Published on June 6th, 2016
Everyone wants to belong.
It is human nature to want to find a group of people you just click with; to find your tribe, so to speak, and in modern marketing, this need can be an invaluable asset to growing a business and loyal fanbase.
What is a Tribe, exactly?
Out of all the best-selling books Seth Godin has written, Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us, is one of the clear fan favorites.
According to Godin, a tribe is a group of people who are connected to:
- Each other
- A leader
- An idea
Tribesmen follow the same culture, the same beliefs. In business, they not only buy and use your products, but spread the word, and help grow your business.
A great example of this is the tribe of Apple.
Apple employees and owners of iPhones, Macbooks, and iPads connect with each other as users of the company's products, follow and enjoy the insights of the late Steve Jobs, and for the most part, buy into the idea that Mac products are the pinnacle of technological performance.
This mindset is the framework for Godin’s discussion in Tribes and throughout the book, he encourages you to not only find your tribe, but step up, and lead it.
In this book summary, I’ll share some of his biggest takeaways from Godin’s Tribes and explain how you can apply them to your brand to grow an audience of loyal customers, employees, and followers through content.
Forming Tribes is Human Nature (and Now Easier Than Ever.)
For as long as we know of, humans have gathered and lived in tribes, but in the past, they were mostly location-dependent.
Thanks to the internet, location is no longer a limit.
It’s easier than ever for new tribes to form, communicate, and thrive. Not only that, but it is also easier for most people to be a part of many tribes because they are so much more accessible.
You might belong to several tribes that are bonded by:
- Political beliefs
- Local community involvement
- Professional goals
These tribes can be big or small, as long as they have one central focus and the most successful tribes have passionate leaders who put the interests of the tribe ahead of their own.
As another example, think of HubSpot customers, employees, and partners. We all connect with each other as users of the software, enjoy the insights of HubSpot founders, Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah, and believe that inbound marketing can help rid the world of outbound spam.
Four forms of tribal communication:
- Leader to tribe
- Tribe to leader
- Tribe member to tribe member
- Tribe member to outsider
In every tribe, each member can contribute to leadership through a common method or outlet of communication.
I mean, you already have the same interests and passions – why not step up and share your passion with others?
Some of the easiest ways to do this is through blogging for business and participating in online communities. By sharing your thoughts and opinions with your tribe, you help establish yourself as a leader, a “visionary” even. You don’t have to have all the answers initially; merely presenting a new or unique idea can help you start a movement.
The Greatest Tribes are Formed Voluntarily.
To start a movement, you don’t need to force others to join your tribe. (Frankly, it’s more likely to work against you if you try.)
To lead, you simply need to offer people value; a better way of life, an easier means to a goal. Acting like a tyrannical king or queen goes against the very essence of what brings many tribes together in the first place – challenging the status quo - so don’t be forceful, be helpful.
That’s ultimately the guiding principle of inbound marketing, isn’t it?
According to Godin, tribal membership should be voluntary, dynamic, partisan, and noisy. Tribal members need to know that their voices are heard, and more importantly, respected.
Your attitude as a leader is more important than the number of followers you have or your perceived level of authority. Leading a movement is about helping and facilitating others in the group because you can’t do it alone.
The 3 Qualities of a Tribe Leader
To learn what it takes to be a successful tribe leader and how to start forming your brand's tribe, click "keep reading" below.