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To get started, pick a couple of groups you find interesting. Join up, but don't post just yet. Hide out for a while and get a feel for interests of group and tone of conversations. See who posts most and who seems to be most respected. Also, see if you can pick out naysayer, or "troll under bridge," (every group has one it seems) so you can avoid any hassles.
When you're ready to dive in, pick a question and give a good solid answer, without a lot of opinion or comment. Make it a goal to answer a question once or twice each week. Keep your answer strictly non-commercial but DO include your commercial signature file at end sending people to your site and email. If people respect your answers, you'll find yourself with more business.
3. Chat Rooms:
Chat rooms are least formal of these formats. These are those discussion groups you can get involved in where there is a scrolling conversation of people commenting back and forth in real time. They can be very entertaining, and also a great marketing tool.
Before you can start you will have to register with a user name, and usually a bio. Once again include your url, and email. When you start chatting, keep a friendly tone and get to know people you're talking to. Don't immediately start pushing your product. You have to use soft sell approach. People in general do not like being "sold", especially by someone online they've never met. Though they can see you in chat rooms, read your website, view posts on a bulletin board, you will need to build a reputation with them.
It is important to appear in chat room at same time every day or several days per week. Let visitors know what your chat room schedule is. If you make a positive contribution to discussion and stay on top of what's going on, you can become resident expert who visitors and regulars turn to for information and for business.
So remember, Internet is a great marketing tool in more ways than you think. Use bulletin boards, discussion groups and chat rooms to promote your business. If you just keep your eyes and mind open, all sorts of opportunities will present themselves.
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