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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.