The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Personal Tribe

Big or small, your business needs loyal customers to survive and thrive.

Not only are repeat customers easier to sell to, but they are also more likely to shop with you again and again. Research shows that there is a 54% chance of a customer returning to your store after their third purchase!

That means when growing your business, you should be focusing some of your efforts on building a unique group of followers. Followers who trust your company, your cause and what you offer.Seth Godin calls this group your ‘tribe’.

Taking the time and effort to cultivate your ideal tribe may seem like a time consuming and arduous process, but it is a long term strategy that will pay off ten fold down the line. We all want results NOW, not at some point in the future. But patience is key to building a quality following.

When you a build a tribe of followers that trust and follow your brand, customers effectively become your sales team, using word of mouth to advertise your business to their family and friends.

The good news is technology has made it easier than ever to find and connect with your tribe, so here are 22 strategies that you can use today to find and grow your ideal tribe.

1. Brainstorm who your ideal follower is BEFORE you market to them.

Instead of taking a shotgun approach and blasting your message to anybody and everybody who will listen to you, it is important to set some time aside to figure out who your ideal audience is.

Your ideal audience will not only be more receptive and responsive to your message, but they are more likely to introduce their friends and circle of influence into your tribe.

If your having trouble figuring out who your ideal audience is, here are a few tips that can help:

– Do some competitor research — Go to your competitors’ sites and read the comments on their blogs. See what people are asking, expressing and saying.

– Search keywords and follow key influencers in your niche. If they have a big audience, chances your ideal customer will be replying and commenting on their posts.

– Go on forums related to your industry and see what people are talking about.

2. Calibrate your message based on your audience.

It’s a good idea to figure what type of material your audience best responds to when communicating with them. Some people are more receptive to audio or video content -(podcasts, webinars, youtube), while others might enjoy reading informative blog posts. If you run a jewellery or clothing business for instance, Instagram would be a much better way of showing off what you have to offer over a long form blog post.

The best way to figure out what your tribe prefers is to test out what works best. See which medium they respond to best, and keep doing more of the same.

3. Start a facebook group. (And Be active in it.)

Building a forum or group around people that share a common interest is a great way establishing yourself as the leader of a tribe. When you set up an online community of likeminded people, you instantly gain a level of trust within a group of followers that are responsive to your brand and message.

If you decide to go take this route, be selective about who you invite in. Too many people and your tribe won’t feel special or welcome in the group. Also make sure you stay engaged with your followers, it is up to you to keep the discussions active. A good tactic is to ask open ended questions and see what your followers are working on at any given time.

4. Get off your freaking laptop!

The internet is awesome and all, but sometimes you need to go offline and connect with ‘real’ human beings. Join a meetup, or other local events and connect with people that resonate with your brand and what your message is all about.

When you meet people face to face, there is an added level of trust and people are more likely to remember you and your company down the line.

If you can’t find an event that fits what you do, take the initiative and host one. Hosting a meetup might sound daunting, but as this buffer post shows, it’s simpler than you think.

5. Engage with your tribe

You should always be engaging with your followers, listening to what they say and responding accordingly. Make them see that you are genuinely interested in building a relationship with them.

A great example of customer engagement comes from online retailer ASOS, who got into an Eminem rap battle on their Facebook page with an annoyed customer, Jay Whalley.

Jay wasn’t too happy with a delivery delay, and decided to voice his complaint in the form of a verse from the Eminem song ‘Stan’.

Instead of penning a generic and boring reply to the reply, ASOS upped the ante and responded like this –

That’s an example of great customer engagement, turning a potential negative situation into a positive one.

6. Develop a brand that is memorable.

Instead of building a store/company/service, aim to build a brand. Having an authentic story behind your business and a goal you’re passionate about is one of the key ingredients to creating a brand customers fall in love with.

Cards against humanity is a great example of a memorable brand. On their website, Cards against humanity explains they are “a party game for horrible people. Unlike most of the party games you’ve played before, Cards Against Humanity is as despicable and awkward as you and your friends.” Even though their brand positioning flat out insults their audience, it makes them smile and works perfectly for their intended tribe.

7. Be contrarian.

This isn’t for everyone, but you can gain a lot of attention by taking a contrarian view to popular/intended topics. People are attracted to those who aren’t afraid to speak their mind, and its possible to gain like minded followers who are drawn to your outspokenness. Just make sure you you actually believe in what you’re saying, or else you might set off some BS detectors.

Scott Adams of Dilbert fame is great example of someone who has built a tribe based off his rather unique way of looking at situations and events in his blog posts.

8. Less is more.

While brand popularity is important, having a huge number of followers and people that visit your site shouldn’t be the end goal. When building your tribe always focus on quality over quantity.

Website traffic counts only if it converts to profit. Page clicks that don’t lead to a purchase are a lost investment in marketing resources, so aim to draw in customers that are a good fit for your brand rather than broadly targeting everyone.

You can judge the quality of your followers by how often they reply back when you engage with them. If the majority of people are replying to your emails, you are in a very good place.

9. Become a Redditor.

The Reddit community is a fascinating place with lots of people that could potentially be part of your tribe. The beauty of Reddit is that there are thousands of subreddits, (which are basically niche forums with their own rules, moderators and voting systems) that allow you to specifically target a group of people that are already interested in your specific niche. You sell hats made for dogs? There’s a subreddit for that!

Get assimilated by reading past posts, and post something insightful to become part of the community.

10. Give away free stuff

Sometimes you have to give some, to get some. So don’t forget to throw occasional giveaways or extra perks towards loyal customers. Whether it’s 50% off the second product, a free monthly subscription, or a gift, your followers will appreciate getting a little something extra.

Free stuff could also come in the form of educational material, where you give value to your tribe by helping them solve thier unique problems.

11. Meet Their Needs

When your audience have a memorable experience on your site, they usually remember to return for more. But what will really stick in their minds is how you deal with their problems or even how proactive you are in foreseeing one.

Connect with your tribe often and openly ask what problems they are currently facing. Their answers can go a long way in crafting your marketing strategy.

Zappos is an example of a hugely successful brand that has built their business with service as their no.1 priority. Here are some of the lengths their customer service team has gone through to make their customers happy.

12. Back a cause or movement.

Create a consistent identity that shows what your store stands for and how customers can help by making a purchase. If people feel good about associating with your brand, they’ll not only keep coming back but spread the word too.

TOMS started their One for One movement. With each purchase the company helps a person in need, be it giving a free pair of shoes, improved access to water or providing safe birth.

Kutoa, a brand of healthy bars, has a similar cause. For every purchased bar, it pledges to feed a child in need.

13. Break bread with your ‘enemies’.

Partnering up with stores/businesses in a similar or complementing niche is a great way to amplify your message. Cross promotions are a win-win situation, so don’t be afraid to reach out to potential competitors.

Make sure you craft your pitch in a way that highlights the mutual benefits to both sides. Start small by showing support for the other store, and offering to share their content. Helping them in their journey will earn you karma points and expose you to whole new audience.

Search engines and social media might not always lead ‘your people’ to you. But you never know, your next follower might be subscribed to the newsletter of one store, follow the blog and Twitter account of another store, and regularly use the website/app of a third store.

Ghostly and Warby Parker’s collaboration of 2015 mutually introduced followers of each other’s brand and created a great product to connect both stores. It is a great example of competing stores creating a mutually beneficial situation for each other.

14. Be consistent

Your tribe expect high quality from you, so don’t let them down. Whether it’s social networks, blogging, email, or other means of communication, your followers count on you to come through with actionable content.

If you have advertise a blog post published every Monday, make sure you deliver a blog post every Monday! Your followers will thank you for it.

15. Don’t get hung up on vanity metrics.

So many Facebook likes, retweets, page views! These metrics can often give business owners a distorted view of how well their marketing efforts are going.

If your followers aren’t buying from you, it doesn’t matter how large your tribe is.

A good way to look at it — would you rather have 50% of 1000 loyal followers regularly purchase from you, or 1–2% of 10,000 followers that may or may not be interested in your brand.

You should always prioritize analytics like your bounce rate and lead to conversion ratio over page views and overall social media ‘likes’.

16. Don’t leave your tribe in the dark.

Ongoing communication inspires loyalty. Customers hate to be ignored or left in the dark. Always monitor to see if your followers are happy with your product and services. You’re not just lose a disgruntled customer, you’re losing him/her and their circle of friends.

A good example of a brand staying active with it’s Twitter followers –

17. Ask questions.

Asking the right questions shows you care about your followers’s opinion. Ask your tribe what you can do to serve them better. It is also a great way to drive activity on your social media feeds.

A good tip from Derek Halpern (http://socialtriggers.com/) is to ask your followers ‘What are they struggling with today?’ Their answers will give you a better idea of what you can do to serve them better, and help you come up with potential product/service ideas.

18. Post at the right time.

Before you post content to social media networks, keep in mind your audience’s timezone and what time they usually check on their social media feeds.

Usually, it is not a good idea to post content at night, because by the time people get a chance to look at it in the morning, your post gets buried in followers’ feeds. A good way of combatting this is using a social media management platform to schedule your posts at the perfect time.

agora pulse is an all in one service that offers lots of helpful features to make sure your posts gets seen by your ideal audience. Not only can you monitor and analyse your feeds to better understand your audience, but you can use their scheduling feature to make sure your content goes out at the perfect time every day.

19. Stay in Touch

Communication is key, but make sure to be authentic. Find ways to stay fresh in your customers’ memory, while keeping your message relevant and to the point.

Email marketing shouldn’t just be related to promotions, sales and discounts. It’s a chance to get creative offering a solution to potential customer problems. You can also use it to highlight brand related events , share progress towards an upcoming goal or just to show appreciation towards loyal customers.

Here are some great email marketing campaigns of brands that connected with their audience in a special way.

20. Create a support team.

When your tribe gets big, it might be hard to connect with your audience in a meaningful way. Create a well trained support team to continue connect with your tribe and keep the dialogue alive.

Creating SOPs (statement of procedures) are a great way of training staff to follow your vision without micromanaging. Document your customer service activities in detail and share it with your team.

21. Don’t be a robot.

It’s easy to sit behind a computer and robotically email people scripts, but the key to cultivating a loyal tribe is to be as genuine and helpful as possible. Actually show you care about your followers.

Respect begets respect. Generosity is reciprocated. Being helpful gets you noticed.CLICK TO TWEET

22. Have fun.

Finally, have fun with your tribe! They follow you because they enjoy your product and brand, so enjoy connecting with them, and make the most out of every interaction.