I was in a discussion today with several people on the merits of using forums to connect with new prospects. We all agreed that being a part of three or four forums is an excellent way to answer questions for others on your area of expertise, get your own questions answered, and to just be a part of something that has staying power.
Using Facebook and Twitter may be good for your business, but our tweets and posts soon disappear as new ones appear in the timeline. Forum posts are there forever, and can be read by someone searching that thread at any time in the future. Another thing I truly love about forums is the idea of being able to change my signature line whenever I have something new to promote. It is then changed on every post I have ever made in that forum, for as long back as I have been a member.
I belong to two paid forums and several free ones. There are benefits to both, but if you are just starting out I would recommend going to Google to search for a free one on your topic. Spend some time just reading what other members have to say, and then offer valuable tips and resources if you have information that will be helpful. Remember that your signature line does the marketing for you, so you do not want to try to sell anything when you are commenting.