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7 Tips For Posting In Forums

by Alyice Edrich

On a kick about car seats this past month, I've frequented forums discussing car seats, safety factors, and children. I've learned a lot of valuable information, was able to voice my opinion on our newly acquired car seat, and discovered a disturbing truth—not all marketing is good marketing.

Upon reading several threads this past week, I ran across a few posts that sounded like blatant advertisements, but chucked my thoughts on the subject because when I am gung-ho about a product, I, too, can sound like a blatant advertisement. Yet, regulars on the boards were not impressed and some even lowered their views of a product when they felt they were being played by the company—which had me questioning what we, as small business owners sound like when we hit the Internet to promote our products, services, speaking engagements, and conferences.

When you set out to announce your business to the world, do you—in your enthusiasm—sound like a spammer? Do you only post to promote your product or services? Do you only post when you can directly influence the reader's view on your product or service? Do you only post so you can "sell" your product or service? Or do you post to offer valuable insight, resources, and views?

When posting to forums, follow these simple tips to achieve true word- of-mouth advertising—all of which I am learning by trial and error, myself:

1. Only post when you have something of value to share—even if it has nothing to do with your services or your products.

2. Don't be afraid to be real—even if it means you don't look as successful or professional as you'd like. If you don't know something and want more information, ask—even if it's your field of study.

3. Always stay professional. In other words, be real, be truthful, and be sincere, but don't air your dirty laundry. While people like to see the human side of successful people, they don't want to read about your day-to-day struggles, marital problems, friendship problems, co-worker problems, family problems or financial problems—unless you've already reached the other side and are teaching instead of venting.

4. Always remain tactful. In other words, don't start fights on boards just because you have a different point-of-view, don't call someone else names because they've insulted you or rubbed you the wrong way, don't prejudge, don't harass, and definitely don't talk poorly about someone because it could come back to bite you in the rear.

5. If someone misunderstands your question or comment, don't hesitate to offer clarity. There's no need to go back and delete your original post. People like to see the human side of highly successful people—it makes life more real and interesting. And besides, the only way we learn is by being teachable.

6. Don't be afraid to mention your product or service in relevant posts. Just remember to do it gracefully. In other words, if your book has a section that could answer the poster's question better, summarize the chapter in a few short paragraphs, then mention that a more detailed take on the subject can be found in your book, TITLE. If your product is the answer to the poster's dilemma, tell him/her why with real facts and scenarios, then mention the name of the product and where it can be found.

7. Don't mention your product or service if there is no reason to do so. In other words, if the post doesn't warrant you mentioning your product or service, don't try to stretch the poster's view to fit your need to market. Leave a blurb in your tagline, instead. (Provided the forum allows such taglines.)

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About The Author:

Alyice Edrich is the editor of The Dabbling Mum®, a free parenting publication, and the author of several work from home e-books designed to help parents earn extra cash while spending more time with their children. To learn more, visit her at

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