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7 Tips for Building an Online Screen Printing Community

It takes some effort, but once established it could be an amazing asset for your business.

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ONLINE COMMUNITIES, ESPECIALLY Facebook groups, are a great way to increase business or connect with like-minded individuals. Creating a great online community isn’t, however, as simple as setting up a group and adding members. A vibrant and thriving online community takes some thought and effort. The good news is, a well-built community can be an amazing asset for your business. If you’re thinking of creating your own community, here are seven tips for getting started.

1. Know Your Goal or Purpose

A community has to be united around something. It could be a shared occupation, a common goal, or a love of the same activity or entertainment. Keeping your goal in the forefront of your mind will help you develop a community of like-minded people who will enjoy what the community has to offer.

2. Make Rules

The best communities are the ones that know where the boundaries are. Don’t assume that your community members will behave or necessarily know what they should and shouldn’t do. Spell out the rules for behavior and what is and isn’t allowed.

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3. Stick to Them

Rules only work if they’re enforced, so be strict about the ones you set. If you say no bullying and someone is bullying, ban them. If you put a ban on selling and a member is always promoting their seminars, first they get a warning, and then they’re gone. Strictly enforced rules mean the group atmosphere will be as you want it to be, and members who value being in the group are less likely to transgress.

4. Be Active

If you’re the community founder you have to commit to being active in your community. This isn’t a “set it and forget it” kind of thing. If you want your community to thrive, you have to be responsive and motivational.

5. Find Good Moderators and Admins

Some people think being a moderator or admin is a position of power, and they’ll seek to become one for that reason. Avoid those people. The best admins or moderators are people who love the community and want to help make sure it stays a great place for all the members.

6. Bring Value

You can certainly create a community around your customers and sell to them, but to make it worth their while, you have to offer them value beyond the garments or promo products you create. Teach them bits about your process. Show them why one garment is a better choice than others. Help them learn so they can get the most out of what they purchase from you.

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7. Give More Than You Get

Reciprocate. Respond. Let your community members know you value them as people and not just customers. Interact, say thank you, reply to comments, be a presence, and let your community members know their participation matters to you.

Kristine Shreve is the founder and CEO of Kristine Shreve Consulting (kristineshreve.com), the director of marketing and outreach for Applique Getaway, and the creator and host of the Business + Women podcast. Shreve is also the founder of the Women in Garment Direction Group and leads the On My Way to the Getaway Group on Facebook.

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