I truly believe that everyone has a vision of some sort to create a tribe of people that become part of a movement. A tribe of people is different from an ordinary group of people because tribes stick together, and typically share a common vision for why they do what they do.
A tribe can’t be broken; a tribe is unwavering in their mission, a tribe is everlasting, a tribe believes in changing the world in a positive way.
On Addicted2Success, we too are a tribe. We believe in inspiring the world and using entrepreneurship to fund the projects that will create significant progress in the human race. People come on this site every day because they believe in our message and want to be part of a movement that is bigger than themselves.
Here are thirteen ways you can build a tribe of people for a game-changing movement:
1. Create a vision that everyone can relate to
To construct a tribe of people, you need to form a vision for your movement that potential tribe members can relate to. What this means is that your tribe has to be broad enough to appeal to a multitude of people, but narrow enough to stand out and be meaningful.
“People don’t buy what you do they buy why you do it” – Simon Sinek
The vision that you want your tribe to buy into usually needs to be made up of a problem, story, or why that is relatable to the average person. A vision such as making food healthier is too broad. A better example would be making healthy plant-based food available to the average American, through the sale of online courses in health.
The second example I have given you includes a focused mission and a way to fund that mission through something that will appeal to people. At the start of creating your tribe, you need to spend the most amount of time on the vision.
The few limited sentences of your tribe’s vision maps out the journey and should act like a magnet for people all over the globe to get involved.
2. Be as bold and as different as you can be
Your tribe will have no chance of success, and be drowned out by all the other tribes if you fail to be as bold and as different as you can be. You don’t need to be better than the other tribes because it’s easier just to be far different and more focused on your approach.
Bold means your branding has to be engaging and out there. Your message needs to be presented in a clear and intelligent way, and you must be doing something that people give a damn about. Changing the world through making yellow cupcakes with sprinkles on them is not going to see you be successful.
A simple example of this is when the Apple iPhone came out. Steve Jobs made it overly easy to use, and it only had one button on it. At the same time, all other phones had more than ten buttons, so the iPhone stood out from the crowd and stuck it’s imaginary finger up at its competitors.
3. Build a core team first
Once your vision is complete; you need to start with a few members of your tribe. The best way to do this is to use a site like 99 Designs, to create a logo and an attractive social media banner, and then post it on all of your social media networks.
The cost of this design work should be small, but put a bit of an effort in to make it look good. If I look at Addicted2Success, the first few followers were actually people in Joel’s immediate personal network and other bloggers in the same niche.
It’s from these two pools of networks that you will be able to build a small core team of people who want to support your vision, join your tribe, and create a game-changing movement with you.
4. Bring in the few raving fans
The small tribe that I have from my online presence is not huge, but it’s very deep and highly engaged. The tribe I have started with just a few readers who were obsessed with what I did and shared my work in every way they could.
This small group of raving fans then extended further as I became consistent with my messaging and created regular posts online.
Once you have a few raving fans – and that can be as little as ten people – these are the next people you should bring in to form an outer layer around the core team of your tribe.
The way you bring in your raving fans into the tribe is by reaching out to them via email, and asking them if they want to have more involvement in what you do so that you can have a bigger impact with your movements vision.
5. Convince a few big names to support your tribe
To compound the growth of your tribe, an easy tip is to bring in some influential big names either into the tribe or to support your tribe. There is no easy way to do this other than being smart about your approach.
Research a few influential people, and see if you can come up with a list of fifty people who might have similar beliefs to your tribe. Then, you simply need to contact each of them and see if you can get them involved with your tribe in some way.
LinkedIn is one of the best ways to reach out to these influencers (check out this article I wrote about how to contact influential people for more detail), otherwise emailing them or their PA directly usually works.
Out of the fifty people you contact, aim to get three to say yes. Having three people with large audiences is all you need to grow your tribe quickly.
6. Make your tribe totally honest and transparent
You will have zero chance of forming a tribe of people if you are not honest and transparent. Trust and transparency are the two most important factors of any tribe. The moment your tribe breaks people’s trust or misleads people is the moment your tribe will burn in an imaginary bonfire.
We now have greater access to information than ever so the moment you mislead people in any way, some smart person will find you out and tell everyone. From then on, people will always second-guess whether they should join your tribe.
“Tribes built on lies have existed for many years – fast food chains, parts of western medicine – and so people are hyper-sensitive to anything that comes across as even slightly dishonest”
I always encourage tribes to go over the top with disclosing what they do and how they do it, especially if there is some form of social enterprise or charity embedded into the tribe’s operating model. The best example of how to do this is the Thankyou Social Enterprise in Australia.
7. Be consistent with your messaging
A tribe is only built when you are consistently doing something that is part of your vision. If you come up with a game-changing idea and then only act on it every three months, no one will want to join your tribe.
People that join a tribe want a consistent hit of engagement (like a hit of coffee) to meet their addiction to your movement. Translated, this means you need to be doing something daily online to keep your tribe interested in what you’re doing.
If you are trying to establish a tribe and not do something daily towards your vision, you are guaranteed to fail – period. Everything you share with your tribe needs to always link back to your vision, and this vision can’t change.
When a vision constantly changes people get confused about what your tribe stands for, and it adds complexity. The moment you add complexity, people will stop listening to you.
8. Don’t let resources hold you back
Many tribes end up in the cemetery with their creator because the founder never takes action – primarily because they think you need loads of resources / money to form a tribe. In fact, the opposite is true.
The more resources your tribe has access to, the more probable it is that you and your tribe are going to dilute the vision, and become too broad. By nailing the vision and making your tribe attractive to people, the resources you need can be obtained through the networks you form.
The online world is so cheap to enter now for any tribe, so it’s not a matter of resources, but more a question of who has the best vision that people want to support, and more importantly, that people want to take action to get involved with.
9. Use people to scale the movement not money
On the same subject as resources, it’s a common misconception that people not only believe you need heaps of money to scale your tribe but that you need lots of money to take your movement global. Ultimately, the thing that scales any idea in this world is people.
People build tribes and create movements, not money. Start to think differently and realise that the people within your tribe will always have much more power than any amount of money. As your tribe creates value to the world, resources such as money become easier to find and thus scale is self-perpetuating.
10. Take your tribe global
From day one, it should be absolutely 100% be your goal to take your tribe global. Thanks to the internet, the barrier to access overseas markets doesn’t exist anymore. Creating a movement can require lots of people to join your tribe.
The quickest way to find people for your tribe is to be global from day one and have influential people in other countries to spread your tribe’s message.
As your tribe really starts to grow, consider having places on the web where people from other countries can go and engage with your movement in their own native language. It’s not hard to do but can be very effective.
11. Be unwavering to the obstacles
It’s very easy when you read a how-to blog post like this to think that building something as significant as a tribe is a piece of cake – it’s not. Establishing a tribe of people that stand for a common goal, and are truly influential, is not an easy task (although it’s certainly possible with commitment).
What’s attractive to potential tribe members is for the movement you have created to be unwavering in the face of obstacles. It’s rare, and it’s attractive to the world for your tribe to never stop and never give up.
Tribes tend to falter at the first sign of adversity, but successful tribes that create game-changing movements, have a sense of life or death when it comes to their mission statement. Stand out, be different, and instil a culture within your tribe to be relentless and stop at nothing.
12. Celebrate the wins
With every obstacle comes either success or failure (the lesson). As your tribe starts to accumulate the wins, it’s fundamental that you celebrate what you have achieved (without bragging too much).
For example, on Addicted2Success, at the end of last year, our tribe raised $50,000 USD to construct two schools for disadvantaged children. We managed to do this within a few short weeks, and we celebrated our victory.
One of my most highly engaged posts on Linkedin ever was the celebration of that milestone with our tribe. People love to be around success, and it’s a great way to make the non-followers and naysayers rethink their decision to join your tribe.
The key to celebrating wins though is to ensure you don’t come across as being too caught up in how good you and your tribe are. There are lots of tribes like this already, constantly patting themselves on the back, and it can become really unappealing after a while.
13. Be the underdog tribe
The most successful tribes I have observed are the ones who are the underdogs. Coming up against long-standing, established tribes is your greatest attribute. The tribes that have existed for years are often out of date, and their way of communicating is not impactful anymore.
The beauty of a tribe that is an underdog is that humans love to see the underdog win; they love to see the struggle and be part of that struggle. Look at every powerful story that has ever existed and there is almost guaranteed to be an underdog in there somewhere.
A tribe that is an underdog is something that truly has the opportunity to be successful on a global scale. Embrace all the limitations your tribe has and understand that they are your greatest strengths in the battle to win people’s attention, and ultimately their acceptance into your tribe.
You and your tribe have the power so go out there and change the world!
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