Developing an Online Reputation: Message Forums
Anyone can download, install and launch a message forum community these days. The software available today makes having your own community a very simple task. There are new message forum communities popping up each day. There are not too many niches out there that don't have a couple of message forum in them. A lot of niches are saturated with message forums and it becomes a challenge to get big in those niches. So while making a forum community of your own is as easy as making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, actually getting the community to go somewhere is not as easy as one might think. This is the most common reason why new forum owners fail. They think they can launch a forum and make it a big board overnight. While back in the real world, most established forum owners will tell you that is not the way it works.
This article is the first article of a series I will be working on. This article will present information about developing a reputation for yourself and for your forum. The method of building a reputation is the method of getting more popularity and allowing more people to know about a subject. You can build a positive reputation or you can build a negative reputation. Both types of reputations will likely bring you traffic but a negative reputation will likely bring you the worst kinds of traffic that you will likely not want on your forum. Therefore, in these articles, I will only be explaining how to develop a positive reputation for yourself and your forum.
This article in this series will focus on developing a personal and forum reputation by using message forums. The fact that there are other message forums out there is wonderful when wanting to create the perfect kind of reputation. First off, you need to come up with a unique username and you need to use that unique username on every forum you join. That will help people think to themselves that they have seen you around before. I personally use my real name, Shawn Gossman on all the forums I join so that people will know who I am. If you use a different username for each different forum, well then no one is going to really know who you are and you will be making it much more difficult for you to develop your reputation. On that topic, you need to do things that create an easier way to develop a reputation so that you can focuses most of your time and energy on the more challenging aspects of being a message forum owner.
So the ideal start of this reputation journey is to open up Google or your favorite search engine and search for forums that share the same niche or topic/interest of what your forum is about. When you find some, join them with the username that you use on your own forum. Now don't join this forum with an intention to add your forum to your signature. In fact, you shouldn't add a signature yet at all. Instead, you should just development an active membership for the time being. Introduce yourself and leave out the part that you also run a forum like the one you are on. However, you should inform the forum members that you are associated with other forums like this and explain how much you know about the topic. You need to make a good strong introduction topic or post. Make it an entire paragraph or two and be friendly while being professional about it. You are basically at the starting point of developing a reputation for yourself when in relation to the forum's niche.
Now that you have created an account on the forums like your own and you have posted your introduction on them, you should now focus on developing fresh and unique content on those forums in the form of new topics and replies. Essentially, you are helping out another forum but you are also developing a reputation of having great knowledge of the niche and someone to talk to about the niche. You should do research on the forum and find out what the most active topics have been on the forum. Read through the active topics to see what parts of those topics initially imitated conversion and multiple replies. At times, it could be about a certain topic brought up relating to the niche. It could be about some form of controversy about the niche. It could even be a style of posting or a specific way of asking a question to get a hot topic or popular topic going. The research phase will mainly be about finding out what topics and what topic styles bring about the most discussion and views from members of any given forum that you are participating in. Then you will know what sort of topics to make yourself that will get people going.
Another great tactic to develop a good reputation is to provide accurate assistance to forum member who need help in association to the niche you are targeting. There is often newbie members who join and have a lot of questions about the niche. You can do well by answering their questions and getting a name for yourself as the person who knows the answer to problems of the stated niche. This is a two way road of course, though. You will likely find yourself being the go to guy of newbies and at times all the support questions; PMs and so on can become very overwhelming. However, if it doesn't bother you, then you should keep trying to help them as best as you can or find other ways to help them if you do not know the answer. Another good way to help the newbies as well as help you develop a reputation is to post articles related to the niche specifically aimed at helping newbie members in developing knowledge about the niche.
I always love to engage members on my forum and especially the members are an expert in a certain field. I love to challenge them and often debate their opinions. It is not because I am trying to cause conflict between us, it is so that the person can get to know me and become familiar with me and my discussions. I don't exactly attempt to argue with them but I am not afraid of initiated a good mature debate here and there. So that is a good way to start developing a reputation among the experts of the niche, engage them in a conversation where they will have no choice but to respond to it. Present ideas, opinions and alternatives that could save time concerning the niche or make a specific process easier to do. Challenge your readers to reply with their opinions on why you are right or why you are wrong. This will help out a bunch when forming a reputation on a message forum about a certain niche. You just need to be careful of not making a fool out of yourself and developing that negative reputation. Have a reputation building mind when you do it instead of a debate mind.
So the general idea of this task is to join forums that are like your own and start meeting the people you will like eventually encounter on your own forum. You are not joining these forums to advertise your forum, you are joining them to advertise yourself and build a reputation for yourself. In most cases, you may not even ever add your forum to your signature on these other forums. You will like promote and advertise your forum through other means. You should make sure that you join at least all the big forums of your niche and become active on them so that your reputation stretches to other portions within the niche and more people know about you and who you are.
Thank you for reading this article about developing a reputation for you and your forum. I plan to release more articles as a part of this series soon. I welcome your feedback, opinions and thoughts on this article and its content. Please do tell me what you thought after you have read this article. You may share this article on other forums and websites but I do ask that you provide a link back to this original article to show support for my work.