Author and speaker Jeff Goins recently joined #bufferchat to share some awesome expert tips on building your online tribe.

Read on for the highlights, or catch the full Storify recap here!

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What does it mean to build a tribe online?

From Jeff:

  • Building an online tribe means finding your true fans, the people who will help your work spread.
  • Something I’ve learned about building a tribe is that it’s not who you know, it’s who you help.

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More great advice:

  • “Finding people with whom you share common interests, but also who you can share with and learn from.” @martinlieberman
  • “Building a tribe means building a group of like-minded individuals who support each other (community).” @YouTooCanBeGuru
  • “Create a community that supports each other and you. ” @kimreynolds

What tools do you include in your workflow to stay connected to your tribe?

From Jeff:

More great tools:

What is most effective to authentically connect with your audience?

From Jeff:

  • Share a struggle, some pain point you’ve having. Be vulnerable in an uncomfortable way. People connect with humanity.

More great advice:

  • “Talk to them. Take the time to engage one-on-one with your community. Make them feel special – they deserve it.” @cbarrows
  • “To connect you need to be genuine, offer valuable insights & appeal to your community’s needs.” @liliholl
  • “I like what @annhandley says, you need “pathological empathy.” Always be thinking about your audience’s needs” @mikehale
  • “Respect the medium, complement your goals. Do Instagrammy things on Instagram. Do Pinteresty things on Pinterest.” @andymci

What do you strive for: more community members or more engagement?

From Jeff:

  • Can I say both? 🙂 More engagement. Doesn’t matter if you get more eyeballs if they’re not looking at you.

More great advice:

  • “I like to focus on more conversations, connecting more people that share a common purpose and passion!” @iSocialFanz
  • “Vicious cycle. More engagement leads to strong community members, and stong community members lead to more engagement” @AaronFriedman
  • “Engagement is also much more fun than simply counting the numbers.” @kid53
  • “A bigger community brings new ideas and doesn’t lead to a stagnant rehash of old topics. And I love meeting new people.” @Ares_0926

What do you know now that you wish you knew at the start of building your tribe?

From Jeff:

  • I wish I would’ve been prepared for the fact that people wouldn’t like my work & there’s nothing I can do about that.

More great advice:

  • “Providing value is what it’s all about. If you provide value to the tribe, they’ll spread it for you. Have to give to get” @mcartertweets
  • “Always support and be positive and try to help.” @PetrPinkas
  • “Actually I embrace all of the missteps along the way. Social Media is all about experimenting, & it’s the best way to learn.” @lifeofrileyNYC
  • “You don’t always need to be the “starter.” You can get as much traction by being an engaged member of someone else’s comm.” @bberg1010

Best books on building your tribe:

Thank you so much for everyone who joined in on this great chat! Catch #bufferchat each Wednesday at 9 am Pacific/noon Eastern and join our Google+ community for the latest news.

Do you have any comments or answers to these questions? Leave your thoughts in the comments! We’d love to hear from you!

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Written by Nicole Miller

Community Champion at Buffer 🙂 When I’m not connecting with amazing community members, you can find me writing, reading or blogging about my urban homesteading adventures with 15 chickens, four ducks, two dogs and a horse.

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  • David Papandreas

    Great article Nicole and Jeff! I wish I was on the #bufferchat with y’all! 🙂

    Dan Kennedy also talks a lot about this and as he refers to it as your ‘Herd’. There’s something just as important as building your tribe or herd, and that’s maintaining the fence around them and protecting them. As he puts it in his book No BS Direct Marketing, “…if your fence is in disrepair, and all your cows get loose and wander off or stampede, what good is all that other stuff… you should remember there are poachers and rustlers trying to steal your customers every single day. If you leave your customers alone for very long, if they feel ignored or under-appreciated, they’re more easily lured away.”

    Consistently staying in touch with and helping your tribe is vital to keeping your ‘fence’ in good condition and I don’t think anyone does a better job than Buffer. Your team seriously rocks it!

    In case anyone wants to read more about How to Put a Fence Around Your Customers, here’s the link to the google books version where you can read about it for free 🙂

  • JothyWhite

    Well it seem that you know what you’re talking about Jeff 🙂 Engagement is truly vital, it’s much more important than numbers. As for me i maintain 1:1 follower/following ratio, in my opinion it’s the best way to show your attitude towards your subscribers. Sometimes i check mine by using, it can get rid of 5000 unfollowers per day, so i don’t really have to worry about that. Btw i’m talking about Instagram solely;) and if you don’t track your flock with some statistical app like iconosquare that i use your competitors can intecept them, or you can use it to do the same with your others in your niche.

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    You don’t say! That’s awesome to read such advices. In any case, if you aren’t a penny pincher, it would be much helpful to enjoy that brings active followers almost for nothing. i don’t want to praise it to the skies, but it’s worth it.