Having spent much time over the years in forums, it strikes me that forums are being ignored by many in their internet marketing mix with the dash to incorporate Twitter and other social media.
However, there is much value in forums, which cannot be replicated in such depth using the likes of Twitter or Facebook. It all seems to hang around community and the level of engagement that occurs in forums, which is difficult to maintain in other noisy and fast-moving environments.
Additionally, for many people, forums have become a place where they hang out regularly, recognise old faces, welcome new ones, and get to know and respect (or not) each other’s views and thinking over a period of time.
There are obviously forums which struggle to achieve this ambience and sense of community, often not helped when forums are inundated, as the UK ones are, by people from other countries seeking to promote to the UK market rather than use the forums for their primary purpose – sharing and communication.
For the many who operate small businesses, SOHOs or one man bands, forums can become a social scene as much as a place to seek expert advice, and threats or dilution of that environment are often taken badly. Beware the guard dogs!
When you need an SEO or SEM answer or an opinion in a timely manner, do you head to:
b) Yahoo Answers
c) your favourite forum – which?
d) a forum from a search result
e) offline eg colleagues via mobile, phone, email etc
f) somewhere else? Where?
Let us know!!