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[Question] Advertising Newer Communities


The Guy
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Hello everyone, 

I have been in and out over the past 9 years and IPS has always been a home to me. While I do love the opportunity to create lovely community sites I often fall flat on my ideas. and seem to fail within the first few months. An Idea and vision is only the beginning of any community so I run into the worst situation I struggle most: advertising or marketing. My rule of thumb is I always start really cheap, like a shared host because it's cheap and cost effective and if your project fails than no harm no foal. Although the downside is the regret of renewing  your license with IPS and now you have a license that once again collects dust because the community didn't quite get started so you are 130 dollars out of pocket including the small fee of the host/domain you purchased for it. It's like a tick or a small addiction that I must create a community and make it work. I do this every 1-3 three years, I hope I'm not just alone on this boat...

So here I am with my fiancée and she also wants to help build this community this time I have a bit of support; family are involved now. We kind of want to start marketing the site, the issue is we want to start out free before we start paying for ad placements in case, again, the site fails. We could use promotion boards but it seems more of a hassle than it appears and of course who actually runs those types of boards that are active? If there is a very active promotion board and helpful peer community that does such a thing I would be very interested into looking into this. I just need the golden goose of promotion power on this.

My new community has a roadmap, mission statement, features, business plan, marketing strategy and all the stuff that requires for a successful business. The issue I believe I'm experiencing is the Niche of the site. A look and feel is vital to an identity to a community or any website, but looks don't have to be everything it is the front that catches the eye of the visitor. Luring people to sign up and getting them involved will be the hardest of struggles to take on of all these communities I have ever made. One could say if you are seriously passionate, confident and willing to pour your heart and soul that it will be a success in time. 

However I am stuck after the community is setup and ready, the first baby steps of getting the word out, that is the problem I struggle most. If anyone has great strategy, I'd be most grateful. Since my family is trying to help they have no idea what SEO and internet branding is but for once I have their interest because the site has to do with employment help and small business startups. 

Thank you all so much in advance for any advice given.

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It's no different at all from having a business of any other kind so social presence is critical

  • Twitter - set up a twitter account for your forum  and auto-tweet out with every new topic (including hashtags)
  • Facebook - set up FB page for your forum and auto-post with every new topic or use the promote option 
  • Instagram - set up Instagram  and post a photo every night at 5pm about your forum
  • Facebook groups - set up a facebook group and auto post into it from your forum


Join FB groups that are about your forum and share interesting/relevant topics from your forum in them

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On 5/30/2020 at 10:37 AM, The Guy said:

A look and feel is vital to an identity to a community or any website, but looks don't have to be everything it is the front that catches the eye of the visitor.

I think look and feel means nothing. It is content that is the  most important key to success. If you have great content then you get users. It is easier to start up a new site if you are more people doing it together. Engaging friends and more friends and friends of friends, to create good content.

People need a reason to register. 

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Just now, Kjell Iver Johansen said:

I think look and feel means nothing.

Not for me. My first impression is important. I always look how professional the site looks like. If it is not I probably will not trust the information and look further. It is like a restaurant. If it looks shabby I will not want to taste the meal there. Even if the meal can be outstanding. 😉

However I also agree that content is more important than design. Professional look will not keep people on the empty project. 

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Just now, Sheffielder

 

It's no different at all from having a business of any other kind so social presence is critical

  • Twitter - set up a twitter account for your forum  and auto-tweet out with every new topic (including hashtags)
  • Facebook - set up FB page for your forum and auto-post with every new topic or use the promote option 
  • Instagram - set up Instagram  and post a photo every night at 5pm about your forum
  • Facebook groups - set up a facebook group and auto post into it from your forum


Join FB groups that are about your forum and share interesting/relevant topics from your forum in them

Regarding 3rd party. As per our privacy policy we declared that we would never sell user information. So we would never allow social media login through the site just because the fact that, Facebook especially, sells user information.

Maybe a group would would work but we will have to see.

I appreciate the advice, thank you!

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What is your forum about if I may ask? Have a look at this blog by @Matt. It has excellent points/advice and it makes for a very interesting reading, for new and old admins alike.

 

P.s. Do not underestimate the word of mouth as well.

 

Edited by Miss_B
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In my opinion, new sites have to be a niche support hub of sorts, not a fan or sharing site. Someone has a question or problem and they find an answer or topic similar to their question or problem. Sharing and fan type site users have moved to facebook and other large platforms. Create a site that helps users, create SEF topics, and then do the normal SEO and Social Engagement strategies.

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Starting a successful forum these days is not easy. But, it is doable when site has a focus (niche).

1. Create CONTENT. You need content to keep readers coming back for more.

Create different types of CONTENT to grab different kinds of people. Here are some ideas...

  • Discussions
  • FAQs
  • Images (eg. to share, download, create a story, etc)
  • Articles
  • News
  • etc

2. Differentiate your site from your competition. First impression is important.

3. Invite people via social, email, word-of-mouth, etc. 

4. (Onboarding) Create a helpful "Welcome Email Message" for new members. You can use this opportunity to help them take action (make a post), to inform, etc.

5. Stay active on your site and with members.

 

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