So Now You Have a Tribe

How to engage your audience

Maybe your friend gave you an invitation to join Google+ before it was available publicly. Maybe you joined a few weeks ago and have been posting some very intriguing content. Either way, if you have had a lot of people “circling” you in the past few weeks or months then you are on your way to building a tribe.

What exactly is a tribe and why do I want one?

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a tribe as: a social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

Let’s dissect this. First of all, in your tribe, you are probably the leader. In social media the purpose is to market a brand and promote that brand through successful interaction with your audience. In most cases, for us, you are the brand. The slice of the audience that is consistently reading and interacting with your content makes up your tribe.

Now, just in any socio-organization, it is important to remember certain members of your tribe, or organization. In the case of social media, and Google+ specifically, you probably have a few followers that consistently comment and re-share your posts. This is very desirable behavior for building your brand. Whether you are trying to educate your followers, market a product or make a point, having your words, photos and videos shared with people outside of your audience is a great compliment to your work.

Keep in mind that the people sharing your content are therein endorsing your content. I don’t know about you, but there are a lot of products out there that I wouldn’t feel comfortable endorsing. That tells me that the people that re-share my content have a firm belief that they stand by what I am saying, feel interested or compelled to share it with their followers. This is a conscious decision they are making.

How do you reward the important members of your tribe?

Maybe it’s a +mention, re-sharing some of their content, or interacting with their posts. Whatever it is you do, it is very important to recognize the people that have helped you build your brand and promote your content. Do you have a small project you can include them in? Are their opportunities for them to work within your brand? No matter how small, or how big, anyone that is active in engaging your content will surely be pleased by your recognition for their doing so.

In order to build a tribe, the leader of that tribe must have followers that respect him or her and members of the tribe that support that leader by engaging others. So, if you want to continue building your tribe, make sure you are offering compelling and relevant content (“I just flossed my teeth” could be considered informative, but unless you have a following of dental hygienists, you might not be reaching your audience effectively).

As you watch your tribe grow, make sure that you are actively engaging them, participating in their content and sharing their successes as well. If you stand on a soap box and keep yelling without paying attention to the questions being asked, the comments being made or recognizing the people sharing your message, you will betray your tribe and watch your following drop. The numbers may not disappear, but the engagement will slowly fade away.

What are you doing to build your tribe? What are you doing to celebrate the people sharing your content? How do you approach your most consistent content engagers? Do you have a plan?

Share your comments below and feel free to re-share this post with as many as you would like!

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