I’d like you to consider a scenario for a moment. Let’s say that you know someone who is a photographer, graphic designer, some sort of an artist, technology geek, whatever. They have a website, a Twitter account, Facebook account and all the rest of the social media accounts someone in their position might have. Day after day, this person works very hard to do a great job and to put out the best possible product. They try and they try and they try and really, you love knowing this person because you can tell that they put a lot of effort into what they do. The only problem is, they’re not getting as much traffic to their website and social media pages as they’d like. So they come to you and ask if you can help. They’d like to know if you have any suggestions. The conversation might go like this:
THEM: Hey man, you see how hard I work. What’s up with my website not getting nearly as much traffic as I know I deserve?
YOU: Well, what are you doing to attract people to your site? Where are you advertising?
THEM: I keep posting things to social media, but it seems like the more I post, the less traffic I get. It’s just not giving me the love it used to. I get hearts and thumbs ups, but no traffic to my site.
YOU: Have you ever watched someone scroll through their social media feed? Do you have any idea how quickly your post gets tossed to the bottom and out of sight, if it even shows up at all?
THEM: What are you talking about? Are you telling me that my grandmother, who I’m friends with on Facebook, doesn’t really care about how to code JAVA?
YOU: Well, I didn’t say that, but okay. Yes, she really doesn’t care. And even if someone who you were friends with did care, there’s very little chance of them clicking through and if they ever searched for that particular post again, they’d never find it. It falls into the abyss after about 30 seconds.
THEM: I see. If only there were someplace my information could stay forever. Say, perhaps a link to my website near some text that that I wrote that makes me sound super intelligent.
YOU: Now you’re talking.
Okay, you probably have no idea what I’m talking about here, but I’m about to do you a really big favor. If you are a creative artist, photographer or, really, anyone with a website or social media presence you’d like to promote, you really need to start getting involved with discussion boards online. Discussion boards, forums, whatever you want to call them. They’re incredible things and I’ll tell you why.
I know you’ve browsed through forums before. You were probably searching the web for ideas that would help fix something or hook something up. Maybe even for ideas about how to change a setting on your camera. Now, as you browsed these forums, you probably noticed different members who chimed in from time to time. You may have even noticed what’s referred to as a super user. A super user is a person who contributes to forums all day long and replies to all sorts of messages. There’s something else you may have noticed in these forums you’ve browsed. If you look at some user’s posts, you might see what’s referred to as a signature below each one. You know, their name, a little blurb about themselves and a link to their website or social media page. They sometimes even include a small picture of some sort. I know you’ve seen these things before, even if you didn’t pay particular attention to them at the time.
Here’s my question; do you think the individuals with the “signatures” sit there and write responses to all of those posts out of the goodness of their hearts? Because they’re bored? Because they love people? Most certainly not. They do it because a link to their website is attached to the bottom of every single intelligent and thoughtful post they share. Think about that for a moment. While social media posts disappear like a puddle in a hot Arizona parking lot in July, a forum post sticks around forever. If it’s a popular post, it will get traffic day in and day out. Now let me ask you this, when you were looking around these forums for the answers to your questions, do you remember how closely you read what people wrote? I can imagine pretty closely. That’s because you truly wanted something. You had a problem and needed a solution.
Here’s a new scenario for you. Check this one out. It has to do specifically with you.
YOU: Dude, you’re never going to believe now much traffic I’m now generating to my website. I started posting thoughtful and intelligent responses to threads on this new discussion forum I’m interested in and traffic is flying my way. All I did was include a link to my website in my discussion board signature and it’s like people have fallen in love with me.
THEM: What? You’re kidding me. Why did they fall in love with you so much?
YOU: Well that’s easy. I joined a forum that has topics I’m really interested in. I then began reading about posts that related to me and that I had an understanding of. And finally, I just chimed in and offered some of my knowledge on the subject at hand. It was actually quite fun. When people read what I wrote, they began trusting my judgement and then followed the link in my signature to learn more about me. It’s so great! I’m a really big hit out there! And the best part is, the more I post, the more links I add to the website via my signature, which translates into more opportunities that people can find my website. It’s crazy!
THEM: So all I have to do is join a forum, create a signature and write quick message like “Awesome” and “Neato”?
YOU: Definitely not. I said thoughtful messages about things you’re good at. The goal is to help people, not get traffic. The traffic will come naturally later on.
THEM: You are the master of the universe.
YOU: I know.
Here’s my advice to you. If you’re looking for effective methods for promoting your website or social media profiles, I encourage you to join discussion forums that host information you’re interested in. On this blog, I talk a lot about photography and Photoshop. Since you’re on this website, I’m guessing you’re interesting in the same things. In that case, go ahead and join a forum that has to do with those topics. I just happened to set one up recently, so this is probably a good place to start. Join my discussion forum here. Once signed up, browse around for topics you think you might be able to add to. Start new threads and ask questions. Answer other people’s questions. Get involved. Write, write and then write some more. Let other members get to know you. Become an expert. But before you do all that, make sure you set your signature up. On my forum, you’ll see the Signature link if you click on your username up towards the top of the site. It’s that easy. After that, every thread you start or post you reply to will include your signature automatically. I’m sure you can see how your popularity can build up over time. People are bound to want to learn more about you and that’s when they look at your signature and follow your links. It’s genius, I must say.
Give it a try.
I hope I gave you some food for thought for when it comes to promoting yourself online. If you have any questions regarding this post, please let me know in the comment section down below. Or, you can ask me any time on the discussion board. Thanks for reading!