This is a question I was just asked by a social marketer working with Trollbeads. This was after he realized I didn’t really want to talk about Facebook, Twitter or my Pinterest page. I work with those social sites but I only wanted to talk about the forum. There’s a big international Trollbeads event next month and I was asked to speak to him. He will be talking to the Trollbeads distributors from around the world and to the U.S. dealers during this event and he wanted to talk to some dealers about their efforts. Thinking about the answer brought me to thinking about how it started and why I knew the Trollbeads collectors wanted and really needed the forum. I had Trollbeads Gallery, my Trollbead website for more than 3 years and I was overwhelmed communicating with collectors directly and trying to help them with information through emails and on the phone. For the sake of being more effective it seemed a better way had to be out there. I needed to find a platform on the internet where everyone could meet and discuss the passion they so obviously wanted to share. It had to be a give and share situation for all of us. Sharing photos was definitely a tool it had to have. It took a little research to find Ning and it seemed like a good fit. I developed the account and worked on the design and declared it open. The first day we had our first small group of members and we were off and running. By the end of the first year we had 1000 members, end of two years 2000 members and now we have reached our third year at 3000 members. The Forum is unique in that I'm a dealer and though I promote my own website I also remind my members to seek out their local dealers as well. My store is in a small town and I know the importance of doing business locally. I remember a comment made on a blog in Europe negatively saying I was “self-promoting” … well I should hope so(!) as I am in business and for this to succeed I need to have it work out financially and I let people know I am a dealer. The cost of keeping this forum is more than $1000.00 out of pocket each year and if we all still want it to keep going promoting my site important.
Watching over the Trollbeads Gallery Forum from a dealer’s point of view has me acting as manager but I still feel a part of the forum's family. I don’t count the hours spent monitoring the site because in the process I have met hundreds of Troll friends from all over the world and I wouldn’t give it up for anything. When you have a passion to collect you need to trust the people involved in what you collect. Being an authorized dealer brings with it trust as our legal agreements with Trollbeads assures it and my reputation promises it. My position has been to keep information correct, to the best of my knowledge and to provide a supportive and positive place for collectors to gather.
To make the Forum's description less one sided I have asked a few of our members to give a brief comment from their point of view. I have only included where they are from and have omitted their names for privacy reasons. I will be including more in the next blog.
Wyoming: "The forum has been a great place to make friends who share my passion for Trollbeads. Everyone is upbeat and encouraging. There is none of the negativity that I have found on other foums. I send my Trollbeads customers to the forum so that they can connect with other Trollies around the world. We are one big family!"
New York: "This forum is important in reminding me that there are other people besides me who go gaga for little pieces of glass - that they're more than glass, but art! It's a little slice of heaven. I love being in such good company! I enjoy going to the forum to see all the wonderful creations of others and get some inspiration for my own!"
England: "I love this forum because it is a warm and friendly place, where many interesting things can be discussed. Louise has a very light hand on the helm, enabling a true freedom of expression I have not found on other forums. The member's pictures are a constant inspiration to me. There are a number of groups available to join, and the chatroom feature is unique to this forum, a brilliant place to be.
Pennsylvania:Trollbeads Gallery Forum gives me a chance to make new friends from all over the world. I love sharing ideas & photos with people who love Trollbeads as much as I do and speak "Trolleese". Having secret partner gift exchanges is a blast, too. I also love Trollbeads Fest--where you can meet and party with friends from the forum. There are also talented artists and designers from Trollbeads. It's a weekend of "Troll Bliss" hosted by Louise and her staff in a beautiful seaport town.
Tennessee: I live in an area where the closest TB shop is over an hour away and though it's nice, it's a small shop with not a huge selection or knowledgeable sales people so my TB education has been solely here on this Forum. I came to TBGallery Forum because I was captivated by the beautiful Trollbeads, but it wasn't long before I was captivated by the Forum members themselves who are such a great group of interesting, kind, fun and creative people and some have become my friends in the truest sense of the word. This Forum means a lot to me....it's a unique place I can escape to where I can lose myself completely among the photos and share my thoughts with friends with whom I share a number of interests.
The photo above came from the photographs our members have shared on the Forum. There are over 18,000 photos to be inspired by.
To join us go to Trollbeads Gallery Forum !