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.

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Raving Lunatics And Legitimate Gripes

One question website operators often ask is: what if I add a Ninja Post forum to my site and a rogue operator comes along and begins to speak ill about my enterprise?

Chances are that your forum will primarily host conversations about your product and other topics of general interest to your community. However, during the course of these conversations it’s possible that someone could speak ill about your product. (Gasp!) There are two potential scenarios: there’s the raving lunatic scenario where a crazy person comes to your site and starts acting a fool. Then there’s the more common scenario when someone expresses a legitimate gripe.

Ninja Post’s moderation tools are designed to deal with the extreme case, the raving lunatic scenario. When someone engages in libel, their posts can be removed, their account can be banned, and their IP address can be turned over to authorities.

In a more common case, the legitimate gripe scenario, a customer might come to your Ninja Post forum with a complaint. Perhaps it’s an unfounded or unwarranted complaint in your eyes. But to them it seems like a legitimate complaint and they’ve come to you seeking resolution.

Although some website owners shudder at the thought of someone airing “dirty laundry” on their own site, here’s the rub: people are going to talk about your product or service anyway so why not hold the conversation on your turf? At least your privy to the conversation and have the opportunity to set the record straight.

Chances are, if someone comes to you with a complaint, he or she wants to be “won back.” When your customers explain why they’re upset, and you acknowledge their point of view, everyone can benefit. Mediating complaints in a public forum is not for every problem. However, it is useful for many problems, especially more trivial ones. And when a site owner can employ his or her happy customers to act as his proxy in such matters it is a powerful testament to his or her business.

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Engaging Users And “Homefield Advantage”

Today Mashable posted “4 Easy Ways to Engage Your Facebook Fans”. This article refers specifically to Facebook, but the concepts are applicable to any online community and dovetail with yesterday’s post to the Ninja Post blog, “Traction For Your Forum”. The four methods to engage users described in the Mashable blog post are:

  • Ask Their Opinion
  • Test Their Knowledge
  • Pair Promotions with Content
  • Thank Your Fans

However, this does beg the question: if you can engage with your users on Facebook, why bother creating a Ninja Post forum? Well, Ninja Post is not designed to replace your Facebook fan page — it’s supposed to complement it.

By channeling users from Facebook to your site you will obtain a “home field advantage”. For example, user content generated thanks to a forum on your own site will increase your presence in organic search results which will drive more users to your site. In addition, there are other benefits to “holding the conversation” on your own turf: advertising revenue, user statistics, and control over the look and feel of the site.

In sum, continue to engage with your users on Facebook, Twitter, and elsewhere on the web. However, don’t underestimate the importance of “home field advantage.”

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