Ten Ways to Take Advantage of Industry-Specific Social Sites (1)Finding ways to take advantage of industry-specific forums is important if you want to build your business to the next level. Forums offer the ability to communicate with one or more people at the same time. What’s more, with an industry-specific forum you’ll be able to communicate with people who are involved in your industry.

Some may be competitors but some may actually be people who, while they market to your audience, instead sell complementary products and services to yours and not the same type of solution as you do. Here are ten ways you can take advantage of industry-specific forums that will explode your business.

1. Meet Like-Minded People – When you join a forum (which is a message board) in an industry-specific community, you will meet people who understand your language. They know the jargon and understand what you do. This is a special thing, especially if you happen to work for yourself. It’s a new type of “water-cooler” experience.

2. Meet Potential Joint Venture Partners – Watch the forum for the most active and successful members to show themselves to you. These are the people you want to cultivate a relationship with in order to build potential partnerships. JV partnerships are excellent ways to boost your business and expand your following.

3. Learn New Things about Your Industry – The people who are involved with the message board, and who post on it, will likely share information about the industry with the entire forum. Because there is so much information out there, this is a good way to get information because you are just one person and cannot find everything. But, do check the facts before sharing it with your followers.

4. Find Industry Events to Attend – When an event is happening in your industry, an industry-specific forum will buzz with the information about the events from the past and the future. This is a good way to find out the best events for you to attend. Even if you cannot attend personally, you might be able to sponsor someone else to attend on your behalf.

5. Find Industry Events that Need Presenters – During the buzz of events on the forum, people who are planning events in that industry may post requests for proposals for presenters. If any of the requests match your expertise, you can submit your presentations for consideration.

6. Share Your Expertise – When another forum member asks a question, you can demonstrate your expertise by freely answering the question in a professional manner without trying to sell them anything.

7. Get Fast Answers from Other Experts – You can Google all day long, but sometimes you really want to hear directly from someone (or many) with a human answer. Asking questions on a message board will garner many opinions and replies and start discussions that can lead to new and valuable relationships.

8. Get a Link Back to Your Website – Most forums allow for some minor promotions within the signature line or within a bio area. It’s a good idea to make each signature for every forum you’re active in a special landing page just for those members.

9. Find Inspiration for Content – When you are trying to develop content for your blogs, websites, eBooks, reports, white papers and so forth, an active industry forum is a great place to find inspiration.

10. Identify People to Interview – On any forum, some people will stand out as excellent and at the top of their niche. Once people get to know you there, you can simply post a request for interview subjects and get responses. You can also contact specific people directly usually via a private messaging system.

Participating in industry-specific forums is not just informational and lucrative financially; it can also be a lot of fun. Meeting people who care about the same things that you do can open up a whole new world.

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