3 Things You Need To Know About Free Popover Genie Special Offer

This special offer is good for a one year subscription to the Popover Genuie Starter plan.

1. What does Popover Genie do?

Clients told us they need users who visit their forum to actually sign up/register. Many users, especially those who find the forum from a Google search, will reap some advice and then disappear forever.

Popover Genie prompts users to sign up/register before they disappear which in turn allows Ninja Post clients to grow and monetize their forum communities faster.

2. How do I take advantage of this free special offer?

Start by signing up for your 15-day free trial with Ninja Post. After you begin your Ninja Post trial, the Ninja Post team will contact you to design and activate your Popover Genie popover.

3. Does Popover Genie work?

Ninja Post clients that use Popover Genie on their forum report that sign-ups/registrations increase by 30-50% after inserting their popover. Examples utilized by Bill Belew and We Get Around are shown below.

Questions? Chat with us.

Popover Genie example - We Get Around
Popover Genie example - Bill Belew
Posted in Marketing Your Forum, Why Ninja Post | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Three Reasons To Welcome Users When They Join Your Forum Community

While it may seem obvious to some, when a user engages with you in some way—joins your email list, follows you on social media, joins your forum, etc.—it is polite and potentially lucrative to personally welcome them and thank them for following you.

For starters, this act of kindness creates a warm and fuzzy feeling and tells the person they’re “more than just a another follower”. Incidentally, this moment also represents a perfect opportunity to make a request of the user. It could be a request for feedback about a new product, a question about the biggest challenges they currently face, or the next steps the person can take to build a stronger relationship with you.

In the best case, a good welcome message provides instant value to new users when they join.

We have found this opportunity is often overlooked by forum owners. However, the Ninja Post platform is designed to help you avoid this costly mistake because we allow site owners to automatically send a Personal Message to new users when they join your forum community. By welcoming users, forum admins can accomplish three important goals:

  1. Nudge the user to proceed. For example, you can encourage the user to introduce himself or herself or to create a new thread. Many people are bashful when they join a new group and never get involved beyond lurking. A warm introductory message helps users get comfortable right away.
  2. Alert the user about special deals, new products for sale, account upgrades, etc. When a user joins your forum his or her enthusiasm is very high and he or she might not be aware of products for sale. Bring this information to their attention.
  3. Set expectations for user behavior. By explaining what is or is not tolerated, the site owner can set a constructive tone for the entire community. The user gets a direct line of communication with the site owner. This approach encourages members to work together and help one another and is designed to reduce vicious personal attacks and things of that nature.

Not everyone will take you up on your offer… but it doesn’t hurt to extend a warm welcome to new users. As long as your platform can take this action automatically on your behalf it’s a no-brainer to implement. How you take advantage of this opportunity to engage is up to you!

It's important to welcome new users when they join your forum

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How I Convert Twitter Followers Into Active Forum Users

Note: Guest blog post by Bill Belew. Bill is the founder of the Content marketer Forum which is powered by Ninja Post. Thanks, Bill!

On May 23, 2014, relying on Ninja Post, I launched my forum:

Content Marketer Forum. <= Sure. Check it out. You know want to. But more importantly you will be able to see what it is I am writing about here.

Before May of 2014, I had never been actively involved in a forum and what I didn’t know about forums far outweighed anything I knew. That didn’t deter me. What I did know was that a community of like-minded users could be a great resource to have.

Build a tribe

2 Big Problems New Forum Owners Face

Like many who have visions of creating a tribe, the immediate problem #1 was, “How do you get a whole bunch of people to hang out where nobody is hanging out?”

Then once you form a base of users, problem #2 was, “How do you get even more people to happen on your forum and stay engaged?

I know the answer to both of these questions. However, it’s the second question that I want to address is this post.

The short answer: Twitter.*

Say what?

Twitter. Twitter can be a good source of new forum users.

Forum users from Twitter

Six months ago I thought Twitter was more or less a useless platform. Believe it or not, it was one of my forum users who taught me how to effectively use the platform. It shouldn’t surprise me that in a forum devoted to how to do content marketing, someone in the forum would teach me more about content marketing.

The real goal, however, was to get people off of Twitter and onto the forum.

How to Get Tweebs to Visit and Stay in Your Forum

Step 1 – Get a lot of Twitter followers.

Not so easy you say.

Not as difficult as you think.

Step 2 – Watch this => WEBINAR: Real Followers and Engagement on Twitter.

This webinar was done by Steve Cartwright, consistently recognized as one of the top 5 content marketers in the world … and has nearly 200K legitimate Twitter followers.

In this webinar you will be introduced to CrowdFireApp. CrowdFireApp allows you to follow and unfollow Tweebs that you would like to engage with or not be seen in the same screen shot with. You can target who you want to follow, or you can follow indiscriminately. It depends on your strategy.

CrowdFire App Twitter followers to forum users

In July of last year, I had 11,400 followers on Twitter. As of this writing I have grown to 42,300 followers by using CrowdFireApp (there are others). Not bad, not bad. All I did was follow the advice in that webinar.

Read this part first and last.

Step 3 – Pay $10 for the advanced PLUTO version.

There’s an advanced function on CrowdFireApp that makes all the difference. It costs $9.99 / month (Pluto). No, I don’t have an affiliate link. Maybe I should. 8-)

With the $9.99/month version you can follow and unfollow considerably more people than with the free version. You can follow up to 1000 people, and unfollow an unlimited number.

But what you really get with the advanced version is the ability to direct message (DM), new followers. More than 30,000 new followers were DMmed when they followed me.

CrowdFire App DM Twitter followers to forum

You can see my DMs in the screen shot.

CrowdFire App DM Twitter followers to forum Part 2

Every time I was followed by someone they got a message that invited them to check out my forum.

And they came.

Here’s a screen shot of how many visitors I have had from Twitter since I implemented this strategy.

Visits to Belew's Forum referred by Twitter
(Click for full size image)

Full disclosure: I also have a really cool header, a rock star profile blurb that includes and invite to my forum, and I tweet a LOT (automated).

I can tweet a LOT because I can automatically recycle old content from my home site – billbelew.com where I have a deep well of relevant content – nearly 2,000 posts.

My members get engaged. Not only do they get engaged, they have become paying students, which more than cover the costs of my forum. Some of my forum members have become contractors, earning them and me more money. The best part is some of my members have become friends. Not all of them, but some have come from Twitter.

The Most Important Takeaway Questions & Answers

Are you using Twitter to grow your forum membership? If not, then when?

Can I help? You won’t be the first nor the last person to ask me, “Bill, how did you do that? Can you teach me?”

Contact me at my forum via private message.

* Twitter is NOT the only way I acquire new forum users.

Posted in Marketing Your Forum | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

5 Ways To Use In-Text Advertising On Your Forum

Recently, we examined Three E-Commerce Integration Techniques For Your Forum. The second item on that list is In-Text Advertising. The concept is that certain keywords automatically hyperlink to a relevant page where users can make an eCommerce transaction. This page could link to a page on an advertiser or affiliate site (e.g., Amazon, eBay, etc.) or it could link to an internal page in your own eCommerce store.

We wanted to offer a few suggestions when utilizing this approach:

  1. Make the links obvious so regular users can know the difference between a normal link and an automated link.
  2. Make a direct link to a page that opens in a new window instead of a pop up bubble that shows on hover.
  3. Limit the use of such links and consider only displaying them to users who are not logged in.
  4. Keep the site running fast by ensuring the links non-invasive and do not slow down performance.
  5. Track the results to confirm the links are generating revenue.

We dislike forums with too many banner ads and typical CPC banner ads are not particularly effective. (It’s better to do a direct sponsorship/partnership, if possible.) However, a judicious approach to In-Text Advertising allows site owners to generate revenue without impeding the user experience by cluttering the site with too many ads.

Some key players in this space include Viglink, Infolinks, and Vibrant Media. These services typically produce a “thought bubble” with a second link the user must click on to connect to an affiliate site.

As noted above (see #2), we prefer to implement a direct link to a new page, instead of the bubble approach which is illustrated in the picture below. And ideally, we’ll link to a catalog page on your own site. So if you need a custom in-text advertising solution for your forum, please talk to us!

in-text ad bubble example

Above: In-text add example with “pop up” bubble. We prefer a direct link to a page in your catalog instead of a link to an affiliate site and we can help you implement this solution.

Posted in Misc. Forum Discussion | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Client Profile: The Matterport User Group Forum

Note: Guest blog post by Dan Smigrod. Dan is the founder of the Matterport User Group Forum which is powered by Ninja Post. Thanks, Dan!

we-get-around-logo-matterport-3D

Here’s why we created the Matterport User Group Forum and why we engaged Ninja Post to host it.

First some context. Atlanta-based We Get Around is Georgia’s first and only photography service company dedicated solely to providing Matterport three-dimensional (3D) photography services. We started a Network of 3D photographers from around the globe in September 2014 and needed a way to bring everyone together.

We launched our Ninja Post forum so that we could connect Matterport 3D content creators worldwide. As I wrote then, “Our vision is a community of Matterport users getting help and helping others with Matterport capture, creation and sharing.” Or as Ninja Post describes: “Collaboration. New friends. Inspiration.”

Now, on any given day, as many as 300+ people worldwide check-out our Forum to browse 1,500+ thread posts among 150+ topics. More than 100 Matterport Pro 3D Camera photographers from five continents have registered as members. Forum readers have collectively spent more than 1,000+ hours on the Forum, including more than 41,500+ page views and spend an average of 5:43 minutes on the site during each visit. All that in just our first six months!

Forum members often comment how helpful and quick other members are responding to questions. Plus, members have created an awesome knowledge base for those who are just thinking about buying a Matterport Pro 3D Camera to those of us who are prolific 3D content creators. For example, I posted a question about Matterport iFrame embed code for WordPress before I went to bed and the next morning there was a very detailed answer waiting for me (and subsequently many thread posts on this topic).

Starting the Forum has also helped us find other Matterport pros for our Network and helped with SEO for We Get Around. (To see for yourself, Google: Atlanta Matterport Photographer)

As you can imagine, starting a Forum just a month after the Matterport 3D Showcase solution was announced meant that it was likely that we would only have a couple of members to start. Mike coached us on suggested thread topics, initial content strategy and, enabled Matterport 3D Showcase content to be easily embedded in thread posts. Essentially, everything that would help us success in forming a robust community around the Matterport platform.

We’re thrilled with the Matterport User Group Forum powered by Ninja Post. That’s why I asked if I could share my enthusiasm for Ninja Post in this guest post.

inner_page

Posted in Marketing Your Forum | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Three E-Commerce Integration Techniques For Your Forum

Building a forum community on your site gives you a home field advantage. It brings the conversation to your turf, and this allows you to monitor and analyze what users are saying. This knowledge is valuable but it does not have immediate impact on your bottom line.

Sure, the user generated content itself – that is, the stuff users are posting to your forum – can be capitalized on through advertisements, sponsorships, and brand equity but it takes time to develop this revenue stream and it may not be ideal for eCommerce sites.

We believe there is a massive opportunity for eCommerce sites to integrate their catalogs with their forum community to galvanize sales. When users are talking about subjects relevant to the products you sell, it should be convenient for them to shop in your store. Therefore, we present three techniques for eCommerce integration within your forum community:

  1. Intelligent banner ads. Display a banner ad for products in your catalog relevant to the user generated content within a particular thread.
  2. In-text advertising. In this case, keywords in the text automatically hyperlink certain to a search result in your product catalog. For example, a hardware store that sells hammers would allow users to easily search for that keyword. Example pictured below.
  3. Discounts and specials. Provide sales, discounts, or other perks to forum users. The site owner can make these special deals part of the regular newsletter for the forum or announce them via the forum directly. Perhaps the perks can be used to entice new members to join and participate in the forum.


forum community ecommerce integration

The above image shows a fancy hyperlink to a search result because a product was mentioned in a post.

Posted in Marketing Your Forum | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

5 Steps To Revive A Dead Forum

Some say the rise of social networks like Facebook and Twitter has led to a decline in forum use. Others say the shift to mobile has led people to abandon forums. However, many forum communities continue to thrive in the age of social media. This tells us that even if your forum is on life support, there is still hope.

What steps can you take to revive your community? In the short term, it takes a blast of adrenaline. Over the long term, it requires good old-fashioned persistence.

When relaunching a forum community after migrating to Ninja Post, we incorporate elements of Jeff Walker’s Product Launch Formula into the process to pique interest and to collect feedback from users. After the launch, we take steps to keep users engaged and attract new members. The steps break down like this:

  1. Pre-launch Announcement #1. Send announcement to all users that “something big is coming soon”. Take this opportunity to ask users to complete a short survey. The survey can be used to see what users want from their community.
  2. Pre-launch Announcement #2. Send a follow-up announcement to all users. Remind them that “something big is coming soon” and remind them to take the survey.
  3. Big announcement. Share high level survey findings with users and invite users to the new forum.
  4. Regular newsletter. Send a weekly newsletter to all members to recognize contributors and highlight popular content. This step is about training users to visit the forum regularly.
  5. Funnel users from the main site. Forums sustain themselves by adding new users to the mix. We know the best forum users come from your main site so we advise funneling them from your main site to your forum.

Following these steps will give your forum community a rosy outlook. As soon as you get a pulse back, the best long terms solution for any forum community is to post fresh content on a daily basis. This takes dedication and persistence and creativity. Although you could do all the heavy lifting yourself, we recommend engaging your most passionate and prolific users using the steps outlined above to revive a dead forum.

relaunching_your_forum_community

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Sharing Content From Your Forum On Social Media. Are Share Buttons Worth It?

Earlier this week we discussed best practices for marketing your forum on social media. Many forum owners insist on placing conspicuous “Share This!” buttons on their forums in an attempt to get users to re-post forum content to their social media accounts. We have found this practice is not very effective.

Few people share content in the first place and it attracts even fewer clickbacks. Anecdotally speaking, when it comes to forum/community content, it might take 100,000 impressions to garner just one “share”. This “share” might spawn 5-10 clickbacks.

Any traffic is good traffic but since the “Share” buttons take up valuable screen real estate in an increasingly mobile world, the additional clutter is not worthwhile. This real estate would be better used to (1) highlight forum content and/or (2) nudge users to contribute fresh content to the forum.

The beauty of this approach is that it keeps the interface simple but does not preclude a motivated user from copying the URL and posting it to their favorite social media page.

We still encourage site owners to share forum content on their social media feeds. Share early and often, as we like to say. But expecting users to take on this task is asking too much. Therefore, we don’t think “Share” buttons deserve prominent placement on your forum.


sharing forum content

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5 Methods To Market Your Forum On Social Media

Funneling traffic from your main site to your forum is probably the most efficient way to build your forum’s audience. However, it’s not the only way to attract new users. If your site has a huge following on social media, it makes sense to convert these users to forum users. This allows you to hold the conversation on your turf.

Be warned that it’s very difficult to draw users out of the “walled gardens” of social media onto your forum. But it’s worth it if you can find a couple power users. Here’s some advice for marketing your forum on social media:

  1. Make users curious. The link to your forum should arouse the reader’s curiosity. This can be achived by linking to a specific thread with a provocative title.
  2. Be funny. Who doesn’t love to be entertained? A thread featuring a series of funny photos can get readers to click through to your forum.
  3. Ask users to help one another. Asking users to help one another is a great way to inspire teamwork in your community. It also has the effect of bringing together experts and newbies.
  4. Post multiple times. It can be frustrating if your first cross post doesn’t net hundreds of new users. But don’t lose faith. It takes time to train people to use and check your forum so make marketing your forum on social media a habit. If you follow Rule #1 on this list to make users curious then you’ll probably post a different link every time so users will not be annoyed.
  5. Schedule an event. Lots of options here: conduct a Q&A with an expert, set a time for a live chat, announce plans to meet up in real life, or run a contest or giveaway. If the event is done in conjunction with a sponsor, this approach can produce a variety of benefits such as increased notoriety, more freebies for users, and it can attract more focus & energy since more stakeholders are involved.

Marketing your forum is about generating momentum. Be original, be persistent, and get people excited about your community. This is easier said that done but if these activities become habits you can convert your followers into forum users.

Posted in Marketing Your Forum | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

How Many Sticky Threads Should I Have On My Forum?

When running a popular forum, there is usually a desire to create a LOT of sticky threads. Some popular examples:

  1. Introduce yourself here!
  2. Forum rules and FAQs – READ BEFORE POSTING!
  3. Site announcements and updates
  4. The Idiot’s Guide to using this site
  5. List of informative links

We find that some sticky threads attract few posts. Other sticky threads are simply ignored by newbies who prefer to dive into the fray immediately. This behavior makes us wonder. Does it make sense to have a long list of threads taking up prime real estate at the top of your board?

We don’t think so. We prefer no sticky threads at all. This ensures that the hottest content always rises to the very top of the page.

However, we admit there are instances when a single sticky thread is warranted and there are even times when it makes sense to have multiple sticky threads. For example, let’s say you have a FAQ thread as a sticky thread and you’re running a contest and want to promote the contest too. That’s an understandable scenario, as long as the contest thread gets demoted when the contest is over.

By an large, we have found that users strongly prefer to have the hottest and most recent content at the very top of the page. Maybe your forum has a long list of sticky threads, some of which have not had a new post in a few months. Ask yourself if they are absolutely critical to using your forum or if you would be better served by letting the hottest content rise to the top of the thread list.

Posted in Misc. Forum Discussion | Tagged , , | 1 Comment