A Great Example Of An Online Community

October 26, 2010Comments Off

I’ve been given a book about the threadless online community to review.

Yes, a book about an online community. It's worth reading. It tells the story of a community of designers that morphed far beyond it's original concept. 

Threadless is one of the best online communities on the planet. Your community will never be this busy. It wasn’t started by a brand, but now turns over $10m per year.

Here are some awesome lessons:

  1. Community first, money later. If you focus solely on having an awesome community, monetization opportunities will follow. Threadless sells t-shirts, amongst other things, to members they know will buy them. What will your members buy?
  2. Find a strong reason for members to interact. Every community needs a strong reason for members to interact. Threadless has a constant input of fresh designs to rate and discuss. Members need to have a reason to contribute and reflect on the contributions of other members.
  3. Only build a community around something members care a lot about. Washing machines don’t cut the mustard, no-one has a self-concept that strongly involves your brand’s washing machines. But being a designer is another story.
  4. Just be completely awesome. You need to focus entirely on doing awesome things in your community. Really, really, awesome things. Threadless hired a van to drive across the country and visit members. Threadless has annual awards with cash prizes.
  5. Hold members' events. Host regular gatherings where members can come and meet everyone. People will fly to be there if they’re passionate enough about the community.
  6. Reach out to potential partnerships. Threadless builds amazing partnerships with awesome companies that benefits the community.
  7. Help members get to where they want to be in life. Threadless helps members becomes designers and constantly looks for new opportunities to promote their work. 80 members were asked to design the cover of the book.

If you’re looking for an amazing success story to follow. Buy the Threadless book.

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