In business, we’ve often got a mindset of reaching out to as many people as possible. The more people that see our products and brand, the more sales we’re likely to get…right? Well, this isn’t strictly true. Not only is there an argument for quality over quantity, every good businessperson knows that brand loyalty allows a company to stay alive over the years.
If you opened a hair salon, would you rather five people visit once, or one person visited once a month for the next decade? Even though it’s only one customer on paper, they will bring a larger return in the long term, which is why building your tribe is so important.
Importance of Building Your Tribe
In the next section, we’ve compiled a number of brilliant tips for brand awareness and growing a company with longevity. But first, why is brand loyalty so important in the first place?
- Regular Income — Just as we discovered in the hair salon example, it’s better to have one regular customer than several people who only buy once. With a group of loyal supporters, we have a reason to continue developing new products while keeping a smile on their faces. The bigger the margin on your product/service, the smaller the group required.
- Recommendations — When looking for a company with a passionate fan base, it’s hard to look past the likes of Apple. What do their loyal customers do? They recommend the products to others while debating with Android fans that Apple is better. Ultimately, it’s free advertising. These days, consumers hate to see companies shouting about themselves. If you can get a loyal group of customers shouting on your behalf, the result will not be disappointing.
- Mutually Beneficial Relationship — To add on to the previous point, marketing has changed in recent years; it’s not just about who can shout the loudest. More than ever before, marketing is about cultivating relationships. We need to find people who share similar passions to ourselves. If we can do this, everybody benefits.
Back in 2008, Seth Godin released the book Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us and the term has been coined in this way ever since. In the book, Godin explains that there are two requirements for any tribe: a method of communication, and a shared interest. Again, we return to Apple as an example (a company that seems to get everything right!)
Why do people visit the Apple store? Sure, they come to look at new products and buy something that takes their fancy. However, it’s also fair to say that physical Apple stores are a hub for Apple fans to meet, share stories, talk about their experiences, and more. Over the past decade, we’ve seen a number of huge brands close their retail stores. Meanwhile, Apple is thriving and expected to continue on this path for the foreseeable future.
Tips for Building Your Tribe
So, how do you work on brand awareness, brand loyalty, and generally building your brand and tribe? We have some advice for you below!
1. Discover or Uncover Your Passions
First and foremost, why should any consumer get excited about something when you’re not excited yourself? Whatever your industry or niche may be, building a tribe is impossible without a passion for what you’re doing. If we return to our Apple example, they’re not just successful because they have passionate supporters, they’re passionate about the products themselves.
If an audience can see your passion and that you’re just like one of them, it’s MUCH easier to build a tribe.
2. Create a Mission Statement
Next, do you know who you are? This may sound like a silly question, but it’s one that many businesses cannot answer. Understanding who you are will allow the right people to find you and your service. As a starting point, we’re big advocates of writing down some key features of the business. As you create a value statement and mission statement, you have something tangible to relate to and offer to consumers.
At the same time, you might think about your target market and what they need from you. Once you have a target market, the question becomes why should people choose you over other businesses in that market. What’s your unique selling point (USP)?
3. Be a Leader
You know who you are, and you know your audience, now it’s time to stand up and be a leader for these people. Don’t just join the crowd and follow others, be the leader that your audience needs. When you really break down marketing, it’s a case of leading those who want to follow. With brilliant content and services, they have an outlet for their passion and join your tribe.
Too often, we see businesses enter a market and wait for something to happen. If you want to find success, you can’t hide in the background. Since you’re passionate about the industry, you know the type of leader the market needs; go out there and become it.
4. Find Your People
It’s one thing to be a leader, it’s another to be a leader in the right areas; the last thing you need is to waste resources concentrating on the wrong platforms. These days, there’s no better place to start than on social media.
Do your typical consumers spend most of their time on Instagram or are they a more professional crowd that frequents LinkedIn? Fortunately, there is a great deal of resources we can use online to find out where our demographic spends their time online. Once you know the platform, think about the influencers they listen to, hashtags, groups, pages, and more. As you listen and learn, you start to pick up on major problems (the problems you’re going to fix!)
5. Be a Member of the Community
Just because you’re positioning yourself as a leader doesn’t mean you need to suddenly bombard with adverts. You won’t build brand loyalty by constantly selling, and any brand awareness you’ll get will be negative. Here are some general tips for entering the community seamlessly:
- Don’t beg for people to visit your website
- Look to add value to the community
- Answer questions (and feel free to ask them too)
- Make sure any content you produce is relevant
- If you’re a local business, you should offer events, charity days, and other ways to get people involved
6. Learn and Grow
Over time, you should engage with your tribe, which will allow you to learn the type of content they need or enjoy the most. Depending on your service, their needs may range from serious advice, to something to smile about when they’re bored. While some will like to read blog posts, others want to attend events in person. Unfortunately, we can’t help you here; it’s all about knowing your own audience and growing together.
As soon as you reach a certain point, you can allow consumers to contribute to the business. What do they really like about your service over others like you? What would they like to see change? The more you listen, the more important your tribe will become. When they feel you’re listening and shaping the service to what they need, others will soon come along.
7. Be Kind
We only need to look at the language used to assess the character of marketing over time: we ‘target’ people and ‘hit’ them with content. Today, we’re in a different world and it’s time to ‘reach out’ and give back. Instead of focusing on taking from consumers, offer them something first.
8. Encourage Sharing
You’re now a leader and a trusted member of the community, there’s no reason why you can’t ask for a little help every now and then. As long as you aren’t continually spamming, customers will want to communicate your message. Ask them to spread your name to their followers and friends; now that you’ve built a reputation, you aren’t just asking for a favor, your tribe will want to share the message about your fantastic service.
In a marketing funnel, something we often forget is what happens after a sale. These days, we need advocacy and people to recommend us, and this is one way to achieve it.
9. Provide a Platform for Communication
Just like Apple and its stores, you need a hub for people to communicate. Of course, we aren’t saying you need to open a store in every major city. Instead, start with an online forum and through social media (maybe a Facebook group). According to Godin and his book, there are four channels of communication within tribes; leader to member, member to leader, member to member, and member to strangers.
10. Hire Well
Finally, every single member of your staff should havde just as much passion as you. If you can hire a tribe, it will be much easier to build one. They will have the knowledge to answer questions from members, understand the market, and know exactly what the company needs to keep moving forwar!