I recently heard Toni Birdsong speak at my Heartprint Writers Group. She talked about social media and creating a tribe. I loved her tribe concept so much I borrowed the term when I later spoke on Crowdsourcing at the Tennessee Soap and Candle Gathering. Here are a few of tips I shared.
Crowdsourcing, tribe building or social networking is this generations word-of-mouth advertising. According to a report by Nielsen, 77% of consumers are more likely to buy a new product when learning about it from friends or family. Social media allows you to reach prospective customers through digital “world of mouth.” Your online crowd or tribe amplifies everything you do.
The online crowd is a priceless resource not only for the traditional things you think of like crowdsource funding but to find a community to support your business. Not only customers but of people who will refer customers, people who will help you with projects, and countless co-op opportunities.
Create and Expand Your Own Digital Footprint
If you are a small business owner this is the most exciting time in history. We can build and promote a business right from our kitchen table. In fact, with smart phones, you do everyone you once had to go into the office to do right form the sidelines of your kid’s football game, sitting in waiting rooms and all the other spare time you once spent disconnected.
There are no more excuses that truly work that you can give as to why you are not starting, building, promoting, cross-promoting and building a tribe to support your business efforts. The opportunities are endless. Most things can be done with little to no money. Hurray if you have money, but no excuse if you don’t.
You no longer need to take a class to learn a new skill you need for your business. Google is my best friend. I can find the answer to anything I need to know on Google. And if I don’t understand the answer I can watch a video on YouTube to learn how. And if I’m still scratching my head I can put up a status update on Facebook and ask for help. It works each and every time.
Create Digital Finger Prints
Making a digital impact takes placing hundreds of little fingerprints everywhere that lead back to your website, blog and business. Your footprint is not the social media sites – those are your fingerprints. The more fingerprints you leave on by giving updates, commenting on other peoples updates, retweeting, commenting on blogs, submitting articles as a guest blogger, offering your expertise and help to your community and engaging with the online world.
Most important tips for creating digital finger prints
- Be a Power pole. Don’t just be a single plug. Become a power pole were others can plug in. If you are resource of information this is natural. In India the power poles have random wires going in, out, around, thru, split and so forth. It is amazing that there are not electrical fires constantly because people just climb the pole and plug themselves in. Other people plug in on top of that. It is a hot mess. But you want to be that power pole that everyone wants access to and everyone wants to share.
- Create a tribe. Your tribe is a group of people with shared interest, goals, values and so forth. And don’t be afraid to add influencers to your tribe. Identify who the influencers are in your community and retweet their content, share their links, comment on their blogs.
- Be useful. You can’t take your expertise and knowledge to the grave with you. Share it, spread it around and watch it create fruit in the lives of the people around you.
- Get personal. I remember when Twitter started I thought it was crazy. I mean who could possibly care about my day to day life!? And then I went to my first speaking event after Twitter came out I discovered that people were following what I said. They did care about me, my family, my day and my business. We were connected and I started to pay attention to everyone else too. And then I cared about their day, would stop in my day to pray for someone in need, could offer instant assistance to a person in need, and I did care if their cat was sick. I got it. And above all when I needed goods or services I looked to my community to purchase it.
- Say thank you often. No one sends thank you cards these days. Well a handful of people do and I so appreciate them. But you can say thank you all day long on Twitter and Facebook. You can show your gratitude too by retweeting and sharing their content back.
- Nourish your tribe. You can’t just take, take, and take some more. Your tribe should benefit in some way via association with you. It can be via sharing information, helping them out, promoting them, creating co-op opportunities that benefit you both or any other needs met.
- Post consistently. If you a blogger you should blog regularly. Create a schedule because I am here to tell you if you don’t have a deadline you will miss it. While writing books I tend to lose focus on all things unrelated to the book. So that can mean big gaps in blogging. When you start again don’t apologize. Just start again. Just keep going.
- Create Community which takes participating online in a more personal way — not because you’re with real life friends, but because you’re in a group of shared interests and context. Your copy on your website and blogs are increasingly easy to copy BUT community is copy–proof. Community experience will become a major point of differentiation for small business owners. Make “sharing” easy from every page of your website or blog.
- Comment, promote and share other blogs. Being part of a community means that you should be sharing and commenting on other blogs.
- Share, share, reshare, share, reshare you content on social media. Schedule your tweets and use a variety of hashtags. Think of Twitter as your robotic personal assistant. You can schedule way in advance using things like Twuffer.com, Buffer.com and TweetDeck. You can schedule the same tweet to work for you while you sleep. With hashtags you can get picked up by a variety of “dailey” twitter papers, you can get Retweeted by people who don’t even follow you and picked up by others.
- Tweet. I no longer personally enjoy Twitter but I’m not going to miss out on my own FREE automated personal assistant. You can’t be completely absent, but you don’t have to sit on twitter constantly tweeting, retweeting and commenting. I go on at least once per week and do all my follow backs. As I’m waiting somewhere in a line I sign on to say thank you’s to people who Retweeted for me or mentioned me. I Go to some of my hidden tribemate list on twitter and do some Retweeting. I don’t always have time to read their content but they are part of my tribe. I trust them. We align. I know I can safely share their content without reading it.
- Ask for help. I cannot stress this enough! People can’t help you if you don’t ask for help. I can’t help you back if I don’t see you ask for help. I am amazed at all the help I get by simply asking a question.
- Respond when others ask for help. Don’t ever be too busy to lend a hand or encouraging word to someone else in your community. Most of the time people are just asking for advice, a referral or a word of encouragement. Don’t give your product away for free unless you feel led. Sometimes I see someone struggling with something and realize it would make a good blog post. I answer their question and blog the answer.
- Don’t be afraid of the word “no.” Sometimes I get super timid messages from someone apologizing for asking me a question or taking my time. They even give me a way out to say “no” gently. Honestly I’m always glad they came out of their comfort zone and asked me. Sometimes I can’t personally help them but I know someone who can. Sometimes I can help them. For every timid question I get I know there is someone out there dying to ask someone a question that would help them but too afraid of the word no. I’ve been in outside sales – I can guarantee you that every no I got did not injure me, didn’t set me back in life, and didn’t leave a scar. Take “no” as a price – it means you asked and conquered your fears and asked.
- ABOVE ALL don’t spend all your time making fingerprints! Social media should be scheduled and during down time. Don’t use valuable time you could be doing something that produces income lost in a game, argument or playing on social media. You can play. You can have fun. But that is for your down time waiting in the school pick up line, sitting in waiting rooms, and other free moments that cannot otherwise be used to produce you primary moneymaking activity. Sometimes you see me on social media for hours….well that is because I’m sitting at the dance studio waiting for my girls or using other time I can’t spend writing or living life.
- Share industry insights on LinkedIN. LinkedIn has long been the overlooked social media platform, BUT recently Buffer (where you can link all your sites) has experienced a 4000% increase in blog referral traffic from LinkedIN. According to LinkedIn 6 out of 10 users are interested in industry insights. Putting research and industry wisdom on LinkedIN will get your talked about and shared.