Affiliate engagement is important to the long-term success of your program and business, but many companies still find themselves “out-of-touch” with their affiliates. Remember that your relationships with them are different from your relationships with employees and customers. It’s easy to lose sight of your affiliates while focusing on other areas and people. Creating a forum for your affiliates establishes an online home for them. Read on for more information on why and how to make a forum.

Benefits of Affiliate Engagement Forums

1. They’re Helpful

You may already have a forum for customers and internal messaging, but an additional communication channel for affiliates can come in handy. A specific forum for them is an excellent place to identify issues and resolve problems quickly. 

Best of all, you don’t have to do all of the work yourself. Instead, encourage your affiliates to serve as resources for each other by helping out with suggestions or discussing details of their own experiences.

Consider developing a knowledge base within your forum for storing information and a FAQ section, both used as program resources.

2. They’re Easy and Cheap To Maintain

There are other ideas for affiliate marketing, but they may cost a bit more of your time and money. And you may be OK with that, but keep in mind that affiliate forums are relatively inexpensive and not particularly time-consuming for you, too. 

3. They Build Communities

A forum will help you stay present in your affiliates’ day-to-day lives. Having a holistic community rather than a bunch of unrelated partnerships will reinforce affiliate engagement.

Relevant interests lead affiliates to you, so encourage them to interact with one another by using these common areas as jumping-off points.

4. They Encourage Creativity

A forum will give your affiliates a place to suggest their marketing ideas and share success strategies. Collaboration and a culture that rewards innovation will help them perform better on your behalf.

How To Create a Forum for Affiliate Engagement

If you’re convinced that a forum is a good idea, then it’s time to find out how to create one. You have a few options, so let’s take a look at each of them separately.

Option 1: Create a Social Media Group

If you’d prefer to handle affiliate communication through your social media account, then this is the option for you. 

Pick Your Platform – Do you want to create a subreddit, a Facebook group, or a LinkedIn group? Choose a platform in which you and your affiliates are already active and familiar.

Create a Group – This step is relatively the same across all the platforms. For Reddit, you’ll open the “Create Community” page. For both Facebook and LinkedIn, go to “Groups” and then “Create New Group.” 

Set the Status as Private – For LinkedIn, click “Unlisted,” which functions the same way as “private.”

Invite Your Affiliates To Join  – They simply have to accept your invitation through the group.

Option 2: Use a Messaging App

If your company prefers platforms like Slack or Discord, you may wish to start your affiliate communications within the same system. 

Have Your Desired Permissions in Place – As the administrator, you can restrict permissions, which disallows members to open up new channels within the messaging app. 

Create a New Server or External Channel – Allow affiliate participation only to designated spaces and do not provide access to employee-only communication.

Invite Your Affiliates To Join – Keep in mind that they may need to download the app or create an account first. 

Option 3: Create a Forum Website 

forum website gives you more options and control, but it also takes more work to get started. 

Choose a Host and a Website Builder  – Your business may already have a website in place. If not, pick a web-hosting service to keep your forum website up and running. Unless you want to code the site yourself or use a more advanced content management system, you need a website builder

Pick Your Theme or Template – Most builders and systems come with ready-made templates that you can populate with your content. 

Set Up Your Pages and Topics – Create pages with any resources you want to include. For example, on the main forum page, set up a few different topics for affiliates to post messages.

Create User Rules and Privacy Settings – Content should be visible only to community members who have requested and received access. Consider establishing a few guidelines for posting material to the site.

Invite Your Affiliates To Join – That’s right — just as in options one and two. 

Get Posting

There you have it! Now you know all the reasons why creating a forum is a wise idea — they’re helpful, inexpensive, allow for creativity, and provide a sense of belonging. You also know the different options for creating forums: social media, messaging apps, or private websites. And if you later decide that you’d prefer a different platform, you can always switch over.Get started now by researching affiliate marketing guides and resources! LeadDyno can help you create an affiliate program and provide you with the tools needed to keep the conversations going.