Forums – The Wonder Of Networking
Forums are the quintessential meeting place for personal networking because there is an unusual balance of comradery and friction that can make it an interesting and entertaining place to connect. As a business owner you have the ability to empower your customers with the tools needed to network when you provide a forum – and the forum is primarily for their benefit, not yours. That’s not to say customers will make a mad dash to use the forum, but once the ice is broken you are allowing your customers to do what you are attempting to do – form connections and gain third party opinions. We live in a world that is somewhat bent on disconnection. There was a time when some believed that by the 21st century we would be experiencing 20 hour workweeks. Why? Because technology would be so advanced that we wouldn’t have to work as hard.
I don’t know about you, but I’m working much harder than I was twenty years ago and sometimes I wonder if I have twenty hours a week to myself. Why? Because the technology sector has been able to conform to the potent need we have to connect with others and we are using the computer more than ever to connect. Where once motorists used time on the freeway to listen to the news, sing songs, tell stories and play multiple games of ‘I spy’, now busy parents are on their Bluetooth finalizing plans, business details and family functions. Children are in the back seat watching a DVD, listening to an iPod or sending a text message. It is this connection deprived world that allows forums to be a powerful tool for networking.
If you once were involved in a particular hobby and local enthusiasts met once a month this was often the extent of your connections related to the hobby. However, with forums you can connect multiple times daily if you like. You can gain access to people who share your enthusiasm from all walks of life and from throughout the world. Questions can be answered more readily and good news can be shared more quickly. As a business owner you know what it’s like to forge networking connections. You know that value of business-to-business connections as well as consumer connections. By hosting a specific forum on your ecommerce website you are extending the welcome mat to connection deprived visitors to find value in your website. With the growth of forum connections the site visitor will also likely experience a growing trust in the business that made it possible for them to connect with other like-minded individuals. You could develop a business without a forum, and you might even find success in the endeavor, but often one of the enthusiastic members of the forum will volunteer to moderate the forum leaving the process virtually hands free for the website owner. This makes a forum a very inexpensive part of your marketing plan.
Life has always been about human connection, a forum brings a personal touch to the often impersonal World Wide Web.