I get *the most* questions about Etsy Teams and The Forum.
Teams and The Forum are used in two very different ways, but they can both be beneficial for your shop.
Etsy Teams are simply groups of Etsy shop owners with similar interests and/or goals. They are great for networking with others and getting your shop/products viewed. You can search all of the teams based on your personal likes. Maybe you want to get to know other shop owners in your geographical area. Or that have your same religious affiliation. Or that have the same hobbies/interests as you. Maybe you *just* want a team that will help with promoting your items and your shop. You can find ALL of those and more in Etsy Teams.
So. How can Etsy Teams help your shop? Ideally, team members work together to promote each others items. The more you participate in the different discussions or games, the more your shop/items get viewed. Now. I've heard some say that participating in teams could be a waste of time because that time and effort could be spent reaching out to potential customers. Here's my take. First of all, any traffic to your shop is good traffic. You never know who else is participating in those discussions/games/threads in your teams. They may be looking for exactly what you're selling. Secondly, even if people are just visiting your shop playing one of the little promotion games and never buy anything, it's still new traffic visiting your shop. The more computers that visit your shop, the more your shop gets boosted in Etsy. Lastly? Have you noticed people following you or "favoriting" your shop? Every time you favorite/heart an item in another shop - all the people that are following you see what you're hearting. So...everytime somebody else favorites an item in your shop; all of their followers are seeing your items too. And you never know where you may find a potential customer. Again - ANY traffic is GOOD traffic!!
Now. I don't spend a ton of time in teams. I do belong to quite a few of them and I participate when I have a few minutes here and there. When I was nursing a baby I spent a lot of time participating in my teams just because I couldn't do much else. So - spend a bit of time when you can, but don't let it be your sole source of advertising.
The Forum is mainly for asking specific questions Etsy in general, your shop...anything you may need help with. It's also where you'll go if you suspect there's a virus/bug or other issue affecting your shop. There are some rules in the forum...you can't mention specific shops by name (or URL address). It's also not for you to self- promote. **Although Etsy has recently added a Promotions section to the Forum. Just be sure you only share your listings there.**
How can the Forum help your shop? Tons of exposure. Remember? Any traffic is good traffic. And if you're participating in the Forum, you will get new traffic. And potentially lots of it. For example. Last year, I had a question about how to handle an issue with a customer and a specific item in my shop. That one item received over 100 views in a matter of minutes and 500 views or more for that one day. Because it was viewed so many times in one day, it was bumped up in SEO and popped up more frequently in searches where people actually were looking for that specific type of item. So thanks to several hundred Etsy owners looking at my one item, I had trailing "residuals" if you will from that one day for well over a week.
Again, I don't spend much time in the forum. However, if I have a question about something, I don't hesitate to start there first. And, if I have a spare minute or two (usually when I'm on hold with a customer service agent somewhere) I will jump in and read and/or try to comment on a few Forum questions. And it really is a good place to get any specific questions you have answered by other (seasoned) Etsy shop owners.
Bottom line? ANY traffic is GOOD traffic!! Teams and Forum are a great way to get fast and easy traffic. On Wednesday we'll continue discussing promoting and advertising your amazing shop.