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Does “Tribing” Pay?

Social TribeI may be opening a can of worms on this one but I’m very curious to hear what folks are truly thinking about tribes with respect to the value they add to your overall business plan and goals.  In case you haven’t heard about tribes with respect to online marketing, the concept is derived from Seth Godin’s Tribes that advocates leaders step up to lead others in a given area or specialty and the those that follow form a community or ‘tribe’.  First, let me say that there are tribes and then there are tribes.

I do love the concept of tribes, particularly for bloggers where like-minded folks can gather, share and learn from one another, syndicate content, mastermind or possibly even collaborate on projects.  Rather then simply going it alone, a tribe can be the ideal place to meet great people, gain alternate perspectives, and a sense of community…a truly powerful concept.  The concept relies upon reciprocation and cooperation rather than competition.

An added benefit of ‘tribing’ is directly related to content syndication.  Depending upon the tribal system, you may either have an assigned day or accumulate points to earn your ‘turn’ and have your content shared by others in the tribe.  When the tribes stampedes through your site leaving comments and /or sharing your content on social sites you gain not only the traffic but social proof, and links from a multitude of IP addresses…a good thing in Google’s eyes.

The flip side of the coin (isn’t there always a flip side?) and the question I pose is what value that traffic has to your overall success?  Arguably, social proof, syndication and links provide enough value to make it worthwhile however, depending upon the tribe’s system, that may not necessarily be so.

In the not too distant past, I belonged to a tribe that seemed to be great on the surface but soon led me to question the tactic.  I did see tremendous spikes in my traffic whenever I posted something new but I also saw that as my traffic rose, so too, did my bounce rate.  If you aren’t familiar with Google’s bounce rate it “…is the percentage of single-page visits or visits in which the person left your site from the entrance (landing) page. Use this metric to measure visit quality – a high bounce rate generally indicates that site entrance pages aren’t relevant to your visitors.”  Google doesn’t like pages that aren’t relevant so this is definitely not a good thing.

Essentially, the system that particular tribe was using enabled folks to quickly share content without staying on a page.  No, that wasn’t the intent however, it was practice to many of the members.  Traffic gained was most assuredly superficial.  Folks were simply sharing and bouncing right away to claim more reciprocation points from other ‘shares’.  Fortunately, some tribal systems do promote deeper connections by also giving ”points” for comments, and other connections made on someone’s page which helps to resolve the bounce rate issue but a couple of my questions still stand.

Participation in a tribe means devoting valuable time giving, connecting and sharing before receiving.  Having said that and given the value of syndication, links and social proof, do you think that the value gained is worthy of the time given?  Does a page shared negate increased bounce rate?  Does a spike in traffic on one day each week outweigh the rest of the week?  And while I’m at it, what of social connection numbers?   Should they really ‘count’ if they are connections made purely for points in a system?  We all know folks who simply go after numbers.  Isn’t it more important to engage with one person than to simply connect with many?

What are your thoughts about the value of tribes?  I’d love to hear your comments.

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78 Responses to Does “Tribing” Pay?

  1. rebecca russell November 8, 2010 at 7:07 pm #

    Hi Linnea,
    Nice to meet you. This is my first time to use a tribe and then syndicate my blog. I am rather new to all of this. I did learn alot from you blog…what is a tribe…the bounce rule…and also the pros n cons of being a part of a tribe.

    For me, being a part of the TSA tribe has been a great benefit, learning lots and meeting great people online.

    All good things take time.

    Look forward to other posts.
    rebecca russell recently posted..IS SUCCESS EVERYTHINGMy Profile

  2. Perry A Davis Jr November 9, 2010 at 2:59 pm #

    Yes, Tribing pays for me. The TSA has been beneficial. One of the benefits is reading post like this which contains so much useful information. Most of the blogs that I have read are dedicated to sharing useful information not promoting their programs.

    The second benefit is the real training that one receives in the TSA. Not only is the information great, but the feedback (comments) helps one to really develop their skills. Linnea, thanks for sharing this post.

    Perry A Davis Jr
    Music City USA
    Perry A Davis Jr recently posted..What can we learn from William Gladstone and Benjamin Disraeli about connecting with peopleMy Profile

  3. Linnea November 9, 2010 at 4:45 pm #

    Hi Golda,

    I’m so glad you found this post valuable. Yes, I do believe that there are good tribes and so-so tribes and I believe you are working with a good one. TSA has a higher percentage of sincere folk who truly want to help each other succeed than some. You are right that as a minimum, you gain social proof (among other benefits) and yes, I believe you are also right about doing more if you want more although it isn’t always possible to do more even when we want to do so.

  4. Linnea November 9, 2010 at 4:55 pm #

    Hi Rebecca,

    Welcome! So happy to see you and great to hear that you are exploring new things. I think you’ll find the tribe experience to be one of value for you and yes, just one of the benefits is reading all manner of blogs, learning new things and meeting lots of different people. I hope you stick with it and continue to explore. Best of luck, to your success!

  5. Linnea November 9, 2010 at 5:06 pm #

    Hi Perry,

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head about one of the benefits of TSA. Most of the posts I’ve read as well, are sharing great tips and useful information. I have to say that I haven’t run into the constant promoter types which is a really nice breath of fresh air. I did belong to another tribe for some time that was quite the opposite so I appreciate it very much.

  6. Christine Casey February 19, 2011 at 9:10 am #

    Hi Linnea ~ I absolutely love the tribe I’m part of, and am so thankful for being introduced to this group and getting connected. I’ve made some wonderful friendships, and gained valuable knowledge about all kinds of topics…just from reading different blogs and interacting with all the great individuals who are actively a part of TSA. This is the primary reason I choose to stay part of the tribe. I have also the added benefit of frequent visits to my blog, and syndication of my posts which helps to get the information that I share out there with a whole other group of people that I probably would never have been able to reach. I personal feel being an active part of a tribe is WIN-WIN…and you do get out of it what you put into it. :-) Christine
    Christine Casey recently posted..Failure is not an optionMy Profile

  7. Linnea February 25, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Hi Christine,
    Thanks so much for sharing your story. I do think that folks can get a tremendous amount out of it and agree with you that you get out of it what you put into it. It can be a great add on to many strategies.

  8. Mike Sweeney @ Internet Home Businesses March 3, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    Looks like you have created quite a bit of interest with this post! My one and only experience with aa tribe has been with TSA. I can’t speak for other tribes but TSA has been a great experience for me.

    Syndication of content is one major benefit of tribes, when done correctly as you point out. But I think the real power people loose in the tribe is reaching out to network closely with the other tribe memebers. Everyone brings there own skill and unique talents. You can really tap a wealth of knowlegde.

    Mike Sweeney – TSA
    Mike Sweeney @ Internet Home Businesses recently posted..Legitimate Home Businesses 6 Myths To Niche ResearchMy Profile

  9. Linnea March 3, 2011 at 8:11 pm #

    Hi Mike,
    You’ve just got to love syndication but yes, I agree that there is great benefit in having the opportunity to network with others. Tribes certainly can provide a rich resource of knowledge to tap into. See you around the tribe!

  10. Glyna Humm May 17, 2011 at 6:03 am #

    Hi Linnea

    I understand both “sides of the coin” you are talking about. I guess you have to ask why you want to be part of a tribe and what you hope to get out of it before you can decide if it is a good thing for you specifically. I love being part of a tribe because of the connections I make and also the traffic it brings to my blog which keeps me “relevant” as far as online marketing goes. Now have I actually seen more profits just from belonging to a tribe – not really because the traffic is mostly from the other tribe members. But – again that is not my “why” for blogging and belonging to a tribe:) So again I guess it all comes down to what you hope to gain.
    Glyna Humm recently posted..Appreciation Marketing – A Must Read For Home Business Owners!My Profile

  11. Lynn Jones May 18, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

    You have raised some valid concerns about Tribing. I would have to agree with your point of gaining numbers to just be the winner instead of really spending time getting to know the blogger.
    I know this was posted quite some months ago. I would be curious to know how your views have changed and if they have. You must have had a chance to test being a part of a tribe.
    Great value with valid questions about Tribes.
    All the best to you!
    Lynn Jones recently posted..Should We Really Hug Our CustomersMy Profile

  12. Linnea May 23, 2011 at 12:35 pm #

    Hi Glyna,

    Boy, you hit that nail on the head! Yes, it honestly does boil down to your “why”. This business of ours can be somewhat isolating if you aren’t careful and for that reason alone, I believe tribes have great value. As you say, the connection potential is awesome not to mention the other benefits. It’s not always about the profits. You might just meet the next great partner for you and your business through tribing. You never know.

    See you soon.

  13. Linnea May 23, 2011 at 12:42 pm #

    Hi Lynn,

    Great to see you. Honestly, my views on tribing haven’t changed. It really is what you make of it, like any of the social media opportunities we have today. While I’m aware that many look at these systems and strategies as purely a numbers game, I do think that if you are willing to work it, there is terrific opportunity to make some great connections…IF you are willing to work it. I do believe that is how I was exposed to your blog which I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Keep it up and I hope to see you again soon.

  14. Hi Linnea!

    Thanks for this post.

    We are also part of 3 tribes, and are trying to decide which one would work better for us. We love the “spirit” of the tribes and how great it is to connect with others with similar interests.

    The challenge for us has come up when most of the blog posts we read related to a specific company we’re not part of (or not interested in) or when the article has nothing to do with our niche.

    Of course, we appreciate what others do, and it’s great to read about what others are writing about in other niches, but ideally most of the posts you’d want to read have something to do with your niche, not the other way around.

    That’s our humble opinion of course. Maybe we’re talking about tribetopia here, finding a tribe where all the blogs are separated into niches so you are not only commenting/reading about something in your field of interest, but also benefiting your SEO.

    Thanks for sharing!
    Tim & Sole | Online and Offline Marketing recently posted..How To Turn Your Customer Database Into a Living- Responsive Buyer ListMy Profile

  15. marquita herald May 30, 2011 at 8:58 am #

    Hi Linnea,
    I like your article – and certainly something to think about. To be brutally honest, until I joined TSA Mastery I was not a fan of “tribes.” I’ve belonged to a few – a couple fairly high profile. However was left feeling participating in those groups not a good investment of my time. In fact I almost didn’t join TSA thinking it would be just the same … delighted to say I was wrong!
    marquita herald recently posted..Making a Difference- Tunes 4 the TroopsMy Profile

  16. Linnea June 2, 2011 at 2:19 pm #

    Hi Tim and Sole,

    What a great comment! It’s interesting too, because I’ve had that thought in the past myself and I suspect that just might very well be tribetopia as you say. I propose that there may be a slight variation on that perspective. If in fact, the only folks you read are in your niche then you could be potentially eliminating your exposure to folks who might be interested in what you have to offer (e.g. buyers or even possible partners). I definitely see your point however, and perhaps we’ll see a tribe like that one day in the future. Sounds like a good idea for someone to try.

  17. Linnea June 2, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

    Hi Marquita,

    I’m so glad you decided to give tribes another try. It sounds as though you had a similar experience to that of mine and yes, some are better than others. I do still check in with myself every now and then to see if it’s still measuring up. So far, so good. Thanks for adding your thoughts to the conversation.

  18. Dereck June 7, 2011 at 1:18 pm #

    Hey Linnea,

    Thanks for posting on this subject!

    Since I’ve been involved in a few tribes who do syndicate, I have noticed an increase in my traffic on a daily basis. But one does have to wonder, does the increase that I do get in traffic a good quality source?

    A great deal of this is built upon the credibility of those who are syndicating and I have since become attuned to the possibility of un credible people sharing my content.

    This just reinforces the need to make sure you DO connect with those who you wish to syndicate with. It’s probably one of the most important things for your content value.

    Anyhow, thanks for posting and keep up the good work.

    Dereck recently posted..Life Force International (LFI) Review – Body Balance Winning FormulaMy Profile

  19. willie@freedom to be your own boss June 7, 2011 at 5:58 pm #

    Hi Linnea,

    A few months back I kept hearing about tribes but I did not know what they were nor how or if I could evne benefit from them.

    One day while reading some post at the Better Networker I came across a some comments about a syndication group called the TSA community.

    I clicked on the link inthe post which lead me to ore information on TSA.

    The TSA leaders offered you an opportunity to pot in to recieve more information on what they were all about.

    Afetr getting on their training it all, the tribe thing, began to make sense to me.

    As for the benefits of a tribe. Prior to joining a tribe I was posting to my blog, actually I had just started a new blog, but I was trying to post regualrly. However, comments on my first blog were far and few.

    That can get very discouraging and leave you asking, why even bother.

    I realize possibly not everyone in a tribe will be there with the right intentions, but, since joining the TSA tribe I have recieved some really great training, made some networking connections and read some great blogs that I possibly would have never come across.
    willie@freedom to be your own boss recently posted..Thou Shalt Not Spam- Online Marketings Golden RuleMy Profile

  20. Linnea June 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm #

    Hey Dereck,

    You are most welcome. I do think it pays to at least think through the pros and cons in order to determine whether or not a tactic will help you meet your overall business objectives. The whole question of traffic quality is akin to that of list quality. Who cares if you have a ginormous list if the list isn’t a good one…same deal for traffic. In both cases I’d much rather have a smaller list of focused followers than a larger non-responsive list.

    You are right that it reinforces the need to actually connect and not just play the numbers game.

    Thanks for stopping by.

  21. Linnea June 7, 2011 at 8:02 pm #

    Hi Willie,

    Wow, it sounds like you have really found some terrific value in your tribe. You raise a great point about the training as well. Some tribes don’t offer a good array of training so those that do, do have that added benefit. Congratulations on finding one that works well for you (and keeps you going!) I appreciate your candor in sharing your positive experiences. Thank you.

  22. Hans Schoff @ creating wealth July 5, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    Hey Linnea, I think the best way to utilize a tribe is to really connect with and interact with a few key others in a similar niche or with similar goals, activity, etc. It takes time to create that core group but I think it’s worth it for all the reasons you list. The more natural a tribe following the more google will reward the activity coming from that tribe. Just as someone who is looking to genuinely network online for the sake of networking to form a core group of others with similar desires and motivations, a tribe I believe works best in that way.
    Hans Schoff @ creating wealth recently posted..Creating Wealth – The Type Of Income You’re Making May Be Costing You The MostMy Profile

  23. Linnea July 6, 2011 at 10:21 am #

    Hi Hans,

    I couldn’t agree with you more. In fact, once you’ve found a ‘core’ group, you could potentially even create a mastermind or “sub-tribe” with that group to further capitalize on tribe benefits. It creates a win-win for not only you but for everyone in the group. It does take time to find those folks who will take is seriously but once you do find a good core group, everyone wins.

  24. Kevin Martineau July 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi Linnea:

    I believe there is great value in tribes. It allows you to get your message, product, etc. in front of way more people. Is some of the resulting traffic superficial, yes BUT you never know who may stumble across your page as a result.

    I have seen great success in my blog since being part of a tribe. It has also been a great way to meet lots of new people from various backgrounds.

    Kevin Martineau recently posted..Find the courage to ask for helpMy Profile

  25. Linnea July 14, 2011 at 7:53 am #

    Hi Kevin,

    You certainly do get much more exposure for your blog by tribing in addition to be exposed yourself, to many more blogs of a greater variety than you might otherwise be exposed. Congrats on taking action, trying it yourself and realizing success. Keep up the great work.

  26. I agree “tribing” has it’s pros and cons!

    I have been in a number of tribes over the years, even back when I didn’t really understand the impact, I just thought it looked like a really good idea.

    I do however lean more heavily towards the pros! (depending upon the tribe of course) Not only has it helped my ranking but I have learned a ton of new information by reading the blogs of others. But the biggest benefit has been meeting all the great people!

  27. Linnea July 17, 2011 at 6:14 pm #

    Hi Carla,

    That is truly one of the best benefits; being exposed to diverse sites and of course finding some really great information and people along the way. I’m glad to hear that you are enjoying your tribing experience and getting lots of good value. It sounds as though you found a good one for you.


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