You may have heard your book publicist or another marketing guru talk about the importance of building a “tribe.” This doesn’t mean traveling to a secluded island and recruiting a selection of indigenous craftsman to start a new culture. A tribe is a devoted group of followers, people who believe in your idea, values, and message and who participate in a community with other followers and evangelize your efforts as an author.
Why do you want a tribe? Because they are your consumers, advertisers, research and development team, and marketers all rolled into one. They help you grow your brand, hone your message, and create an ongoing relationship of service and value—not to mention that it is direct purchases from this group and their referrals that drive the majority of your sales, both of your book and of any other services you offer.
So, now you know what a tribe is and why you need one. But how do you get one? Start by doing the following:
- Provide value: People don’t follow self-serving rhetoric or empty ideas. They follow trusted advisors, information sources, and value-based ideas they can believe in. Build on the ideas in your book and your message as an author, and grow your value by continually providing your readers with tools and information they need.
- Provide community: Tribes thrive on community. So, establish forums, blogs, and other ways in which followers can interact with you and each other. Start conversations based on topics in your book, and even gather new ideas for follow-up books and seminars.
- Provide content: People are always looking for what’s in it for them. Provide free information, resources, and tips to help them improve their lives, and people will follow you. This content could be a repackaging of material from your book, but it should also at times go beyond what you’ve already written. With every post, interaction, and article, give your readers something they can really sink their teeth into.
- Tell people about it: It doesn’t do any good to lay the groundwork for your tribe and then never promote it. Get involved in social media, networking groups related to your industry, nonprofits, and communities both online and off. Mention your efforts, share free resources, and entice people to connect with you and your tribe.
Building a tribe takes time, so be patient. Above all, building a tribe means sticking to a clear and consistent message and continually providing value, without asking for anything in return. It will pay off in the end, not only in terms of followers, but also in terms of book sales.
Here are also some additional resources to help you with your tribe-building efforts:
Trust Agents by Chris Brogan
Tribes by Seth Godin