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How to Nurture Your Tribe and Spark Mini-Movements

Community, tribes, and movements are part of the toolbox for savvy content marketers.  The bar has been raised to the point that you can’t hope to compete if you are simply writing blog posts and hoping to stay top of mind with your audience.

Think about it this way.  Right now your reader is trying to decide who to listen to.  It’s easy to assume that they are rationally evaluating a short list including you and your competitors.  So I might think that you are choosing from a list that includes Social Media Examiner, Convince and Convert, Sales Lion, and Copyblogger along with Pushing Social.

I wish that were the case.

Building your tribe is the best way to stay competitive. Now is the best time to start.

In fact, I’m competing with CNN, The Middle, Your BFF on Facebook, and the mom who’s rocking out Pinterest photos of her kid’s snow sculptures.

(Oh and Beyonce has been giving me a run for my money lately.)

You need a different strategy to compete.  I recommend becoming a community / tribal leader.  But to have a tribe, you needs people to follow you.  Most of you already have a small tribe following you know.  Your goal is to activate them and turn them into a mini-movement focused on sharing your message with the world.

Here are 5 ways to nurture your tribe and turn them into evangelists for your brand.

1. State the Mission

You might have noticed that I added a tag line to the top of Pushing Social. This tagline has my mission.  Now everyone knows what I do and why I do it.  You should do the same.  State your mission and why your blog matters. Work on your mission until it accurately defines what makes you and your brand special.  Don’t settle for average drivel or vague promises.  Get down to the core success ingredients that matter to your reader.

2. Model the Right Behavior

Do you want an audience that comments regularly?  Make a point to answer comments and ask follow-up questions in your comment stream.

Do you want an audience that supports each other?  Go out of your way to identify and promote readers who do incredible things.

Do you want a tribe that respects each other?  Kick leechers and trolls off the island.  It’s your blog, your platform and nothing says that you need to tolerate or coddle bad idiots and jackasses.

3.  Stay Top of Mind

You have to demonstrate why your content is relevant to your readers.  This requires “frequency”, or finding new ways to catch your reader’s attention.

You already know how this works if you have ever had a boy or girlfriend.  Every day is a game to stay top of mind.  You call, text, send photos, or make an offer for coffee, lunch, dinner, or drinks.  You find out what your date likes, hates, spends time doing, or would like to do.  You change how you dress, your hairstyle, even how you talk to make an impression.

Creating, growing, and nurturing a tribe of readers takes similar creativity.

This year,  my editorial calendar includes:

1. Blog Posts (3-4 a week)

2. Google Hangout Training (1x a week)

3. Emails (1 – 2 a week)

4. Podcasts (1x a week)

5. Video Series (2x a month)

All of this to convince you that we deserve to be on the same speed dial as Beyonce.  Understand that Pushing Social is a media company so I need to produce this much content.  You probably can do less but remember that staying top of mind requires frequent contact.

4. Support and Reward Loyal Readers Publicly

You have a few readers that work especially hard to support you.  Make sure you do all you can to reciprocate.  You can:

  1. Mention them in blog posts with links to their preferred platform (Twitter, Blog, YouTube channel)
  2. Give them free stuff.  I regularly contact readers and offer them free 30-minute consultations or coupons for my services
  3. Retweet/Like/Comment when you have a moment.  Take a little time to see what is important to them and what they are trying to accomplish.

Most of all support and reward loyal readers because it is the right thing to do.  Don’t expect anything in return.  Although I can’t quantify it in a spreadsheet, I believe that goodwill and sharing multiplies the impact of your blog and ignites your tribe’s enthusiasm.

5. Take Risks with Your Generosity

Always look for opportunities to give crazy generous value to your audience. Create one program that gives until it hurt.   My thinking on this has “evolved”.  I used to be a scrooge with my time and expertise.  Now I happily give as much as I can.

But here’s the catch. I only give to “givers”.

I look for people who are generous with their gifts.  Once I find them, I pay it forward. I invite you to do the same.  I bet you’ll be surprised with how much good will come out of some crazy generosity.

Sparking Mini-Movements

A mini-movement are created by fans who identify with your mission at a “gut” even spiritual level.

The Lean Startup, Lifestyle Design, Minimalist Life, Inbound Marketing, and Extreme Fitness movements were started by authors, coaches, entrepreneurs and bloggers who made their audience an active part of their content and message.

Mini-Movements are spontaneous and hard to predict but I’m willing to bet that are more likely to occur if attention is shared with readers.  I’m also confident that you can spark your own mini-movement if you consistently apply the idea starters in this post.

What do you think?

About Stan

Stan Smith is the CEO of Pushing Social a content marketing consultancy for aggressive, results-focused organizations.

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