An example forum –
Forum Title – Parking in an underground car park
User 1 – So guys, do you think parking is easy in an underground car park, or do customers find it more difficult and prefer surface car parks?
User 2 – I think underground car parks are difficult to park in, that why we created Super Sensor 2000, to help all your customers’ park! Check us out here www.genericparking product.com
User 3 – I also think it’s difficult and dark, so we created Parking Lights 8000, check it our here….
User 1 – Umm, I’m not sure you’re getting the point!
And on and on and on…
The clip above is obviously not from an actual forum post, but just take a quick look through most forum discussions on LinkedIn and you will see a very similar pattern. I think it’s a real shame that forums are now turning into sales pitches for everyone, and the art of discussion has somehow getting lost in the myriad of people trying to sell products, which half the time aren’t even related to the conversation.
I know that times are hard and sales guys are heavily targeted to sell these products, but surely if you are just wedging your product in where’s its not wanted, people are going to ignore you, or worse, go out of their way to not use you.
There is a time and a place for product sales, and if you have the right piece of kit then people will find you, Google is a pretty decent tool. Why not just say in your signature that you sell parking products, rather than giving us War and Peace in the forum thread?
I think a great idea is to actually create something genuinely informative that people will find interesting and useful, this then gives you credibility as an expert in the field and people will want to read your content. How about making a video on how much energy we use in car parks, with some interesting statistics, or write a piece on how long it takes customers to navigate a car park and the subsequent time wasted and energy spent doing so? Adding some funny pieces and pictures always helps, and makes your content interesting.
We see so few of these creative approaches and more and more people simply pushing products in a basic bulldozing manner, but if you have no point of distinction and your sales technique is trolling forums then don’t expect a great deal of work to come your way.
Let’s see if we get any trolls in our forum now…