How to Build a Healthy Online Community and Tribe

Post by Ray 2 years ago - social media marketing - 0 Comments

Interest of the Community 

Communities are big on Google+.

There are huge public ones like the Google+ Help Community  with over 650,000 members and smaller private ones like my Marketing News, Views and Tips Community  with just over 200 members.

Big or small, public or private, the health of a community is measured by the interaction within it.

That was certainly the consensus on this week’s #RayBunch show on which we were grateful to have the expert advice from Mark Timberlake director of the online marketing company, SME Heroes as our special guest.


Mark Timberlake SME Heroes

Mark runs the successful Google+ Community: Online Video Educators & Entrepreneurs which is a “collaborative marketing community, creating educational residual income through learning together.” The Community comes out of his experience as an online trainer with udemy.

Do we set out to build a Community or a Tribe?

Like everything we do, professionally at least, we should have a plan in place before taking that first step towards our goal.

In the case of creating an online Community, it helps to be very clear why you’re creating it and what you hope to get out of it.

Do you want to offer a gathering place for your followers to interact and grow together? Or do you want a place to nurture a tribe of followers who will help you reach your goals?

Are these goals mutually exclusive?


What is the difference between a Community and a Tribe?

I asked Martin shervington owner of two successful Communities on Google+, Plus Your Life! and Plus Your Business! this question.

“Communities on Google+ can be huge, thousands of people wide. Yet a tribe are the closest knit group to us – 100, 150, maybe 200 people with whom we are most closely connected. 

People may have clicked ‘join a community’ and be a member, but are they really a part of it? That is the difference – and why it takes 100 or so people to start a movement.”


Mark’s opinion about “tribes” was very clear:

“A tribe is a group of people looking up and following one person. For instance chasing “influencers is a “tribe” mentality.”

A Community is people collaborating, working together.  a collective gathered across a common interest.

A community is run by a facilitator, a tribe by a leader.Click To Tweet

The core responsibility as a Community leader is to promote the people within the community.


Find a core group of people who will contribute to the Community and help them succeed.

It’s not what they can do for you but what you can do for them.


Why would anyone want to start a community?

Communities can send traffic to your website as well as help build your reputation.

A Community should have an end product that you can sell. That’s not to say you’re selling inside the Community but that you have a goal that will help you benefit from the time and resources it takes to build a nurture one.

But everyone in the Community gains if it’s a healthy one. Everyone learns.


Tips for building a healthy Community

1. Start with a core of active followers.

You want to start with people you already have a relationship with who will seed the discussions and sharing.

2. When you see people who are active engagers, make them moderators.

You can’t do it yourself. But be sure they’re generous and friendly. An advantage to having moderators is they can cover your shift in different time zones.

3.  Have very clear rules set out in the Community description.

4. Even if it’s a public Community, use the option to have people ask for permission to join.

This helps you screen for trolls and spammers. It makes everyone’s life easier.

5. It’s essential to build a “niche” Community.

It can be on the same topic as someone else’s but what you’re doing –  how you’re doing it and how you’re helping people in that Community has to be specialized. 

If you’re going to have a successful Community, it’s got to be a niche one.Click To Tweet

6. Promote members’ activities. 

Share and visit their blogs. Spotlight them inside the Community.

7. Use Google+ Hangouts On Air regularly inside the Community.

They’re the engine of a dynamic Community


The #RayBunchTake Out 

Are You Building A Community or a Tribe?

Lunch Bunch Take Out

At the end of each #RayBunch show, we leave you with our Takeout – links to resources that provide you the opportunity to dig deeper into our featured topic.

Here are the Takeout links Jessica Dewell,  B.L. Ochman, Scott Scowcroft, and me  shared: 

(Click on image to be taken to web sites.)


1. How to Build a Super Tribe using Google+ – by Martin Shervington – (shared by Scott)

How to Build a Super Tribe


2. The New Power of Collaboration – by Howard Rheingold  – (shared byB.L.)


New Power of Collaboration


3. Evergreen Content & the Seven Habits of Highly Successful Marketers – by AMAmarketing – (shared byJess)

Evergreen Marketing



4. 12 Keys To Building Your Online Community  by Dvid Siteman Garland – (shared by Ray)

12 keys to building community


What tips do you have for building a strong Community or loyal Tribe?


Join us each Tuesday at 12:15 pm ET. You always have a seat at our table!

Do you need help with your Hangouts On Air or with Google Plus? Contact me here and let’s talk.

If you’d like to receive marketing news, views & tips delivered to your email box, subscribe to my weekly Newsletter.

About Ray Hiltz

Thanks for dropping by. I'm the Director of Digital Marketing for My background in business includes non-profit (performing arts), restaurants and Promotions. Having moved on from my own strategic consulting company, I now write about what interests me. So in this blog, you may read about my thoughts on marketing, health issues and business culture. You can follow me on Twitter @rayhiltz or @image24Call

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