Do you have a wonderful cat product, or maybe a blog, an app or a book? You're looking for ways to share the exciting news with other cat lovers? Maybe you've read somewhere that posting on forums is a good idea for promoting your website?
Welcome to TCS! Before you rush off to post to the community, there's a few things we need to discuss...
You wouldn't believe the amount of people who come here solely to promote their project, site or product. It may seem perfectly ok to them - after all, it's about cats, right? Sometimes it may even be a non-profit organization or project, but even then it can be hard to judge in a glance if this is indeed a free gift, or a promotional offer.
Unfortunately if we let everyone post about their own projects, the forums would be swamped by promotional posts.
That's why we have a few rules in place, Do's and Don't's for promoting anything in this community. Before I start elaborating on those, let me explain one simple thing:
Promoting anything in an established online community takes a LOT of effort and cannot be a fly-by-night operation.
People will only notice your message if they know you. You have to work at establishing a positive presence in the community first, and only then can you try and promote anything. Trust me on this one. People won't take note unless they know you (and preferably, like you). It can take months to get to that point, if not years. Quite honestly, if you don't plan on becoming a contributing member here, enjoying the participation in its own right, you're not going to last and you'll leave long before you reap any benefit. If all you want here is to promote your business, I guarantee that your time and efforts will be better spent elsewhere.
So, what can and what can't you do here to promote your business/product/blog etc.
- Use your website address as your username or have your logo or web address as your avatar.
- Have your logo or web address in pictures that you upload to posts or elsewhere on the site.
- Link to any site in your first post. Or in the first ten posts. This will automatically hold your post for suspected spam. We're very very spam-sensitive and you could find yourself with a banned account in no time.
- Link to your site from any post you make. Ever. Use the signature for that (see below, under "Do's")
- Post only to threads that can help you promote your product. Establishing yourself as an expert in your field is good, just make sure you don't limit yourself to that alone. It won't fly well.
- Give advice directing people to your own website or product, whether directly using links or just "Google my name" advice.
- Ask people to help you by reviewing your product or answering your poll or survey. If you want to run a non-commercial survey, please contact a team member about it first.
- Link to your web page while pretending not to be associated with it.
- Post a review of your own product in our Reviews section.
Not sure about something? Contact one of the team members and ask for advice. It's always best to ask for permission in advance.
- Carefully read our rules to see what's allowed and what's frowned upon.
- Take some time to get to know the community, what goes and what doesn't, and what kind of tone and posting style is acceptable here. Take a look at these suggestions about getting involved in the community.
- Be a good member. Offer advice and support, on topics not related to your product/website. Respond to others and always be courteous and friendly.
- Add a discreet link in your signature to your website. You can do that once you have 100 posts under your wing.
- If you're promoting a shelter or a cat-related cause that is not for profit, you can post one thread about it in the SOS forum. Note that any fund raising request will be followed by a generic "canned" warning by one of our moderators.
- Contact the site owner with any -
- Requests to add your product to our Reviews section.
- Offers to sponsor one of our contests with prizes.
- Inquiries regarding paid advertising on the site.
- Reciprocate. If you like TCS, show the love by telling your own blog readers or website visitors about us. (You don't really have to do that, and we won't know about it anyway, but it's a nice thought).
I hope you've decided to join us for quality discussions about cats and cat care. We welcome the opportunity to enjoy your expertise and hopefully down the road, you may be able to tell us about how cats are part of your business too.