Name your tribe…Tuesday, February 16, 2016
BY HANNIFFA PATTERSON
Social media is about sharing and community. It’s about building your brand and the relationship you have with the customers you serve. These individuals then become your following, and hopefully your brand ambassadors (those who believe in your brand’s values and vision and share this with others).
Among social media professionals there is much talk of how to engage those who form part of our community/following/tribe. It’s often advised to post more or share more to increase engagement. In this post I’d like to share with you another solid and often overlooked way to turn followers into a consolidated, engaged and passionate tribe. This is to simply… give them a name.
Giving your followers or group members a name gives them something to identify with and feel a part of. It builds a sense of solidarity and mutual focus. Psychologically it is much more empowering and meaningful to say "I am a…" Instead of "I am a member of…". "I am a..." speaks to identity and belonging.
We see this behaviour occur naturally at colleges, on sports teams and in politics. For instance, I attended Wolmer’s High School for Girls. However, it is so much easier and more natural to say with pride that "I am a Wolmerian".
Some of the world’s most followed groups and individuals have, whether directly or indirectly employed this naming technique. Lady Gaga has her "Monsters", Rihanna her "Navy" and Justin Bieber, his "Beliebers". There is also Heat Nation, the following of the Miami Heats basketball team.
CHOOSING A NAME
The name is often first evoked by a passionate member of the group. So if you can’t think of a meaningful or impressive name to give to your following, just keep an eye out — it’s possible that a member in your community has already done so for you. Another option is to simply throw it out to them and ask them what they think they should be called.
If you have the exciting task of creating the name yourself, here are a few tips.
1. Can be a play on the group title, for example A Food Lover’s Facebook group based in Kingston, could name its members ‘KingstonFoodies’.
2. Should be catchy.
3. Does not have to be directly linked to the group title, but should at least highlight a core value of the group.
4. Should be short — ideally two words or less.
Finally, as with anything in social media, it has to be engaged with to have an effect. So use the name chosen regularly. Call your following by the name in posts and on the various social platforms. You could even create a group specific hashtag around the name, like #kingstonfoodies. Pretty soon, it will permeate the community, become truly appropriated and start to be used more frequently among the members.
So, does your tribe already have a name? If not, give them one!
Hanniffa Patterson is a social media strategist, consultant and trainer. She helps business assess their current social media programme and outline a strategy that will bring real results. She also speaks on various issues in social media and its impact on society. For speaking opportunities or help in your business, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
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