Has anyone ever told you that Your Soulmate is out there, your better half? This is much MUCH easier to believe and digest (AND I come bearing evidence) : Your brand, your company offering already has a Tribe. You just haven't found each other yet. Less than 10 months prior to me writing this post (yes, during covid)-- my team and I created a tribe of influencers who between them had 3M followers. This energy-- this collective passion-- was corralled before a product was there for ANYONE to buy. They bought into the ethos of being part of a community-- A tribe. Time to learn. Here’s the learning…
You have a tribe out there waiting to pick up what you’re laying down.
You need to know why you want to talk to THEM and how to do it.
Digital Origami – A Neo-Traditional Example
Come with me on a journey, if you will. Let's talk about The Company "Digital Origami" Digital Origami is an all-in-one resource for e-commerce store. It creates bespoke templates for startups of a similar adventuresome mindset to its founders. Apollo, its founding member, needs a tribe who sees value in a marketing system as pliant as paper, but which still requires participation of its user to turn it into a truly human digital presence of its store. Apollo, like the savvy-minded businessperson, has no interest in spending more on his tribe-building than prudence allows.
Why define your tribe?
Creating a profile for his tribe makes Apollo fully armed with the best tools to find his most loyal customers, partners, and clients.
What is a Tribe?
Your tribe is potential customers, clients, partners, who share values with you or your company. If you find a shared value-base, you’ve found the people who will want to be part of your story.
Your tribe will likely share certain characteristics, such as:
They may fall into similar:
Household income levels
Occupations or areas of business
Education (eh, maybe)
Locations or residential choices (urban, small town, rural, etc.)
They’ll gravitate to similar hobbies, types of entertainment, places of adventure.
They’ll pop their heads into similar haunts, on- or offline. They may like similar sports or touch other tribes. (Lots of people already belong to other tribes, and that’s all to the good. Get in with influencers in tribes overlapping yours, if you can.)
Your Tribe and Your Audience
Your tribe is the people who share values with you who are also sharing your story. That’s the ideal. There are people out there who share your values who aren’t as in with your story, though. Maybe this secondary tribe just hasn’t gotten to know you yet. Maybe they like you, but they’re not ready to buy in. It’s all cool. Just be aware of them.
Talk to your tribe. Focus your messaging on them. They’re most invested in your story and most happy to go on adventures with you.
Your Audience – Extended Tribe
A lot of people out there share values with you and your tribe, but they haven’t got in with your story yet for whatever reason. They’re cool too in their own rite. They might someday be part of your tribe. In the meantime, it’s most valuable to talk in ways your extended tribe understands, but don’t worry about them too much. Except when you’re doing a big marketing push to expand your tribe, your extended tribe isn’t worth a lot of marketing dollars. These are the people who’ll drop a like on your videos but won’t buy your product.
Defining Digital Origami’s Tribe
Time to find Digital Origami’s tribe.
Startups who need a bespoke e-commerce, digital marketing presence.
Apollo understands that attention is currency, and that startups are dealing with hundreds of people offering to help them with their marketing on the cheap. Apollo needs to position himself as the guy who can give startups the power and freedom of managing their own marketing with his support and coaching.
Let's talk about you for a minute: This is essentially, your buyers. OR, your Almost Buyers. These are not "Likers". The Tribe has liked what you said and each has 'put their money where their mouth is'
OR they have told someone (your actual Buyer, say their mom, or best friend) ---they have told THEM black-and-blue that YOU rock.
Sometimes your tribe will pretty much hang onto your every word (or blog). Do you know how to keep them engaged? To keep them talking you up?
Anyone interested in selling and marketing online, like people who already have e-commerce shops and might be dissatisfied.
Apollo knows these people are out there. This extended tribe has values in common with Digital Origami. They’re already doing business on the internet. Since they already have their digital marketing and online shop in place, they aren’t necessarily worth Apollo’s time to speak to directly. Apollo would do well to make Digital Origami attractive to this group, though, because they might want to work with him someday.
These are folks subscribed to you, perhaps. Those who like your words so much they even download your eBooks ...or listen to your podcasts and cat rants. You are GONNA want to keep tabs on these in your "extended tribe". When they grow up, they want to be Your Tribe., but aren't quite there yet. Hmmmmm. Why is that?
Further Extended Tribe
Or people considering their next career move who haven’t committed yet.
Apollo knows that being an employee in another pantheon, as it were, isn’t for everyone. He ought to know. He used to work for a big corporation himself. While it isn’t a good use of energy to go after already employed people actively, it will be useful for Apollo to think of people who might become online sellers someday.
Aaaaah The Likers. The LOVE HEART folks. They love your Instagram posts. They like your words, and occasionally comment on your carefully crafted heartfelt posts. Hate to break this to you: You must never NEVER delude yourself into thinking that THESE folks are Your Tribe. Nope. Not yet. (Scroll up - See Tribe**)
Take Apollo and his Digital Origami aside...what do you genuinely know of your tribe, your extended tribe and your Further Extended Tribe? Imagine these as funnels of discovery...each one getting closer and closer to discovering the heart of what YOU do.
One fatal error businesses make today is BELIEVING in Instagram Likes. That Followers = The Tribe In many industries, this isn't necessarily so. It's important to know the difference in order to invest the right amount of energy into the tribe peeps who will be part of your brand story. This is not a transactional statement. It is, however, a cautionary quip from years of hands-on experience with businesses who regard their Instagram followers as "buyers".
...You may already have an inkling. Focus on speaking to your tribe. Ask questions. Engage with their answers. Find your values. Speak from a foundation of those values. People with the same values will join you, because they want to be part of your story.
Not sure where to start? Ask me anything.
ATHENA Ed.Note: Book The Content Machine - with three interactive workshops that will take you through Digital Sushi 101 - Digital Marketing in Bite-sized pieces, Building your Content Machine...AND your tribe. Two Workshop partners - Kristina Marie & Oliver Blakemore.