If you are looking to make connections with new people who share a common interest let me suggest you begin to visit relevant forums. No matter what niche you are in there is a forum with people who share your interest. Finding and posting on these forums can be an excellent way to begin a conversation with new people who can eventually become a part of your prospect list.
How to get started? First you have to find the forums that are related to your topic. The easiest way to do this is go to Google, type in your topic name, a colon, and then the work forum; like this: corvette:forum. That will take to several links to forums with members interested in corvette automobiles.
Another place to look is www.big-boards.com. This site lists over 2000 active forums from all over the world. What I like about the site is the browse function. You can put in your topic and get a list of any forums in their database on that subject. The site also offers important statistics on each forum. These include the total number of posts and members; as well as the primary focus of the forum. If your goal is to meet new people you want to participate in forums with a larger population of members.
Once you’ve identified some potential forums, invest the time to visit each of them. As you do so, read through a variety of posts in the various threads. What seems to be the overall tone of the comments? Are people positive and helpful? Does there seem to be a high degree of participation?
After you’ve selected several forums to join, go ahead and apply to them. In most cases your membership will need to be approved by a moderator. This is a straight forward process in most cases, but can take a couple of days, depending on how busy the moderator(s) might be.
Now that you’ve joined a forum, what to do? Typically the best way to begin your involvement with a forum is to introduce yourself. Most forums have a “thread” that is designed for new members to briefly do just that. If you don’t find this, then look at several of the conversations on the forum and answer a question or share an experience as a way of introducing yourself.
It is always good to let people know you are a new member in your first posts. Many of the longer term members will reach out and welcome you. This lets you begin the conversation back with them.
In your signature you can include a link that invites a reader to visit your site or blog. That fact should not be confused with an invitation to promote or sell something. Most forums are focused on information sharing and relationship building, not direct selling. Just like in the off-line world, when participating in forums you’ll want to focus on building a relationship before asking for business.
Joining two or three relevant forums, and devoting a hour or two to participating each week can be an excellent way to add new relationships to your prospect list.