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Using “Other” Online Communities to Build Your Brand

When you think of social media platforms, you probably think of sites like Facebook and TikTok. But what about Quora, Reddit or a forum found on an obscure .com? There are tons of places to interact with others online in a way that you can use to better yourself professionally—and, when done right, can build your business and brand too. Here are just a few suggestions to help you get started.

 

Quora

What it is.

Quora is the modern-day Yahoo! Answers, with more than 300 million monthly active users asking and answering thousands of questions every day. Questions include “Will volunteering impact college applications more than GPA and grades?” on College Applications, “Can fibromyalgia cause foot pain?” on Medicine and Healthcare, and “Should I get life insurance? Why or why not?” on Insurance.

Answers are put to a vote. The higher the votes, the higher your answer will be in the results. These questions are indexed by Google, making them evergreen and available to anyone who seeks answers to that question in the future. Aim to have the best answer so it appears immediately below the question for those future visitors as well.

 

How you can make the most of it.

Fill out your bio. The first 50 characters of your bio will also show up next to your name when you post around the site, so make sure they capture a user’s attention. Be sure to post links in your profile too!

Follow topics. This will make it easier to find questions you want to answer, or if a question spurs on something you would like to know, don’t be afraid to ask it yourself!

Be choosy about the questions you answer. It can be addicting at first to try and answer as many questions as you can, but value quality over quantity. Put effort into your answers to provide unique and high-quality information.

Connect with others like you would on any other social media platform. Follow those who interact with you often, ask good questions, or whose answers you admire most. Don’t be afraid to tell someone you like their content!

 

Reddit

What it is.

Reddit is similar to Quora in that it also uses a voting system—but posts can be text (including questions), images, videos or links. Upvotes grant you karma, which shows how much good you’ve contributed to the Reddit community. All posts live under subreddits, or themed communities, like r/personalfinance or r/college. There are tons of opportunities to talk to audiences large and small across a variety of subreddits.

The Reddit community can be vicious when it sees spammy or self-serving activity, so tread lightly. Only 10% of your posts should include a link to your own website, and that’s only if it’s truly worthy to add and not shoehorned into a post. Build your account from the ground up by upvoting, commenting, posting content from other websites—but don’t try to take shortcuts and buy an established account or ask friends and coworkers to upvote your content. The community will see right through that.

 

How you can make the most of it.

Follow the rules. Each subreddit has its own set of moderators who set their own rules. You can usually find these rules on the sidebar or in a post stickied to the top of the subreddit’s main page.

Post original content. Don’t steal an old post that got a lot of upvotes and repost it for your own gain. Everything you post should be new and never posted on Reddit. If you share something you didn’t create on your own, be sure you have permission to post it and credit the original creator.

Grow organically. Don’t push your own website content right out of the gate. In addition to the subreddits where you want to be an expert, post a photo of your dog in r/aww, help someone find what they’re looking for in r/tipofmytongue, or add your thoughts to a thread in r/worldnews. Establishing yourself on Reddit is a long game.

 

Other Forums

If there’s an interest, there’s a niche community out there searching for your knowledge. You may find communities similar to subreddits on different domains. myFICO is an excellent example for finance. Even support forums for platforms like YNAB are great places to lend your expertise.

If you enjoy interacting on forums and get a feel for what it’s like to moderate one, consider setting one up on your own website! That way, all of the user-generated content and interaction gets credited to your domain.

 

How you can make the most of them.

In addition to the etiquette we’ve already discussed for other platforms (like reviewing the rules and keeping self-promotion to a minimum), make sure to:

Use a signature. Many forums allow a signature similar to one you’d find on an email. Look around for examples from others and read the forum’s rules. If there’s no self-promotion in anyone else’s signature, it’s likely it’s not allowed—so don’t put it in yours. If there is room to include a brief intro of who you are and link to your website, take advantage! You can participate in the community freely and know that even if you aren’t promoting something specific, people can still easily find their way to your business if they find your content interesting.

 

Facebook & LinkedIn Groups

We said there’s more to social media than Facebook, but it’s still worth mentioning here. Facebook groups have exploded in popularity in recent years, and it’s a great resource to find more people seeking your knowledge. Note that private groups do not show up in Google search results, but public ones can. It’s still worth joining the private groups for the interactions you’ll have with the members inside.

 

How you can make the most of them.

Read the rules and answer the screening questions. Many groups have a set of rules and some questions to answer when you click the Join button. Read through and answer them all—sometimes an admin will put a secret word in the rules you need to include in your answers to ensure you read all the requirements.

Take advantage of reactions. Even if you have nothing new to contribute to a conversation already taking place, like and react to the comments you agree with. Avoid negative engagements unless you feel someone’s answer is particularly egregious and you can debate in a calm way. You don’t want to get kicked out of an established group for an angry react that someone else loses their mind about.

 

No matter where you interact with a community online, the same basic rules apply: be genuine, offer unique content (that’s not always about you and your services), and follow the rules. Don’t participate if you’re only in it to push your own agenda. Network, learn, collaborate, and you’ll love the members of those communities just as much as they’ll come to (hopefully) love your brand.

Looking for more digital marketing best practices? Talk to us today.

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