The ways that active forum users are different than the general Internet population can be summarized in two characteristics: engagement and influence. In the age of social media these are two key metrics that marketers are trying to grow for their products. Therefore they should sit-up and take notice at some fascinating attributes of forum members, gleaned from a Post-Release/Synovate report published in 2010. The report concluded that forum-users are:
- 3.5 times more likely to proactively recommend a particular purchase to someone else.
- 3.5 times more likely to share links about new products.
- 4 times more likely to post online ratings and reviews.
- 2 times as likely to share advice – offline and in person – based on information they’ve read online.
Forum members are also much more open to discussing specific products and services. In fact, many forums are built up around that intent. If you look at this recent post from CarTalk, you see forum members specifically discussing Dodge’s new DART vehicle and relating it to the vehicle’s history, or this one where they discuss the pros and cons of different vehicle brands.
Not only are forum participants likely to be engaged and influential on the forums themselves, but they also self-publish and organize events. 20.6% of forum participants have a blog versus 2.1% of the general Internet population, according to the Post-Release/Synovate study. And 18.8% take an active role in organizing an offline event or meetup for a group that met originally online versus 2.4% of the general Internet population.
If you are looking for engaged and influential people to build a powerful word-of-mouth marketing engine then active forum participants should be part of your reach strategy.