Originally Posted by Artashes
You are making a good point, and it is true partially. While social media certainly made its impact on forums in general, when it comes to web hosting specifically, there has been a shift in the marketplace. 10 years ago, when shared hosting plans could easily cost $20-30/month, people were more scared to make a mistake in picking a company as it represented a meaningful cost. Today you can buy the same shared hosting for $20-30/year, so it is no longer something consumers have to worry about. So I've noticed a decrease in C2B and an increase in B2B activity. Another reason for forums to decline is that most answers can be easily found through Google.
However, I still believe forums have their place. Whether it is a pet forum or web hosting, when you are faced with a question or an issue you need the answer to, you aren't going to be asking it through social media - you will want to come to a place full of enthusiasts and professionals specializing on the subject.
So yes, forum presence and participation is still very much important, for both SEO and general marketing. You are establishing yourself as a company and as a professional, and if you are around frequently, you increase chances of those coming here looking for advice or answers to notice your name.
a lot of company now use facebook rather than forums. I know when i set up a dolphin based site (gives a lot more than just a basic forum) no matter what i did to advertise it all i got was spammers, so set up a FB group and this got a whole load of members, but i find out a lot of people think it is FB so they can do anything they want