How to Build Your Tribe: The Power of a Blogging Community

imageI’ve made no secret of the fact that blogging has changed my life beyond all recognition – my initial post was published without any expectation and my journey over the last three years has been so amazing that I have to stop and pinch myself every so often to check that it actually happened.

I’ve documented my blogging process on many occasions, creating a number of advice posts based upon what has or hasn’t worked for me. It’s hard-work and can be a time-consuming and often lonely business, with countless hours easily being spent just on the writing, publishing and promoting of a single post, and I’m beyond proud of everything that this little space of the internet has achieved. However, none of this would have been possible without the support from the community, and, above all, my tribe.

Actually, if I’m being honest, I’m not a fan of the word ‘tribe.’ It sounds cliquey, which is one of the things that I dislike most within the blogging world, but it is inevitable that you will naturally gravitate towards certain individuals online in the same way that friendships are formed in real life. So, for the sake of this post, I’ll stick to using the terminology, just for now…

My tribe. My crew. My blogger-from-another-m…logger? Ok, that was poor, but you get the idea – these are the people who support what you do, share your work, who celebrate your successes, who are prepared to listen to the inevitable worries and self-doubt that plague most writers, and then who give a verbal slap, tell you to shut up and stop being silly.

I’m fortunate in that there’s a number of people I would consider to be part of my community, and I value all of them, but there are six or seven that I speak to regularly, and four who I speak to daily. We promote each other, offer advice, find solutions to problems… There’s a source of genuine friendship and camaraderie, and I look forward to their messages or their calls.

Based on my experience, there are two different types of tribes:

The natural tribe – those who naturally form a group based on a friendship and a genuine like for each other’s company. These are the sorts of tribe that I prefer being a part of – the ones where I enjoy the conversation and don’t feel stupid when asking different blogging questions.

For example – one of my tribe is currently creating her own podcast:

TM1 (Tribe Member 1): Just edited song and intro in Garage Band for my podcast. I have merged the two together.

TM2: High fives! Well impressed – back it up a million times so you don’t have to make copies for every episode! Have you heard my intro for TM1’s podcast TM3?

TM3: No – could you email it to me?

The targeted tribe – a deliberate grouping of bloggers who are committed to the sharing and promotion of each other’s posts at specific times. These can often be found within Facebook groups – I’ve been a member of one or two in the past and they are incredibly effective at boosting traffic.

Both are just as effective (a post that was shared recently on StumbleUpon by my friend who is part of what I would consider to be a natural tribe has received 10,000 views in the last month), but if you want to build a successful tribe, then you have to take it a little more seriously than simply commenting on and/or sharing the odd post.

Why do you need a tribe?

The answer is, you don’t. However, think about it this way:

I look forward to opening my social media messages in a morning to see what has been discussed in my absence, and then enjoy catching up with the conversation.

I have somewhere that I can ask all of my blogging questions, and will usually receive a helpful answer really quickly.

I can easily gain loads of blogging hints and tips every day through discussions I have within my tribe.

Still not convinced?

You publish a post and then promote it to all of your readers across your social media. Then, two, three, five or even ten people also promote the same post to all of their readers. And perhaps some of their readers take a liking to your post and comment on it. And then follow and/or share the post further. And before you know it, your community has grown with no extra effort!

Want to build you own tribe?

These are a set of ideas that you could use to potentially build a tribe to increase your traffic. You don’t have to do all of them, or in any particular order, but these are things I have tried myself, with good levels of success.

1. Decide on the size of the tribe you wish to build, and invite people to join. This could initially seem quite intimidating, particularly if you are a newer blogger, but you can easily start building connections simply by repeatedly and consistently commenting on other blogs. The grouping could be on Facebook, or across a group message on Twitter, or via email. All members have to be completely committed to the group.

2. Establish a set of rules. This is particularly effective for larger groups – everyone needs to be clear of what the expectations are. Above all, it needs to be a secure, honest and non-judgemental place where everyone can feel comfortable in asking questions and sharing what they wish to.

3. Create a schedule. There are several different schedules that could be used – one person a day could be the focus of the rest of the group, or a number of posts for each person could be shared across specified media etc… Set out a thread of posts that everyone wants to share. Each person then shares each post once across different areas of social media – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Stumble Upon. Note: the larger the group, the more difficult it may be to do this on a daily basis.

4. Be generous and authentic in your sharing and support of your tribes work. If you genuinely like a post, it’s likely that some of your readership will too, which may result in higher traffic for you both. It’s a win/win for everyone.

What about you guys? Are you part of a community or tribe? Have you found them to be beneficial?

You can also find me on Twitter and Tumblr @suzie81blog, and don’t forget to check out my Facebook page, my Pinterest page and my Instagram page

62 thoughts on “How to Build Your Tribe: The Power of a Blogging Community

  1. I tend to think in terms of community rather than tribe, in large part because the word tribe has been stretched so far lately that I’m not sure what it means anymore. But the community that springs up around some blogs–and not to hide behind any modesty here–that has surprised me by springing up around my blog? That’s wonderful when it happens.

    Having claimed a community around my blog, I’ve set off alarm bells in my head. Is it a community or just a bunch of often very funny people who leave comments? What’s a community? Is the word as overstretched as tribe? I’m not sure. But when you get response, conversation, connections? Whatever you call it, I do love it.

    • I totally understand what you mean… I wouldn’t say I’m a fan of the word tribe, but I used it just for my point about the closer relationships you can build through blogging… I love it too!

      • Hi, I’ve never heard the term “tribe” before. In some places, it would even be an offensive term.
        I’m getting ready to start my own blog. I was directed here to learn and i’ve learned a lot. Thank you.

  2. I think you need an audience of readers that will give you affirmative words and criticism when necessary. Connection with other people of like mind is important too.

  3. Having a supportive tribe or Facebook group has made all the difference in my traffic. The Facebook groups I belong to each have a unique focus. There are four of them where we knew each other fairly well and can discuss how to solve problems or share information. My Triberr tribes bring me the most traffic, though. I can’t imagine going it alone.

      • I have been reluctant to even share my blog with my personal FB page. I do have a few loyal supporters, but there would not be much support there. Still contemplating sharing it there.
        Groups. Ummmm…..would need to be fitting to the topic. I would think.

  4. I have a few friends on WP I’ve been with for three or more years. I suppose that could be a small tribe. I’ve followed for two years I think. πŸ˜ŽπŸ‘πŸ»

  5. I coined the term ‘Blogily’ for those who have become genuine friends through the blog process, and as with a real family, you have your immediate ‘blogily’ then there is that wider circle of blogily, you know, the ‘Blog-ousins’ the ‘Bl-uncles’ and ‘Bl-aunts’!
    But you’re right, you can’t expect to be followed and promoted, unless you are willing to put the time in to do the same. Give the same respect to your ‘blogily’ and you will grow…. sometimes, beyond your own expectations!

  6. Very informative, thank you, Suzie. You’ve mastered social media to your benefit. I barely understand it and choose not to join most sites. My limitations equal my lack of exposure. I admire how much you promote other bloggers and can see how much it benefits you. Maybe one day I’ll make the big leap, but not likely soon.

    • Thanks so much Sharon! I love supporting others because I get so much support myself, particularly from lovely people like you – it has really kept me going in some really difficult times!

  7. I’m totally with you on this. I’m a big fan of building your own blogging community and being a part of other blogging communities. I don’t believe you can build your own successful blogging community without being a member of other blogging communities out there. I’ve seen many say different, but they seldom last.
    I’ve had so much support for my writing from the first few days I got here. It’s been an amazing experience for me and, when I’ve been able to, I’ve always given support back. I remember being a brand new blogger and being terrified of what lay ahead. However, I found a few posts that gave blogging tips and, within a year, I started writing and sharing what I had learned so that those new to blogging could benefit.
    Commenting back is just as important as responding to comments left on our own blogs. I’ve recently downloaded a “We Comment Back” badge on my blog to show that I do read and comment back on other blogs. One way traffic may work, to begin with, but those roads soon become very quiet.

    • I totally agree Hugh, and you have always been one of the most prolific commenters across mine and so many other people’s blogs. I’ve started to post less and comment more – I found that a lot of what i was doing was very one-sided, and I’m loving it!

      • That’s great to hear, Suzie. Sharing is such a great way to get our posts noticed. Take, for example, this post. After reading and commenting on it I shared it on Twitter and SU. My tweet has been retweeted five times and, when adding up the number of followers each Tweeter had, shared with over 80,000 other people. Proof, to anybody who doubts Social Media, that sharing does work.

  8. Two years on with my blog, I feel I am only scratching the surface. It’s great to read your tips about increasing the ‘reader base’. I use twitter and facebook to publicise entries and this week have joined your #sundayblogshare on twitter for the first time. Hope that’s okay! Must investigate further and find other people’s blogs to read to see how it should be done! Thank you for your encouragement Suzie!

  9. Like Sharon, I’ve made choices (and had some choices made for me due to lack of time, poor health, etc.) to not join a lot of social media networks but the sound of a tribe does sound lovely and something you’ve managed quite beautifully. πŸ’–

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  11. My blogger community has so many kind of bloggers, I’d rather think that what brings all these peeps together (including myself) is basically our differences… (Hmmm, does that count as ‘tribe’?… πŸ˜•)… Have a great week! πŸ˜€

  12. Like you blogging has made a huge difference to my life and I’ve already met and spoke with some wonderful people that have been very supportive to me, your good self included! Definitely one of the biggest benefits of blogging.

  13. Gosh this hit a nerve! I have never been part of a tribe in real life – I put it down to having a sister 4 years older who was always pushing me away from her and her friends saying I was ‘a nuisance’.

    By the time I was 8 and she was 12, I had come to accept that I was ‘a loner’ – if my big sister (who I adored despite her constant rejection) said no one wanted me around, then it must be true and I saw myself as an unlikeable shit.

    All through my life, if I go beyond anything but be on the fringes, I feel panicky. So it was really weird to find I am the same in the blogging world – I can’t cope with being in groups – I get the same sense of panic I used to get when I was 8 and my 12 year old sister was yelling at me to piss off and die somewhere. Strange life this one – can’t wait to see what the next holds πŸ™‚

    • What an honest comment and thanks so much for sharing your experience. I was the eldest sister who despised the youngest, but had a reasonable relationship with the middle one. I was awful to her – being six years younger than me meant that we never had anything in common, and I made her repeatedly feel like she wasn’t wanted. In turn, when I went off to university our relationship broke down completely and we didn’t speak for about 10 years. Thankfully, we have started to repair our relationship over the last few years and are in a much better place!

      You’ll always have a tribe here Gilly!

  14. I started building my social media platform a couple of months ago and wish that I had had this advice then. It would have saved me a lot of trial and error.

  15. Since I got involved in the facebook group BUYB, I’ve gained some traffic yes. But the comradery in the group is what I love most. It gives me a lift when I don’t feel deserving or when I’ve had a bad writing week. There’s so much to learn from each other too!

  16. All of your suggestions are gold, Suzie. I have been slowly building my ‘tribe, ‘ and it has required patience but been very rewarding. Commenting on other blogs has been a fantastic way to connect with others, and as you say, it must be sincere, so I usually do it with people I connect with first. You can’t expect everyone to follow your blog without making an effort.

  17. The community you’ve built in the BUYB group is incredible. I do feel that many of the bloggers I’ve gotten to know through their writing and our mutual desire to support each other have become friends. It was through your Facebook group that I discovered true engagement with other bloggers. I am committed to helping them reach their writing and blogging goals and so inspired by the information shared and what I learn. I’m happy to be a member of the community, but someday may want to start my own. I’m glad I have you for a role model!

  18. I hadn’t thought about it in that way, but there really are two groups. I have friends I met six years ago who still blog and some who are social media supporters through groups. The groups are new to me, but I really love them and have met lots of bloggers that way. Already, many of them have crossed the line from supporter to friend. I met you through Austin’s blog!

  19. Great advice, and this new blogger (started in April 2017) needs all the advice she can get! The whole social media aspect has been a head-spinner as of late, but I’ve been having SO much fun. Thank you for another great post.

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