the organizations they follow on Twitter with their own network of followers, spread the word about your organization through retweets and are also more likely to buy or interact with you in the future.

Followers play a huge role in how successful a Twitter account can be. One big thing to keep in mind is that you should interact with your followers, as this is the key to a successful Twitter account. It can lead to higher engagement numbers, more followers and increased exposure.

So if you are running a Twitter account for a business or organization, you are probably wondering how you can increase engagement and followers. Here are some tips to take your Twitter account to the next level in 2018:  

1. Use Promoted Videos, In-Stream Video Ads, Branded Emojis, GIFs & Photos

  • According to Twitter Marketing, all of these ways plus a few more are a great way to interact with your audience in a completely different way. It also allows you to showcase your brands personality and makes it relatable.

2. Twitter polls

  • It’s different from other ways to engage with your audience, but it’s a great way to interact with your audience and see what they are thinking.
  • Tip: Try asking lifestyle questions that relate to your business or ask followers what content they like the most from you.

 

3. Take advantage of hashtags

  • If you are struggling to find the perfect hashtag to use, try using tools like Twitter “Trending Now” section or Trendsmap. In need of the perfect hashtag? Sprout Social has a full list of tools to help you find the best one.
  • Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement; stick to one to two relevant hashtags when posting (Buffer)

4. Make use of content posted by Twitter Business and Twitter Marketing

  • Both Twitter Business and Twitter Marketing provide content for creating a brand presence on Twitter, develop creative marketing campaigns that engage your audience and improve customer experience.

5. Use Twitter Analytics

  • Using Twitter Analytics will give you the opportunity to know who your target audience is, what they are interested in, engagement rates, and the best times to post.

 

Twitter Accounts for Inspiration:

Moon Pie & WingStop: Both accounts bring fun, entertaining content with marketing and selling their product

Bleacher Report: Features a wide-variety of content with photos, videos & gifs

Shea Moisture: Uses quote graphics, short videos and hashtags like #WednesdayWisdom and #FeelGoodFriday to engage with their followers

Adidas: Simple and straight to the point copy with videos or photos & hashtags

 

With these tips and recommendations, you can take your Twitter account to the next level and stand out among the rest.

In the end, Twitter is all about communication. Don’t forget that engaging with your followers and posting interesting content featuring photos, videos or gifs can help increase exposure and follower growth.

Need help taking your social media to the next level? MILO’s digital marketing team is ready to answer any questions you may have and work with your business to come up with a strategy that will make your digital presence truly shine. Let’s talk!

Should Your Brand Take a Stand?

Taking a stand.

With the current political and socioeconomic climate of the United States, taking a stand is something that every father, mother, brother, sister, etc. is doing. Be it through the stickers on their vehicles or what they post and share on social media, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who has not taken a stand on at least one issue lately. While it may seem like a controversial move, it is also important for brands to take a stand.

No, not just important – expected.

According to a recent consumer survey from Sprout Social, “66 percent of respondents said they want brands to take a stance on difficult issues, and 58 percent are glad to see it happen on social media.” Of those consumers who participated in the survey, it was discovered that “liberals are more likely than conservatives to expect brands to take a stand,” at 78 percent to 52 percent. Sprout Social also found that 44 percent of consumers are “more likely to purchase from a brand with a clear opinion,” with 52 percent saying it would case greater brand loyalty.

Brands leading the way

Brands taking a stand is clearly not unheard of and has become a common practice in the advertising and marketing arenas. While some of these attempts at taking a stand have fallen flat, here’s looking at you Pepsi, other companies such as Airbnb, Chipotle, Oreo and Patagonia have executed successful campaigns.

This past December, Patagonia’s website took a shift away from online shopping, choosing to instead share “The President Stole Your Land” in large white letters on a black background on its landing page. This was the company’s reaction to the president’s decision to reduce the size of two national monuments in Utah by a combined 2 million acres. Fellow outdoor retailers REI and North Face joined Patagonia in taking a stand on the issue.

How your brand can take a stand

When successfully executed, a brand’s ‘take a stand’ campaign can help their content have more views and higher engagement rates, such as what Yoplait saw in its “Mom On” campaign that tackled the topic of mom shaming. The campaign performed exceptionally well across all five brand lift metrics and produced a 1,461 percent lift in brand interest.

If the decision to see your brand take a stand continues to seem risky, keep these few tips in mind:

  • Be committed
  • Be relevant
  • Know your customer base

Sprout Social’s recent survey put up the data to prove that brands simply cannot ‘ride two horses with one ass’ anymore. Your customers want to know where you stand and want to see that you’re in touch with the issues they are facing daily.

Not sure where to start on your brand’s stand? MILO’s digital marketing team is ready to answer any questions you may have and work alongside your business to craft a campaign strategy that will ensure your stance on a hot topic truly shines. Let’s get the conversation started today!

Rolling with the Punches: How staying agile will make you a better digital marketer

Digital Marketing blog postRolling with the Punches: How staying agile will make you a better digital marketer
The following is a cautionary tale for when digital marketing is separated or siloed from other pieces, like the ability to modify the website. This is based on my experience working on a digital campaign when a client refused to give access to their landing page and website. My hope is that the lessons that I learned will help you too.

All the players were on the field: our search ads were driving relevant traffic, social media was tuned in for customer service and our display ads were ready for retargeting, but when the time came to score, we couldn’t convert. It was devastating. The sign-up process on the client website was messy and made the customer jump through too many hoops. It was like driving the ball towards the goal and passing it back and forth between players without actually scoring. The unforgiving truth about the success of digital campaigns is that all of the parts need to work together or whole the campaign may fail. Your website, landing page, email, digital ads and social media must play as a team to guide the customer to the desired goal.
Key Takeaways: Identify your final goal and understand how all of the digital elements fit together to achieve it.

At the end of each round, listen to your analytics
The first round was shaky, but the fight wasn’t over. We got back on our feet by reviewing the data and gathering insights of the campaign so far. We initially divided our budget between social, digital and display, but the data clearly pointed in the direction of Facebook ads. We shifted the budget to Facebook ads and saw a spike in positive conversions.  Unlike TV and Radio, digital ads allow for instant feedback on the campaign performance and the ability to shift the budget to the segments that are performing better.
Key Takeaway: Listen to your analytics – they will show you where the opportunities are.

When in doubt get back to basics
Everything goes back to simplicity: you must make the customer journey easy. The easier it is the more likely they’ll make it to the end. Every clickthrough, bad landing page and extra fields they need to fill out works against you. As more data came in, we could easily see where the target traffic came from, what they clicked on, and where we lost them.  All the traffic and attention we bought to the website was met with an obstacle: the client-ran website. It was full of annoying pop-ups, long registration forms and no onboarding process for new clients.  It was like putting in the hard work and having your opponent on the ropes only to step away without finishing the fight.
Key Takeaways: If the conversion process is broken no amount of ad traffic, Facebook likes or blog posts will fix that.  Your website and landing page needs to be designed with the customer in mind.

Reviewing the Tape
In sports, reviewing the tape refers to watching video of your past performance to look for opportunities to improve. Looking back at this campaign I wish we would have started with a smaller project to gain more trust with the client so we could work better as a team.
Key Takeaway: Never walk away without learning something new from the project.

Why Your Website Isn’t Getting Visitors (and what you can do about it)

You have a fabulous idea for an online business. You’ve done your due diligence by researching the need, target market, and even had the “talk”. You know, the “if only 10 people buy per day, that’s like and extra $2 grand a month” talk.

If only it were that easy.

Build It and They Will Come

Unless blessed already large, built in customer base, launching a website will generally get you crickets (nada). Simply putting up a website these days is not enough. If you want to increase your exposure, you’ve got some work to do.

Search Engine Marketing


Different than Search Engine Optimization (SEO), search engine marketing is the process of buying digital advertising for the sole purpose of driving traffic. Works wonders when you’re just starting out. You can serve relevant targeted ads based on location. For example I could target someone searching for “SEO Services” within 20 miles of Grand Rapids, Michigan. This would show my ad to anyone typing that search into Google, Yahoo, or Bing (if that’s where I advertise). Just be sure  to set a budget.  SEM can get extremely expensive if you dont’ watch it carefully.

 

 

Search Engine Optimization

If you’re going to do Search Engine Marketing, it’s important to know that SEO (search engine optimization) plays a role in the cost of advertising. The more optimized your landing page (the place people land when they click you ad) the lower your overall

cost per click will be. An example: A page on your site sells manly man soap. You decide to serve up ads for anyone searching your competitor. Nothing illegal about it, although this will cost your more on average than if you targeted individuals searching “manly man soap”.

Also make sure that the pages of your website are optimized. Does every page have a title? Keywords? Description? You can check by right clicking the mouse and selecting “view source”  (See image below. It’s missing keywords and description)

Social Media Marketing

Social media has come a long way since the early days. Companies now understand that less is more. You already know your target market, now figure out where they spend their time online. This could be forums, Twitter, Facebook, a blog, all of the above or or a combination of a few.

It’s really easy to get lazy here. Don’t just follow random people. Be intentional. Follow people in your area. In your target market. While it takes time in the beginning. You WILL reap the benefit in the long haul.

Did we miss anything?

 

 

 

 

 

Why Forums Aren’t Dead and How Your Business Can Make the Most of Them

I’m pretty sure the fact that I use forums may date me. But they are a useful tool when it comes to business.

I like to think as forums as on of the original social networks. You could come together with like-minded individuals for some pretty in-depth conversations.

forums plural of fo∙rum (none)  1. A meeting or medium where ideas and view on a particular issue can be exchanged.  2. An internet message board

 

1.  Forums are Niche

Sure there are forums that are wide reaching, but the majority of forums are specific to an industry, topic (photography, motherhood, business), group. Which leads us to:

2.  Get backlinks from relevant websites

Getting back links is good for Search Engine Optimization. One advantage to being a forum member is the ability to create a signature that links back to your website. There may also be a minimum requirement of posts before you can add a signature. Each forum is different. Some have a no-follow rule (tells Google not to follow the link), you’ll need to check the forums terms of service to see how they handle back-links.

 3.  Pick a Good Username

Try to avoid names like PinkyStar8047. Especially if it’s a business forum. Consider using your business or your real name. And be sure to add an avatar. Other users are more likely to interact with you vs. a logo. That being said, a logo is still fine just make sure you take the time to re-size it and that it identifies with your brand.

4.  Introduce Yourself

Most forums have a thread that allows you to introduce yourself to the other members. Take advantage of this as the more active members will generally take the time to welcome you. Let them know what that your goal is to contribute to the community. Don’t try to sell anything here. It will get you banned.

5.  Observe the Natives

Don’t be “that guy”, the one who jumps in to a conversation simply to get several posts so you can add your signature. See how the other members interact with one another to better understand the community you joined. It will help you figure out who the influential members are and allow you to fit in faster.

6.  Give to get

Don’t just be a lurker. The more involved you are the better the community is as a whole. You get to build relationships all while promoting your business. Win/Win.

When you’re ready to make the leap look for forums that are active or overrun with spam. Of note: Try to avoid one hosted by a competitor.  Even if you decide not to do the whole forum marketing thing, forums are worth considering for market research. You can find a wealth of information ranging from customer satisfaction to areas in the marketplace that need to be filled.