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Marketing

Published October 25th 2013

Monitoring Forums: Why Should You Care?

Social media sites make up a significant bulk in the type of content that our clients are most interested in listening to, but depending on the brand, keeping track of forums and message boards as well is critical.


Why should you care about forums?

 

Believe it or not, forums and discussion boards are still one of, if not the most popular place to ask and answer questions about brands and products in every conceivable niche.

Even though most forums stand alone, some are attached to corporate sites, such as Google’s product forums or Dell’s support forums.

Forums give a place for your audience to voice their opinions, and by being the first to comment on relevant threads about your brand, products or sector, you can generate targeted traffic to your site at no cost.

Staying on top of forum threads also gives you the opportunity to address legitimate complaints and concerns, gain a loyal following, answer any questions about your brand, interact with a targeted audience, create expertise in your niche and negate any false claims and rumours.

While forum engagement might not be one of your quickest traffic generating strategies, the point is that it works!

Here are just a few Brandwatch tips to help you generate a flow of targeted traffic.


Not all forums and message boards are indexed by Google.

 

As with news sites and social networks, Brandwatch crawls hundreds of thousands of online forums – almost every single one it legally can – before eliminating those that aren’t valuable.

This ‘blacklist’ technique ensures complete coverage, rather than building a forum list from nothing (whitelist).

For an in-depth look at how to keep track of breaking news about your company, have a look at these top tips.

All forum data is captured as discovered on an hourly basis, along with many less significant forums, typically reviewed each day.

Major forums include moneysavingexpert.com, pistonheads.com, somethingawful.com, Gaia Online, bodybuilding.com, Yahoo! Answers… we could go on, but you’d be reading here all day.

You’d be surprised to see the huge chunk of the internet made up from forums. It includes leading review sites such as TripAdvisor, image boards like 4chan, social bookmarking sites such as Reddit, against just about anything and endless spam-focused forums.

Below is just a small selection of the major forums we cover on an almost real-time basis.

forums1

Is there anything that Brandwatch can’t do?

 

There are a few forums we don’t cover, but only those that have politely asked us not to crawl them or have their scraping rules set to private.

However, if we’re missing a forum you want to crawl, we can add it within minutes. Customers can upload lists of sites to cover too.

While it’s good to know the key communities where your brand’s most frequently discussed about, the ability to extract individual comments on forum threads is likely to be even more insightful. You can then share, comment or engage directly from the app. Bear in mind that:

“Your primary reason to be on a forum is to participate in other people’s discussions, not to start them. So answer, chime in and let the community guide the discussion.”

– Patrick O’Keefe, veteran forum administrator of Managing Online Forums

In case you want to save time by not having to weed through all your brand mentions, consider that you might want to filter incoming forum posts by influence metrics (visitors/month, avg. time on site etc.) and the specific forum thread (posts, views) to indicate how high value the conversation is.

Top Forums

Get yourself a real-time personal assistant

 

Sometimes you’d like to know when updates take place to an important website, say, your Wikipedia page or key forums mentioning your competitors.

In this case, you can set up alerts for lists of forums or topics you want to monitor, and Brandwatch can send you notifications straight to your inbox whenever a new post goes up.

Take a peek at this blog post on how to make the notification process more efficient.

alerts2

If you’d like to know more about how comprehensive our coverage is and how we crawl our sites, please see our support page or – if you’re not already a client – get in touch with us to find out more.

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Crimson Hexagon has merged with Brandwatch. You’re in the right place!

From May 8th, all Crimson Hexagon products are now on the Brandwatch website. You’ll find them under ‘Products’ in the navigation. If you’re an existing customer and you want to know more, your account manager will be happy to help.