Twitter, Facebook – even blogging – are a way to expand your network to include a large number of people.
We’ve just dipped our toes in blogging water – today I wanted to discuss another great way to leverage the online world to support you and grow your businesses.
Teams and forums are generally smaller, more tight-knit groups, and they can be invaluable to you as an independent business owner. You can find friends, confidants – colleagues! People who are going through the same stuff as you.
Some of the people I’ve met through online forums have become very dear friends. I’ve met them all over Australia, stayed with them on my travels… these are the relationships that stay and grow with time – if you find the right tribe!
I personally belong to a small number of teams and forums – each one serving a slightly different purpose.
Finding a team/forum that suits you is a very personal choice, and one you’ll have to discover for yourself. I thought I’d give a little example of the places I frequent, and the reasons why.
The Down Under Street Team on Etsy is my favourite team. I hang out on the chat thread in the Etsy forums, and have done since 2008. I’ve known some of the people there since then – and I chat to them online every day!
This is my watercooler – the place I hang out with my colleagues. We chat about our lives; ask questions about our business, and our customers; help each other out… it’s a private haven where we can be honest, have fun, and share advice.
These ladies have helped me out more times than I can count – both in my personal life and in my business life.
This is the Brisbane Etsy street team, and I’ve been a member for a few years now. This team is really active locally, running markets, info days, and get-togethers.
I don’t chat online with these gals very often, but being a part of this team has been really helpful in growing my business, and getting involved locally.
Get out there and find yourself some forums/teams! Just like anything, it will take time and input to feel comfortable, but the relationships you can build and the stuff you can learn make it an invaluable part of your social media strategy. If you’re not already part of an online community, here are some places to go looking:
Some Places to Try
Both of these have innumerable teams/guilds for any sort of speciality you can think of. Have a search for people who make the same things as you, or stuff in the same style – or search for a team/guild in your local area.
Crafteroo – a lovely English-based craft forum that I used to hang out in a lot!
Craftster – a great, vibrant craft forum.
That’s it for this week! Next week I’m going to let you in on some of my ‘secret traffic weapons’ – and we’re going to bring everything together, and learn how to use different social media in concert to promote a product launch.