Lead Gen Technique: Establish a Beachhead in a Forum
Mike Baglietto |
 01/11/13 |
3 min read

This is one technique among a series I’m covering on conversation mining for lead generation.

What if your customers have an online forum where they discuss topics related to their profession, hobby, disease, or interest area?  If so, you can analyze the conversation to reveal the most influential targets and establish a beachhead in their community.

There are two ways NetBase can help with this technique.  First, you can use NetBase to identify the relevant forums.  Second, you can mine those forums for influential authors.  To find the forums, set up a topic on a keyword related to your product or service.  Then have your dashboard reveal the domains that mention that keyword.  Next, set up a topic with the forum as an included domain and no primary terms.  In your dashboard, put an author widget and other widgets to surface details about each author.

Let’s say we want to sell a product to massage therapists.  Then for our first dashboard that surfaces the related forums, we would use a topic on terms such as “massage” and “masseuse”.  In my dashboard below I’ve got a sources widget where I’ve clicked on forums.  That filters the domains so I can focus just on forum domains.  I’ve read down the list and found www.bodyworkonline.com.  To confirm it’s relevant, I’ve clicked on the forum and shown a word cloud.  This word cloud summarizes the main conversation drivers on the forum.  “NCTMB” is frequently mentioned.  Since that is the National Certification Board for Therapeutic Massage and Bodywork, I’m considering this a relevant forum and will select it for the next phase of this lead gen technique.

My second step is to set up a topic corresponding to the forum.  I enter bodyworkonline.com as an included domain and that’s it.  To be clear, I don’t enter any primary terms for the topic.  This is a new capability we recently added but please note some caveats if you use it.  We can’t guarantee the latency between someone posting on the forum and it appearing on your dashboard and we can’t guarantee 100% coverage of the posts.  That said, those caveats should not present a problem for getting an overview of the forum.

On my dashboard I show authors sorted by frequency.  I’ll be interested in contacting the most prolific authors but I might want to know more about them.  What subjects do they generally discuss?  Do they tend to say positive or negative things—in other words, what is their general disposition?  And how long and when have they been most active?  To get at subjects, I tied a word cloud to the author widget so that when I click on an author it summarizes the words and phrases the author most frequently mentions on that forum.  To get at disposition, I’ve got a sentiment widget.  I can see that the most prolific author tends to say positive things and so hopefully they will be pleasant to interact with.  While I didn’t add a timeline to my example, I could do that to characterize how long this person has been involved on the forum.

Thinking about your own business, is there a forum where your customers and prospects discuss subjects of mutual interest?  Or is there a professional organization they belong to?  If that organization has a Facebook fan page, you can apply NetBase’s Digital Channel Intelligence solution to identify influential authors there.

To discuss how this or any of the other social lead gen techniques from the series could work for your specific case, please contact NetBase (info@netbasequid.com) for help assessing your requirements.


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