Guest post by Michael Shook.
The Real Reason Online Tribes Don’t Work
When I first joined TSA Mastery, the predecessor of the new Biz Blogging Buzz, it was because I was invited to, not because I was searching in Google for tribes to join, having started my online endeavors in the lone wolf, Warrior Forum mode, the idea of belonging to a tribe was pretty much foreign to my way of thinking.
But when I got to reading over the TSA pages I saw that the idea was to create a tribe of like-minded people who would support each other in a way that was beneficial to all parties involved.
I thought that was kind of an interesting idea, so I started the sign-up process. If you went through that part with having to watch the video on the opt in page with the delayed action Buy Me button, you know that was just the beginning of a long series of videos whose point I am still not sure of. Signing up to multiple lists, and then the Facebook group – sort of.
This process seemed a bit convoluted to me, and what I saw in the TSA process (the way it used to be) was confusion. When I realized there were multiple leaders from various parts of the world who each had different businesses, then the cause of the confusion cleared up a bit and it was more like what you get from committee-based decision-making. Everybody’s point of view has to be honored, and accounted for in some way, and the organization itself often winds up trying to drive in multiple directions at once.
But you can really only drive in one direction at a time.
And now, as Biz Blogging Buzz (B3), the former TSA community has a single leader. Other helper people for sure, but one leader and that is going to make a big difference in how it works.
So What’s A Tribe?
So what’s a tribe, anyway, and why is everyone so gung-ho on this idea.
A tribe in the traditional sense of the word is a group of people who are tied together by a common heritage, kinship, ethnicity, marriage ties, something like that. The group is pre-existing to the individual, and the individuals are already of that group. In short, tribe identification is a way to tell who is in your group and who is not based on a common ancestry of some kind.
And then Seth Godin needed a subject for a book. So he took some of the ideas of a tribe and changed them around a bit until a tribe was something you could apply for membership in, or buy your way into or sweat-equity your way into. But membership was for sale in some way; unlike traditional tribes where you are basically born into it.
One of the ideas of being in a tribe was that you support the tribe. Maybe you do this by helping other people out when they need it, maybe you contribute part of your income or food or possessions to a common goal, like storage for the winter or support of the leader, so they can spend their time leading. Not bad ideas at all and very healthy in many ways.
But you put into the common good because you are expected to do so, and if you didn’t you were shunned or expelled. And that’s pretty much how it is.
So What Does Have To Do With Anything?
OK, so what does all this have to do with blog commenting and Facebook liking and such?
Because the word tribe implies that you as an individual are going to get back more value than you put into the common store, you are going to be protected and you are going to have the feeling of contributing to a common good; and those things are going to fill your life with goodness. You are going to feel good being a member of a particular tribe.
So here’s the deal with the title of this post, “The real reason tribes don’t work is because they are not really tribes.“
Big deal, right? So we are not all born with the same last name or come from the same part of the world or whatever ties us together in a traditional tribal sense.
It’s a big deal because by emphasizing the word tribe in the first place, you are setting up a completely different set of expectations than if you called it something else.
We all have a pretty good idea of what a tribe is, and many of us would really like to be in one. It feels good; it feels right, it’s great to be able to have someone else to depend on when we need some help.
And you have the right to those benefits just because you are a member of that tribe. You don’t have to do anything else to be worthy of receiving benefits, you just are worthy. By the same token just because you are member you are expected to contribute to the common good, you just are. Nothing wrong with those ideas at all, they have served people well in many places for a long time.
You Can’t Do That
But what you can’t do in a tribe is buy your way in. And a tribe is not constructed for the financial benefit of the leader. If either of those things is the case, you don’t have a tribe, and when you don’t have a tribe, your expectations are different.
If you have watched Dave’s video, you know that one of his original ideas was to create the former TSA to have a warm market to pitch stuff to. Nothing wrong with that, online we build lists by giving out freebies, joining giveaways, buying leads, all kind of things to create a pool of warm market prospects; But none of those activities creates a tribe. Because you can’t create one, they already exist.
You can create lots of happy customers, Facebook Fanpage Fridays, forums, Skype rooms, all kinds of groups, and people will join and stay willingly; if three conditions are met. They receive back over the long run, more benefit then they pay into the system. They believe they are getting a benefit and they understand what their benefit is.
Sounds complex, but all it really means is that if you pay 20 dollars a month to be in a group that posts blog comments on other people’s blogs, you see more value coming into your business than that 20 dollars was worth to you. But that doesn’t make it a tribe.
So What Is It Then?
So if it’s not a tribe, then what is it? And if it’s not a tribe, then how is it going to help me?
How about we call it an association? A syndication association consisting of like-minded individuals who each have their own businesses and are willing to help out fellow members in exchange for a little help back. A voluntary organization that anyone can drop out of if they find out that the exchange is not helping them out in the way they expected.
And when we decide what to call it, then we can list some of the benefits that people could get by joining and participating. And maybe some more people will like that idea and decide to join our association. At some point it is possible that we could grow so much that we would need a different kind of structure, but right now, we have room for some more people.
Here are some benefits a B3 member could get (there might be more, this is just a short list)
1. Increased traffic to your blog
2. Increased search engine visibility
3. Increased discussion in your blog comments
4. Increased likes on Facebook
5. Increased shares on Facebook
6. Increased visibility on StumbleUpon
7. Increased visibility on LinkedIn
8. Increased visibility on Google +
9. Increased Twitter audience
10. Increased Pinterest friends and contacts
11. Increased email list signups
12. Increased RSS feed subscriptions
13. Increased leads for your opportunity
14. Increased prospects for selling your products and services to
15. Improved SEO through the backlinks you are building by commenting on other blogs.
16. Increased chances to meet other people, which can lead to long-term additional opportunities to make money and have fun.
17. Increased opportunity to let people discover you as the expert in your niche.
18. Increased ideas on how to get your blog to run better.
19. Increased opportunities to buy cool stuff from other people who might have exactly what you are looking for.
And this is just a list off the top of my head. I bet people could come up with a bunch more opportunities for value they could get in exchange for giving some.
A Really Good Deal
As far as cost goes, right now, there is no direct monetary cost associated with being a member of our Syndication Association – B3.
But just like in any group, there is a cost involved if you want to be a member. This is not a scary thing, and in fact, it’s a pretty lightweight cost in terms of time and effort. Basically, when you become a member of the B3, you agree to read and comment on other members blogs and you agree to syndicate their work through your own social media network.
Kim has put together a tutorial which explains how this is done and how to keep track of it. Keeping track is one of the components of the B3 community. This is done through a spreadsheet which is available to all B3 members. The spreadsheet also has the links to all the member’s blogs and social profiles, to make it easy to navigate to their sites and social network profiles.
Being a B3 member is a really, really good deal.
You put in a little time and energy, you get back, well, scroll back up and check the list of benefits again that you could get back.
I think that organizations work best when everyone who is participating understand how they work and what their role is in that organization. It is my personal opinion that in its rebirth, B3 is going to become one of the most sought after memberships in the online world.
We’ve got great members already; a firm grip on how to get your content syndicated all around the internet; and a great leader willing to put the time and energy into making our association run in a way that benefits each member.
Please join us today in making this cool online adventure
even more outstanding.