Have you ever wandered online into a message board? I’ll bet you have. Whether you found yourself there through search engines results or visiting a website directly, message boards are everywhere and they can be a great place for exchanging information and brand development.
Message boards are online discussion websites where people can converse and network. They can have very broad topics or very specific topics. They can also have very specific purposes, or they can be very general. But one thing they all have in common is that they create communities of people with common interests.
I have used message boards for both networking and research purposes. They’re great when you’re looking for the answer to a tech problem—be it by reading through the thread of someone with a similar problem, or creating your own thread to ask the question. They’re also great for connecting with similar minds. I used to go to message boards to network with other fans of my favorite bands, trade gossip and converse with others who shared my interests.
Because message boards create communities of people with common interests, it can be a great forum to promote your brand. However, believe it or not, there is a right and wrong way to self-promote over message boards. Here are three things to do (and not to do) when utilizing message boards in your content marketing strategy.
- Don’t: Hide your affiliation with your brand.
Do: Register on the message boards as your brand, or at the very least state your affiliation in your profile.
Transparency is vital when it comes to Internet marketing, and message boards are no different. Things can go south real fast if the message board community feels deceived, and sometimes it can result in a PR nightmare. It’s best to just be honest in the first place and avoid contention all together.
- Don’t: Promote any and all content.
Do: Be selective in the content you promote.
It’s important to only share your best content on message boards. If you self-promote too much, you run the risk of people ignoring you, or worse, being banned from the message boards.
- Don’t: Promote and leave.
Do: Stick around and add value.
Don’t just create a new thread and insert your pitch and leave, instead, stick around and engage with the community. Keep the conversation going by responding to people who respond to your post. If you want to get the most out of your efforts, you should work to become a member of the community by participating in other conversations. This not only exposes your brand to more people and earns you loyal customers, but it gives you more opportunities to promote your content naturally.
Contributing to a message board community that aligns with your business is an excellent tactic to add to your content marketing strategy. For more content marketing strategy tips, you should check out this blog post about Facebook brand pages.