How to Build a Tribe
Everyone in business will tell you the same thing. You have to have a list. You have to have a tribe, a following. And it’s true. But one major rider applies here. There are tribes and there are tribes.
If you don’t have a list or a tribe you are sunk. If you do have a list which is stale or worse then you’re in the same boat as the entrepreneur who has no list. Yes you want a tribe but its members must be lively, interested and raring to go. No matter what you manufacture, service or sell, building a tribe will enhance the success of your operation.
With the digital world and social media dominating almost every aspect of life today - not just in business - it has never been so important, so relevant and so easy to build and maintain a list. No, that’s not quite right. The word easy is perhaps misleading.
Yes there are ways to build a tribe and ways to keep it but it will take some time. You will need to work at it. And when you do work at it the right way, the benefits can be amazing. You have so much to gain once you build a vibrant tribe.
What is a Tribe?
They are you followers! They are people who want to associate with you. They like the way you do business, they like your actual business, the way you think, your goals or some or all of these.
You can put your followers in categories such as where you found them or how they found you or any other boxes or groups but you must always treat every one of your followers with respect and the same amount of respect.
Don’t prejudge potential tribe members. Be prepared to accept followers from various walks of life and not just the obvious places. With the right promotion you’ll be surprised just where followers can be found.
Remember that because you are unique, your tribe too will be just like that. There is or will be no other tribe in the world quite like your tribe. Take pride in this fact. Enjoy the fact that a group of people have chosen to hook up with your plans, ideals and business.
There are three facts which apply to every tribe.
- The members are connected to a theme or idea.
- The members are connected to you the leader.
- The members are connected to one another.
If even one of the above aspects is missing you either don’t have a tribe or you have a tribe which doesn’t work.
Having people join your tribe because of you is good. Having people join your tribe because of what you do or stand for is better. Of course to make your tribe really work you must know exactly what you stand for.
There are countless people out there in the next street, state, country and hemisphere waiting to join your tribe. It’s your job to tell the world about your idea, your vision and thus your tribe. Get talking.
How to Build a Tribe
Forget numbers and robots. People join a tribe. As the leader of the tribe you too must be a person. Never consider tribe members as numbers in a file or on a list. They are human and so too are you.
Come across as a person. Make yourself as human as possible. You might run a successful business with its own logo, mission statement and goods and services.
But people prefer to join a tribe when the head honcho is just like them. Or rather they love the type of person you are and want to associate with you.
How to show you’re a person
Be available and be accessible. Nothing impresses a follower more than being able to make contact with the leader. If there is a wall of juniors between you and the followers they won’t be happy campers. And we’ve already discussed how stale or lifeless tribe members are not good news.
Reveal yourself. Let tribe members discover things about you. What are your hobbies and goals? What anecdotes can you reveal on your blog or web site which reveals your character? Tell people about your failures as well as your success stories.
The way to get followers is to be open. When you are open to people, they will respond in kind. They will be open with you. That sort of follower is verging on the terrific. They want to support you. They want your help. That type of follower is part of a fabulous tribe.
How to Grow and Refresh your Tribe
Make life easy for your followers. We already know it’s important that followers can or believe they can discover the real you and be able to contact you.
Now this same principle applies within the tribe. When followers discover they can share things with their fellow travellers it makes them happier. They are happy to belong. They can communicate not just with you but also their peers.
This is the snowball rolling downhill. Good news spreads. Things get bigger and better. The happier followers become the more they participate in the activities of the tribe. Then they tell their friends or colleagues who are not followers and all of a sudden you have the magical word-of-mouth promotion. You get more followers.
This type of promotion is free and when someone you respect or like or admire tells you that being in their tribe is just the best thing since sliced bread, and then you suddenly have all these unpaid but highly effective sales people out there working for you and your business.
Remember that having a million followers who have limited or little energy about being a follower is worse than having only 100 excited and energetic followers. Win them to your tribe but once inside the tent, keep them there and make them happy.
It is better to give than receive
Discover new ways to encourage, excite and reward your followers. Be generous. Make membership of your tribe a truly memorable experience. By adopting an attitude of helping rather than taking, you develop loyalty within your tribe. They see how you genuinely want to help others.
They respond to this attitude in different ways. They become strongly supportive of you and your business. This is always beneficial and especially so if things go badly for you at any stage. You gain their trust which is priceless. By helping your tribe you are helping yourself.
Be passionate. The opposite doesn’t bear thinking about. If you love your work, your business, your project, then that love and passion is catching. It rubs off on your followers.
With a caring and charismatic tribe you’ll make friends and enjoy friendships which last a lifetime. And on top of all of these wonderful benefits, you’ll get to turn your dream, your hobby into your career and livelihood.