Whether your interest is knitting, motorcycles, collecting stamps or public relations there is an internet forum discussing it. An internet forum is a trusted network of people with similar interests that discuss, share and analyze the theme of the forum.

Forums are different from blogs because they are centered on dialogue generated by the community, whereas a blog’s content is generated by one author who may allow others to comment.

The conversations on internet forums are typically monitored by a moderator to ensure the community is adhering to the regulations of the forum. Forum members who frequently break forum rules become known as a troll and could get banned by the group.

In this highly technological era, consumers are turning to the internet forums for recommendations and reviews during the purchasing cycle. Companies should utilize the power of social media channels, like Foursquare, which is a cost effective way for businesses to build their reputation. For example, a restaurant could offer a free appetizer every time a customer ‘checks-in’ on Foursquare. The customer’s check-in will then be visible to their however so many friends on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare acting as a word-of-mouth recommendation for the restaurant.

The Social Media Bible talks about a similar marketing philosophy by using GoRecomend, a forum for customers to share their customer experiences, a cost effective way for businesses to get the word out.

It’s true that word of mouth is the best form of advertisement. Social networking has amplified this fact and companies would be crazy to not seize that opportunities the internet presents.

Of course in order to get good recommendations a company must first provide customers with the services or products promised. Once that step is satisfied it’s about getting the word out.