Business owners are constantly looking for ways to engage their customers and their target audience. Social media has made it easier by increasing our interconnectedness but discussions tend to get diluted in a sea of online chatter covering a wide range of topics. Aside from being at the mercy of a third-party provider that can filter out your message or somehow affect how much exposure your brand is getting, it can be difficult to get your message across in all that social media noise. Even in this day and age, forums remain a tried and tested method for driving meaningful conversations and engaging your target market.
What is a forum?
Forums are online message boards that facilitate the exchange of information within a group of like-minded individuals. They tend to specialize in different niche topics. For instance, a mommy forum will probably cover topics such as childcare, home improvement or even wellness for women. Adding a forum to your Strikingly website is one of the most effective ways to attract an engaged audience and interact with potential customers. Not only is it great for marketing and brand building but it can also be a good source of ideas for product research and development.
Every business owner worth his salt would know how important it is to keep your ears on the ground and forums design is a good way to get started. By learning how to make a forums, you also get to facilitate conversations on your product, learn more about the people who are most likely to benefit from your brand and your service, and find out what their real challenges are in relation to the use of your product or service. It’s a great way to build brand awareness and trust, especially when you respond to the discussions and inquiries in real time.
Forums provide great customer support because they allow you to interact with consumers directly. They can also be great for your site’s SEO. For one, a forum is a good way for creating fresh content. Search engines love user-generated content because they are more natural and authentic. The more discussion threads there are in your forums, the better.
How to make a forum on Strikingly
You don’t need separate Wordpress forums for your online message board. Strikingly lets you add a forum section through its HTML embed functionality. There are a number of forum apps that you can try for this purpose - Tribe, Muut, Nabble.com are just a few. Simply create an account with one of these platforms, create your forum and generate the HTML code to add it to your Strikingly website.
Here are a few guidelines to think about when designing your forums:
1. Create clear rules and communicate them to your group
Creating your own forum turns you into an administrator for different group conversations happening on your message boards. This means that you will be accountable for all appropriate and inappropriate behavior that will happen within the online community. To better manage this group, it is important to set clear rules and best practices for joining the conversations. Make sure to pin this information to the top of every forum category so it’s the first thing that participants will see coming in.
2. Define a theme
Themes and forum designs should give your target audience a sense of community. What sort of subjects or topics are important to your audience? Create categories for these topics and start discussion threads to enable users to participate in conversations that affect them.
3. Encourage communication
The main role of a forum is to drive discussions on certain topics. Get people to participate by posting questions or commenting on other people’s posts. You can also solicit feedback and opinions, start a poll, or invite reviews - anything really to make people join in on the conversations. Create a Q&A section and let participants start discussions within the community.
4. Promote your forum consistently
People have to be aware that your forum exists for it to be effective. You will need to attract as many members as possible so you need to craft a digital marketing strategy to this end. Use your social media pages, newsletters and other profiles to promote your forums and encourage people to participate.
Start your own forum and build an engaged online community today.