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

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
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Optimize Customer Acquisition Costs

Organic search results, AdWords, and outreach via Twitter and Facebook are three of the most common ways to drive traffic to your site. But no matter how you attract visitors, the process is either time consuming or expensive or both.

Worse, once users make it to your site, they often vanish without a trace. Ninja Post message board software mitigates this scenario by making your website more engaging, more like a Borders or Barnes & Noble. It’s not hard to conceive of a message board that:

  • Anchors your social media strategy;
  • Allows you to optimize customer acquisition costs;
  • Keeps users coming back to your site; and
  • Helps you develop stronger customer relationships

That’s exactly what Ninja Post is designed to do.

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