Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Triiibes in Macintosh space

Recently I’ve been taking part in a number of discussion about tribes, bought into being around Seth Godin’s new book, “Tribes”.

Now I’m not a marketing guru. In fact I know almost nothing about marketing. So take my words as one who speaks as a layman.

Seth has some great ideas about what constitutes a tribe, how to build a tribe and how to use a tribe in marketing - both as a target and a tool.

This was all good information for me as I am trying to build an online tribe.

In my day to day working environment I find myself fairly well isolated. I’m the sole Macintosh expert in the entire central IT department at a major university. There are some people who know a little more than average about the Mac but I am the only person who spends their entire day devoted to Mac issues. To make matters worse there are a number of staff who are openly hostile to Macs. As a result I realised there are probably a fair number of Mac admins and support staff who are just like me. I looked around for an online home and discovered there really isn’t one. Some Mac sites are are devoted to the “hackers” who play around with their Mac and discover a neat way of turning the Dock orange or some such. There are also sites for people who are working at places that have a thousand or more Macs with a large infrastructure and servers devoted to them who engage in serious discussion about their big problems.

There was no site devoted to guys like me in the middle tier who spend their days slowly improving the way the Macs work in a Windows world and keep on answering the same questions from level 1 support staff.

So I started one - Macintosh Tech People. It’s just a small site at the moment. It has a blog, a forum and a wiki. How do I go about building a tribe? At the moment I’d have to say I’m failing. Sure the site gets some visitors but no one else is adding to the wiki, no one is speaking up in the forums and no comments are being made on my blog posts.

I’ve sent out word to my friends, I’ve tweeted about the site, mentioned it on my Facebook page and even put some lenses up on Squidoo with a link to the page. I’ve also taken part in the forums on other Mac websites with a link to the site in my footer. So what next?

I’m giving value to the people who do visit. I have a number of useful blog posts, some informative and helpful articles in the wiki.

I’m providing a way for people to take part - if they register on the blog they can comment on blog posts, post to the forum and add articles to the wiki. It’s just that no one does.

These are all ideas I’ve gleaned from Seth and the other people at triiibes.com - a website built by Seth for people who pre-ordered his book, or at least the first few thousand. It's a great site, keep your eye on it as he may well open it up to the public once his book launches on October 16.

So what do you think? How should I go about building a tribe? I feel somehow that the tribe is out there, I just need to attract them to my space, tell them that it is there and they are welcome. I’d love to know what you’d suggest. How do you think a tribe can be built online? How do you attract people who might like to join the tribe? What do you need to give people to convince them to join and take part? These are all important questions as more and more of our community becomes an online one. Seth has tried hard (and suceeds quite well) in defining and answering these and other questions at triiibes.com and I eagerly await his book for more questions and answers.

Tell me what you think in the comments.