In January, I entered a challenge on a women’s social media network site called SITS. At the time, I was pleased with the connections I was making through this blog and especially the forum I created to reflect on my conversion and journey.
I also thought it was time to jump into different waters. I was meeting with and making connections with other Catholics which was great, but what about everyone else? What about other writers, bloggers, mothers and women? What could they add to my journey? What could I add to theirs? What could be learned?
Enter, this tribe. It started out as the leftovers.We were late to the party, as in, we didn’t sign up in time to be assigned to a group, but we were still encouraged to participate in the activities. I asked to join them, and that was it. It’s quite possibly the best thing that could have happened to me. This is why we call ourselves Outliers. We were left out of the original group assignments but it turned out to be the most successful collaboration we’ve engaged in.
Why do you need a tribe exactly? Jen, who you’ll meet in a second, went to BlogU and learned about the effectiveness and even the need for tribes as a blogger. She came away with a quote that encompasses the why of tribes: “A rising tide lifts all boats. It’s actually a JFK quote. So true! When we help each other all our boats rise together”.
I’ve written about them before, but here they are again, my tribe:
This group is such a wealth of compassion, generosity and chutzpah that I don’t know if I would be the writer, blogger and friend I am today. That’s just within six months of consistent, most times daily interaction with these women online. We recently had a Google hangout and were so excited to see each other that we ended up placing stickers on our faces. We really do work hard though, I promise. With stickers. 🙂
So, from the top left here’s what they say this tribe has done for them in their lives, blogs and relationships. By the end of it, I’ll share how you can get started, how to be a great tribe member and what it’s like to be part of a tribe. I hope you’ll be inspired to seek out one of your own.
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Charity of The Wounded Dove says: This group has become a place I can let my hair down. I can be brave and I can be scared. We’ve mastered the philosophy of “help others become great and you help yourself become great”. Our diversity has brought so much to the table, we see life differently from each other, but we’ve given each other permission to see it our way and share it our way, and from that freedom we’ve stretched our own minds and life. We’ll hold each other’s hands while we hurt, but then we’ll say, “get back up, girl, and go after it”. You’ve all have become an e-family to me!
Jen of JVKom Chronicles says: Moved to WordPress!! Set social media goals and have started to hit them! Featured on SITS. Starting hosting link ups. Landed a few paid writing jobs. Featured on Scary Mommy!
Julie of Julie Unplugged says: Increased attention and effectiveness on social media channels including consistent increased engagement on Facebook; New website opening September 15 (lots of hand holding from y’all there); finished AtoZ as well as several other blog series. Without knowing it, y’all kept me centered. More focused on health and wellness. Starting a vlog series. Transforming both A to Z series and the series I’m working on now into Kindle books and then into paperbacks. Great to know you are out there, always, and if I need you – even when I don’t know I’ll need you, you’ll show up.
Lena of Uncreative Mommy says: After seeing all your BEAUTIFUL blogs I decided to do a redesign on my blog and now I am IN LOVE with it and feel like it’s actually finally put together and since then my blog has had more views and I have gotten a lot more Sponsored post opportunities, my blog is finally making some money WooHoo!!!
Mary of Homeschool Antics and Living a Sunshine Life says: I’ve gained more confidence and focus. I’ve learned some new stuff thanks to you ladies. I’m feeling a lot better about running two blogs. You’ve inspired me both in my life and my blogging. You make me smile. I can bring ups and downs to you guys and you’ll either celebrate or support me…soooo many things. I know it’s just for our blog, but isn’t our blog an extension of who we are?
Sharon of Mommy Verbs says: I almost finished the AtoZ challenge. Ha! I started getting better about my editorial calendar. I’m being approached by possible sponsored posts folks but haven’t jumped in, yet. I’m being inspired daily by my tribe and believe that one day I will…
Sarah at Parent Your Business says: I have doubled the modest traffic to my blog, finished AtoZ, and just got an invitation to guest post. Plus I just love you guys. I get more support from you than just about anyone.
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Now, would all of these things happened for these ladies, including myself, eventually? Probably, maybe, who knows? What isn’t quantified with increased followers and word counts is support. When we’re confused, or maybe pitched something that didn’t get the response we thought we would get, or applied for a freelance gig and received radio silence, we can always go to our tribe and know that there will be words of advice, consolation and empathy but mostly, ways to jump back in and try again. Your tribe will understand the ups and downs of blogging – and also share in the geekness of stats, color palettes and blog migrations.
Personally, I have reached out to some of the group privately to tap their particular expertise in a situation. That’s what’s so great about it, you can gather information collectively and then also tap on one member’s specialty for further information and clarification. For example, when I wanted information on copywriting, I went to Sarah, she and I emailed back and forth and she gave me information and insight I would have spent hours researching on my own.
I was pushed by Charity to write more about things that I’d forgotten like memories that hurt, but because she’s Charity, she also pushed me to get on Instagram too. She’s deep and funny like that!
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How to be a great tribe member? Share, give and be yourself. Lather, rinse and repeat.
- Don’t be afraid to share your best stuff. There’s no competition because we are ourselves. That, in itself is unique and sets each member apart.
- Ask who needs help! Mary and Julie are really great about asking what we would love some extra social media attention on. They run the gamut from “what needs pinning” to “who needs Facebook page engagement”.
- Speak up. If you’re going on vacation, or have some life stuff going on, let your group know. Don’t just disappear, not cool man. Not cool.
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What do you talk about in your group?
- We post articles on what we think could benefit the entire group. If one of us finds it interesting, it’s a good bet that the rest of us will find it interesting as well. Or not, that happens.
- We share posts we’d like shared on social media or just read. Isn’t that why we blog, or write? To be read?
- We also share the personal and often unshared parts of posts that we write. All too often, blog readers will never know all of the story, but with this group, you can share a little more, and we do.
- We give tips and pointers on how to make posts more readable with specific audiences, post / series ideas or share blogging opportunities that we think others in the group can benefit from.
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How do you start your own tribe?
- Join groups online around niches you blog about, and maybe some you’d like to. I belong to a few and they are around blogging, writing and faith. I’ll share some below.
- Be active within those communities. What does that mean? That means liking (or +1) posts and links, adding your two cents with comments – make it three, no one can respond to “this was great” or “I agree” so make your comments engaging. If you actually read what’s being posted in your group, your responses will naturally be engaging and warrant a conversation. I promise.
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What if I’m a Turtle type, and not a Tigger? How do I go about joining one, not starting one?
- There are groups out there you can join that aren’t tribes per se, but are just groups around common interests. Join, one or all, and start interacting with people. There are always opportunities floating around to collaborate, guest post and crowdsource:
- Bloppy Bloggers: A group for active bloggers who are trying to build traffic and connect with other bloggers in their niche.
- Catholic Women Blogging Network: This Group is for all of us Catholic Bloggers (moms, single ladies, wifeys & more) to share ideas, thoughts, opinions, events, opportunities, and questions!
- Blogging on the Side: Your place to ask (and answer) blogging questions, connect with other bloggers and share about your blog!
- 10 Minute Novelists: 10 Minute Novelists are a group of time-crunched writers with big, big dreams and very little time.
- TipsyLit Book Club: Tipsy Lit is a community for literary lushes, so you know we had to start hosting our very own boozy book club!
- Catholic Bloggers: Sharing strategies related to blogging, social media, business, and communications from a Catholic perspective.
- Catholic Blogs: This community is for those on Google+ who desire to find and read great Catholic Blogs and to make connections with other Catholic Bloggers in a spirit of charity and love.
- Fabulous Blogging: This community is for bloggers who want blogging advice in real, plain English. It’s about learning how to be the best blogger we can be, without needing a computer science degree from MIT.
- Bloggers of Google Plus: A community to help increase your G+ followings and meet new interesting people. There are also sections to ask blogging questions, and groups where we help each others getting shares, comments, etc.
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I know there are some that don’t like the word tribe. I get it, I don’t like corporate jargon either, like “circle back” and “resource”. Call it what you want, Peeps, Team, Band, Nation, Clan, Dynasty, or The Nomadic tribes of the Sahara, it doesn’t matter, just connect, it’s not called social media so you keep to yourself. There’s all of these opportunities and people to learn from, why not explore those waters, I did.
Inspired? Have tips for others? Share them in the comments and I hope to see you in one of these communities!