I belong to a number of chat forums, some relate to the VA industry, some are other business related, some software, and a few more that are connected to personal interests.
What disturbs me the most is that on any of the chat forums that are business related in some way, people continue to post to the forums just like they sending an SMS to a friend or carrying on a phone conversation with a family member. They forget they are in a business forum.
Things I recommend you do when posting:
- Ensure your username and email address are suitable for a business forum – something like jonniesmum@…, or loveme@… just do not conjure up confident feelings about the poster in a business sense but are ok for personal interest chat forums.
- Leave a portion of the email you are responding to in your post so that there is some continuity there for the other members of the forum.
- Use a signature block – it’s a great opportunity to blatantly tell people who you are and what you do but keep it to a 6 line maximum. It doesn’t need to be a big long advertisement but rather a way for people to get to know who you are by clicking on your web address, or by emailing you direct, and/or putting your business name into a search engine so they can look you up.
- Don’t post things that amount to personal conversation between 2 or 3 people – take it offlist and email each other. This includes sending messages which are no more than gratuitous replies to replies.
- Be aware that most forums are global, i.e. they don’t belong to one country. I’ve lost count of the times I’ve posted to a forum to remind someone who made a post that their country isn’t the only one represented. For that reason, people shouldn’t be picked on for incorrect spellings or grammatical errors if there’s a possibility that they’re not native English speaking and/or might spell something differently in their country. BUT, that doesn’t give an excuse for not taking care in typing your post properly – your business is on display through your posts.
I would like to draw your attention to the following link RFC and would advise reading Section 3.0 in its entirety. This is not something that is compulsory but would give you a good understanding of the general practices and guidelines that apply to most online communities. KMT