I often write about the concept of tribes. You might call it a community. I like the term tribe better because it brings an image in my mind of a group of people moving in a particular direction.
A question that you might have, and I did have before thinking about this, is what makes for a great tribe? I’ve come up with three areas that help create and move a tribe in a particular direction.
Start with content.
You might guess that I have a bias towards written content. To build a tribe you don’t need to do it in a written manner, but you do need to have some content. Your content could be through writing, video, podcasts, or just face-to-face communication.
I think the key is to have content that can be viewed later. I find that many people who join groups that I lead come back and download information over and over. They often want to be able to share things we’ve created. This can only happen when you have content that can be consumed today as well as tomorrow.
Think about the marketplace the tribe is interested in.
You need to be mindful about what your tribe is interested in. For example, I’ve finally come to the conclusion that my tribe is interested in succession and transition planning. I used to do everything in my power to pretend that there are other reasons that people want to work with me.
The reality is anyone who hangs around with me online is likely to be most interested in getting ready for a transition. My job is to help those who join my group manage change. Most of the time that change is around either leaving a business or changing your relationship to a business. It’s what I do well and what people have come to value when they deal with me.
What kind of community do you want to have?
This is a big one. Do you want your community to provide business for you and only you? Or, as in my case, I’m interested in becoming a thought leader in my community as well.
If you just want to get business from your tribe you’re not likely to build a tribe that’s very sticky. It won’t take long for those you’re trying to attract to realize that you have an interest that only benefits you.
Instead, think about putting together a tribe where you contribute your knowledge freely. You’ll get plenty of business from those who really need what it is you do. I can promise you that you won’t have to worry about being taken advantage of. The vast majority will appreciate your knowledge and help others learn about you. The more you share, the more others will share what you do.
Why do you want to care about what a tribe is?
This is the most important question. If you’ve gotten this far in the post you likely want to know why this is important. For me, it’s all about trust. The more I can build trust with others, the better my relationships are.
I want others to know me for who I am. I’m sort of gruff, but at the same time I’m curious and do want to make the world of private business owners a better place. You might even call me a curmudgeon. I’ve learned a few things along the way and am glad to share them.
Those who are interested in succession and transition planning and are coachable will spend time in my tribe. It might be for a few days or it might be for many years. As long as I’m providing value they stick around.
The same is true for you. The more value you provide the longer and more loyal your tribe will become. Reduce your self-interest and you’ll build trust. As you build trust your tribe will want to help you become successful. It’s just the way it is.
Part of what helps people know whether they want to join our tribe is to understand how we work. I’ve written a whitepaper on a process I call The Objective Review. This is how we learn about you and you learn about us. If you’re interested in reading more about this process, click on the button below.