Part I: Online Community Forums, the Basics

Long before I decided to form Full Throttle Media, I was working with a group of brilliant guys developing online communities. This was back in the early 90's and at that time there were not that many forum based communities on the internet. I have to give credit to the guys I was working with for being damn forward thinking and giving me the opportunity to learn how the game worked. We were all big car enthusiasts, so buying in to what they were doing was pretty easy. The idea was to create a setting where car owners, engine builders and manufacturers could come together and share information.

Basically, car enthusiasts had been holding gatherings for like minded car owners and tuners dating back to the 30's when guys started to modify their cars engines. Fast forward to the 90's. How do you bring the various car clubs from around the country and the world together in one place to swap stories and share knowledge on specific cars. The internet facilitated just such a assemblage. In a nut shell, online communities are simply gathering places for like minded individuals looking to exchange information in a social forum. These were the original social media sites. As such, the more highly organized forums offer a vast wealth of knowledge for anyone interested in joining or looking for information on how to increase their own base of knowledge. These focused niche groups have grown over time into some very large and influential communities.

A few of the sites I was privileged enough to be apart of developing hold real sway in todays car enthusiast world. What I am getting at is, community forums offer fertile ground for company's looking for brand exposure or product feedback. What are you selling, who is your target audience and where are they. Well, they are probably scattered all over this green earth. So, if you can find an event or a gathering of folks that meet your target audiences metrics then it is a lot easier to pitch you brand directly to them. Online community forums offer the perfect venue. Think of a few enthusiast groups like car owners, sport fishermen, cooks, etc. There is group of enthusiasts following almost every interest in the world. So, find the one that your product will appeal to most and join.

In Part II we will take a closer look at the pros and cons of online forums vs. social media sites.

Go Full Throttle Media! Share the experience, sell the dream...
Seth Horne

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