Do you have a tribe? Seth Godin says a tribe is a group of people connected to one another, to a leader, and to an idea.
A tribe is not necessarily a geographic group of people bound together by proximity and family. A tribe can be a group of people centered around a single idea, like being baristas, being writers, or being accountants.
How to be in a tribe
Here are four steps you can take to find, or at least start, your own tribe:
1. Check out Meetup.org
If you live in or near a large city, check out Meetup.org.. That’s where other people who are interested in your same area will go to find each other, and seek out any groups of like-minded people to gather with. Whether you’re a writer, photographer, hiker, or entrepreneur, there are groups in a lot of cities that gather.
Keep in mind that these will not be all of the people in your community, just the people who have signed up for Meetup.org. There are plenty of people in this field or area who aren’t part of the group. So don’t limit your efforts just to this.
2. Search Twellow.com
Twellow is the Twitter Yellow Pages (Twitter + Yellow = Twellow. Get it?) It searches Twitter bios for specific keywords. If you have a Twellow account, you can place yourself in certain Twellow categories, even if you don’t have those terms in your bio.
Search for people who have the keywords of your tribe and start following them. Set up a public Twitter list, and place all your new people in your list. Start monitoring the list closely, and talk with them about your shared passion.
3. Join a LinkedIn Group
Depending on your chosen field, there may be an already-established LinkedIn group you could join. Join the group, participate in the discussions, and connect with your fellow group members to increase your network and find more people.
If there isn’t a group, start one, if it’s appropriate to LinkedIn. (Some interests are more fun/hobby related, rather than professional.) Invite other people to join you, and use that as a place to gather, ask and answer questions, and develop and lead your own tribe.
4. Look for a niche network or forum
In some cases, there may be forum discussion groups you can join, or Ning-like networks. These forums are based on particular topics and interests, and will have message boards you can contribute to. They’re for the serious, die-hard users, because they typically don’t have all the bells and whistles of other social networks.
Most of the forums I’ve seen tend to be more focused around hobbies, although there are also some business-related forums, like manufacturing and travel.
The best way to do any kind of networking, whether for business or personal satisfaction, is to find your tribes, because they’re the people who know what’s going on in your community or industry. These will be the people who can point you toward conferences, organizations, meetings, or other knowledgeable people in the industry. Remember, the bigger and more tight your network is, the bigger and better the opportunities you can find.
Erik Deckers is the owner of Professional Blog Service, and the co-author of Branding Yourself: How to Use Social Media to Invent or Reinvent Yourself. His new book, No Bullshit Social Media: The All-Business, No-Hype Guide to Social Media Marketing, which he wrote with Jason Falls, is in bookstores and on Amazon now.