“Great leaders create movements by empowering the tribe to communicate. They establish the foundation for people to make connections, as opposed to commanding people to follow them.” –Seth Godin, Tribes
I recently finished reading Tribes by best selling author and widely known blogger Seth Godin. Tribes is a nationwide bestseller, appearing on the Amazon, New York Times, BusinessWeek and Wall Street Journal bestseller lists. The main premise of the book is about the most powerful form of marketing–leadership–and how with the advances in technology anyone can now become a leader, creating movements that make a difference.
I really enjoyed reading this book because it provided great insight into how to be not just a leader, but how to be a leader using today’s emerging media platforms such as social media. I think where things are at with the economy and especially in the advertising/marketing fields, brands and consumers are both craving leadership and direction. They want to believe in something and they want to believe in brands again but are looking for someone to lead them.
Emerging forms of media such as social, mobile and digital mean we are living through and are right at the key moment of a change in the way ideas are created, spread and implemented. However, many brands have no idea how to use these media platforms (especially social media) to connect and engage with consumers. One of the biggest problems today Godin says is, “Most organizations spend their time marketing to the crowd.” Godin recommends what I’ve always believed social media strategy should be about and that is instead of marketing your brand at your audience you should find groups of people that have something in common and provide them with a platform and the tools to communicate with one another.
The disappointing part of most brands social media strategy is that, “Too many organizations care about numbers, not fans. They care about hits or turnstile clicks or media mentions. What they’re missing is the depth of commitment and interconnection that true fans deliver.”
The beauty of social, mobile and digital media is that these technologies are allowing brands to tighten the relationship they have with the people who choose to follow them and support them. However, if brands continue to shy away from social media or any other “emerging” media they will end up isolating themselves and their followers will end up going to other brands and other tribes that are willing to engage them.
If you are one of those brands that wants to build and lead your tribe here is what Godin suggests:
1.) Tell a story to people who want to hear it.
2.) Connect a tribe of people who desperately want to be connected to each other
3.) Be a leader by leading a movement.People join movements because they want to be a part of something that matters.
4.) Challenge the status quo and make changes that the tribe wished to see
Takes 2 things to turn a group of people into a tribe
1.) A shared interest
2.) A way to communicate
4 types of communication
1.) Leader to tribe
2.) Tribe to leader
3.) Tribe member to tribe member
4.) Tribe member to outsider
A leader can help increase the effectiveness of the tribe and its members by:
- Transforming the shared interest into a passionate goal and desire for change
- Providing tools to allow members to tighten their communications
- Leveraging the tribe to allow it to grow and gain new members
* Most leaders only focus on #3
Here are some good examples of individual people who became leaders by creating tribes:
Blake Mycoskie, founder and Chief Shoe Giver of TOMS Shoes, Inc. Blake set the standard for the new idea of social philanthropy and entrepreneurship. When someone buys a pair of TOMS shoes, another pair is given to a needy child. Since 2006, over 440,000 pairs of shoes have been distributed to children in need throughout the world.
Bill Gates, co-founder and CEO of Microsoft, currently focusing his efforts on the Bill and Melissa Gates Foundation he and his wife started back in 2000.
Phil Knight, co-founder of Nike who brought a new level of quality and style to the running community. Knight turned Nike into the world’s largest sports and fitness company.
Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple, Inc.
Here are some tools that make leadership more powerful and productive and allow you to create tight knit tribes:
Blogs- A blog can serve as a channel for you to reach more people more quickly, more powerfully and efficiently than traditional ways.
Facebook- Enables a huge range of images, text, and connections to be created. “Facebook surfaces what some are calling the ‘social graph.’ Who you know, how you know them, who knows whom. It takes the hidden world of tribes and illuminates it with a bright digital light.”
Web/Viral Videos- Allows you to paint a picture and tell a story using pictures, sound, and words and can be far more powerful and moving than more traditional media channels. People like to share stories with other people they know especially if it’s a story they can relate to. Create stories around your brands and share them with your tribe.
Twitter- Tiny driplike updates reach the thousands of people who are waiting to hear from you and follow your lead.
Basecamp- Perfect for managing projects and tracking work. By accessing the stuff that used to be in private e-mails or hand written journals, Basecamp makes it easy for the entire tribe to track progress and feel the momentum that you’re building.
So what do you think? What are some ways you’ve used social media or any other media to lead a tribe? What tribes are you a part of and why did you decide to be a part of them?