Tribe Building: Five Nice Things

Tribe Building with HeartI’ve talked about tribe building before: becoming a part of a group, making a valuable contribution.

I’ve heard a lot of people say that they don’t know how to do that.  That building a tribe is brutal; they’ve got nothing to say, they feel like idiots talking about themselves all the time, and that it’s either a waste of time or a necessary evil (emphasis on “evil.”)

So how do you do build a tribe?

Do five nice things.  Every day.

What do I mean, five nice things?  Well, here are some examples:

  • Make a nice comment on a blog post, and mean it.  It can start with “great post!” but it’s even better if you’re clear about what you liked.  Bloggers love comments.  They love it even more when you actually got the point of their posts… because it’s amazing how few people do.
  • Tell someone you loved the same book they did.
  • Tell an author you loved her book.
  • Compliment someone:  good looking website, great profile pic, funny share.
  • Connect with someone.  They like Dr. Who?  So do you!  Fellow foodie?  Share a recipe.  Somebody with a toddler with teething problems?  Share what worked with your two-year-old, back in the day.
  • Give a helpful suggestion.  You’re connecting with readers.  What do readers want?  They want to know about great books. Don’t suggest yours off the bat.  Really think about what they’ve been interested in.  Make a suggestion tailored to them.
  • Send someone a free story.
  • Re-tweet something when someone asks.
  • Say “thank you” when someone re-tweets you.
  • Send good thoughts, prayers, and condolences.
  • Send congratulations.  Celebrate with others.
  • Share a personal story.  Be authentic, and don’t be afraid to be yourself.
  • Most of all… mean it.  Whichever one of the things you pick, do it because you feel it, not because you want to get something from it.

This is just a start.  Listen.  Help.  Commiserate.  Support.

In a nutshell, it’s just do something nice.

Do five somethings nice.

And mean it.

“So I never mention my book?”

Not ever?  How am I supposed to sell anything?  Isn’t that the point of tribe building?”

It doesn’t mean that you ignore your book.  It does mean that when you do tell others about your book, you believe that it falls into the same category as what you’ve been doing all along.  You tell other people about your book because you feel they’ll be interested.  Because you feel your book is a gift, and that sharing it is a nice thing.

One of your five nice things, in fact.  (But not all of them.)

I can’t say for certain that this will “skyrocket sales.”  You won’t suddenly have a thousand twitter followers.  I can’t guarantee the NYT bestseller list or anything.

But you probably won’t ever say “God, I hate doing this” and “I have nothing to say.”


15 Replies to “Tribe Building: Five Nice Things”

  1. Good specifics, great outlook. Love the last line. And it actually does feel great contributing. Shannon’s right, five a day sounds so doable. Thanks, Cathy!

  2. Really great points, Cathy. When we put our attention on others, it makes them feel good and makes us much less self-conscious. When they feel good, we feel good, too – and there’s almost always something to say, when you’re celebrating other people.

    Thanks so much for the reminder!

  3. Well darn. I had a great comment, and it got lost in cyber space.

    What I wanted to say was, when you put your focus on the other person, it’s always easier to talk or respond or celebrate, than it is when it’s always “me, me, me”.

    I learned that when I was a shy teenager. My dad just told me to ask about the other person – something, anything, and be nice about it. That it will get the conversational ball rolling.

    I still follow that advice to this day!

  4. Hi, Cathy,

    Thanks for an excellent post. It also helps to remember that building a tribe doesn’t happen overnight, but rather, one individual at a time.

    If you’ve made contact with one new person in a day, you’re making progress!


  5. Great post! I especially liked the list of examples – it gives me things to think about for the next time I want to connect and comment on something but feel a little too “tongue-tied” to do so. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Wonderful post! When it comes to face-to-face “networking,” I’ve never felt comfortable with the schmoozing I see other people do. Over the years, I’ve just shown up, sometimes blending into the wallpaper, and been myself when I met people I liked. I’ve found that although it’s a much slower way of meeting people, it builds a true community of friends rather than people just scratching each other’s backs. It sounds like that is just what you’re recommending for online communities. I like it!

  7. Visiting from WU for the first time and very glad I have – valuable information for the future in some respects but otherwise, I agree whole heartedly. Only one queries – how would you know if someone retweeted [and therefore be able to thank them]?

    I would just add one thought, since these are pretty much the principles we apply to real life [minus the technical bits] doesn’t it only make sense to apply them to on-line life too?

    1. Maddy,

      Hi! Glad you stopped by. 🙂

      To find out if someone re-tweeted you, on your Twitter page, click on Your Tweets. Then each tweet should have a little > in a circle to the right of whatever you wrote. Click on that, and it will show you who retweeted your tweet. Hope that helps!

      And I agree — these seem like common sense. Hopefully others will agree!

  8. I like the simplicity of your suggestion for tribe building. The specific examples are a great starting place for us new to the game. Five is do-able and the potential good karma is unlimited.

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