If your traffic exchange has a forum, get comfortable using the exchange and then, join it! Forum posts are a way to connect with other marketers and just as in offline business, networking is what online marketing is all about. When people get to know you, they trust you and this may spark them to buy your product or join the program you’re promoting. And, it’s always a great way to make new friends.

The first thing you must do after joining a forum is to introduce yourself to the other members of the group. Usually, this will include information about the area where you live, what your interests are, and a blurb about being happy to be in the forum. Keep it simple and allow veteran members to welcome you. Then, respond to their comments or questions. It’s a great way to get your feet wet and to satisfy the “getting to know you” requirement of most forums.

Then, just read posts for a while. Old-timers in a forum, those who have been members a while, can often be great sources of information. You can learn a great deal just by reading posts, especially if the forum is very active. Take advantage of the free tutoring. It’s worth its weight in platinum.

Another advantage of posting to a forum is that you are usually able to use a signature file, meaning a link to a program or product you’re promoting underneath your signature. This is a great way to advertise! Your link attaches to every post you make or will ever make and it will add up to a lot of free advertising over time. Just be sure to follow the rules about posting sig lines. Some forums allow several, while others may allow none at all, and the last thing you want to be is a forum rule breaker. The members will never let you forget, if you do it consistently over time.

Don’t become a forum lizard, either. Posts that have no substance are generally frowned upon. These are the “Yahoo!” posts or the “Sure, I agree,” posts with no relevant comments to legitimize them. Don’t spend all your time in forums, either. Find a thread or two that interest you and post something important to those. Reading every post by every member can take up most of your day in large forums, if you allow it. Just be involved enough to become known as someone whose point of view holds interest by providing food for thought, interesting URLs on a topic, or especially humor, if you’re able to write funny things without being corny. Forum members won’t mind if you post once or fifteen times, if what you have to say resonates.

Traffic exchanges have many features, and you should explore all of them. If the exchange has a forum, get in there and make some posts, even if it’s only to respond to what others have posted. First, read the terms and conditions of the forum and read some posts before you go barging into someone else’s living room. Get a feel for the tone of its posters. And never post ads, unless the forum has a specific board for doing so. That’s a big no-no and will get you into trouble. But don’t be shy. People in forums are generally nice and very helpful, and networking is what n-e-t-w-o-r-k marketing is all about!

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