Friday, March 19, 2010

Are You Overlooking Work-At-Home Forums and Groups?

Experienced direct sales, network marketing, and business owners know that the success of their business is all about marketing. Work-at-home, direct sales, network marketing forums and groups can be an effective platform as an add-on to your overall marketing efforts. My post: You Can’t Brand YOU if You’re Promoting Your Company’s Replicated Website attracted numerous comments on my blog, work-at-home forums, and groups on LinkedIn that I participate in. Here’s how I use forums and groups to attract comments on my blog and build an audience without directly promoting my business.

Even if you have the best blog or products but if no one knows how to find you, which means no one knows about you, then you might as well be in business for yourself. Starting a blog is just the first step. Besides churning out value-added contents, promoting your blog will require time and commitment on your part, because you need to ping it everywhere you can.

In addition to promoting your blog to Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, I recommend checking out forums and groups. You’ll find a ton of them on Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Ning which has a huge network of groups! Keep in mind that there are more groups than active members so don’t jump in right away but lurk around and see if it offers the quality of interaction that you’re looking for:

Do the members engage with one another?
Do the members offer helpful tips?
Or are they just promoting their products and business opportunity?

Here’s how to search for forums: topic/forum i.e. direct sales/forum. Within forums, you can advertise your business where appropriate however, keep in mind that other direct sellers are doing the same thing.

Personally, I would approach forums and groups as you would social networks. That is, you’re looking to meet new people and make virtual friends. Approaching it from a business opportunity or selling your products is not an effective way to meet people and you’ll find your messages ignored. If you’re new to a forum, participate by answering questions, or responding to comments. Once you’re more comfortable and have connected with some people on a regular basis, you can begin to share your blog posts that offers tips that other direct sellers can use to enhance their business.

In fact, I’ve found sharing topics that are helpful to fellow direct sales business owners, have resulted in frequent traffic visits to my blog, comments, followers on Twitter, and personal emails. None of my posts have anything to do with my company products or business opportunity! The more you share your knowledge, the more likely others will want to connect with you. Besides, if other direct sales folks are only focused on promoting their business, your value-added contribution to the forum or group will only enhance your visibly, and will surely create curiosity.

Marketing your brand will take time and loads of patience. Just remember that if you’re sitting back and doing nothing then you’ll get nothing. As Gary Vaynerchuk says in his book Crushing It “anything is better than zero” and everything starts with one. If you find forums and groups isn’t your thing, check out LinkedIn Answers. You might enjoy helping others by answering their questions.

As always, share your thoughts with us by leaving a comment in the Comment section.


Unknown said...

Excellent information Janette!! You provide such valuable resources, too! XO Candy

Janette Stoll said...

Hi Candy,

Thank you for your kind words! :).