As someone who has been in the social media/blogging industry for over 10 years now, I've seen many groups come and go. I've had many relationships come and go. I've learned a lot from every experience and instance. And, like with life, you cannot allow these experiences to define who you are and what your goals should be. Maintaining a positive and engaged social media tribe has a lot to do with being consistent, knowing that you will fail but getting yourself right back up again and moving forward.
1) Connect offline- It's all fun and games until you have to meet in person. It can be a scary thing but honestly most relationships no matter how much you feel you know someone, only grow when you meet them in person. Being virtual friends can be amazing and you might not be able to meet everyone in person, but some of our strongest bonds are created when we can connect offline and talk about something other than social media and blogging.
2) Reciprocate- If people follow you, follow them back. If people like your posts, like their posts back. If people share your content, share theirs as well. Its common sense and common courtesy. You would think that right? But, that's not always the case. What do I say, do it anyway! If people can't or don't see that you are being a supporter of their work then you don't have to be "friends" but you shouldn't do these things if you aren't truly genuine about it. I've over the years learned to share everyone's content. Especially those who support me. It's become more of a takers'land than a giver... become a giver. Especially if people have good content.
3) Reach out and Be Yourself- It's so easy to get caught up in who you want to be online versus who you really are. Who you are online should reflect your brand but your brand should be true to who you are. It's hard and things can get complicated. Just know that no one is perfect and we are all trying to make things work. As they say, everyone is losing their shit, just some people hide it better than others. This is funny but true. No matter how well put-together someone may appear on social media, we don't know what others are going through. Be yourself, be kind and reach out to see how people are doing.
4) Be positive but Real- It's not easy to share happy positive posts every day. And, let's be honest, some days are crap and we don't feel happy or positive. Post on days when things are good and post on days when things are bad, but post the positive, light-hearted, problem-solving side of it. And, not just the problem. Trust me I go on rants all the time and keep it as real as it comes, but most people don't want to always hear the bad side of your story. I like knowing that yes, it's a bad day but I made it through. Or, yes, something not-so-fun happened today but guess what, I survived. If you can put a good, positive spin on posts it's always better.
5) Encourage each other- This is highly important, as you never know what others are going through or how your words may impact them. When I started blogging I was a new momma suffering from pregnancy and post-partum depression. The more I shared my feelings, thoughts, and words, the more I realized that there were so many of us out there and that we weren't telling each other about it all. This helped me seek professional help and get through some of the toughest moments of motherhood. All it took was a few other moms telling me I could do it! So, share the encouraging posts and words, someone out there needs it.
6) Help one another- We all started at zero. That alone should be your motivation to help others. So, once you have some knowledge why not help one another? It's a simple notion that sometimes many don't (can't?) grasp. I understand that you, we, have all worked hard to be where we are. I get it, no one helped you. But, honestly, what goes around comes around. Whether you believe it or not, being a decent person pays off. Supporting each other climb those mountains and look over into the horizon, should be the norm. Just help each other out.
7) Be genuine and know that not everyone is meant to connect with you- I've been blogging since 2008, since then I have met, hundreds of people, only a handful have become my true friends. And, that's OK. We are meant to meet these people, connect at some level, or not and then allow life to take its course. Be yourself, and yes the rest will follow. Being yourself involves, knowing who you are. Because when those connections "don't stick" you have to remember that like with many other "careers" or jobs, some people are just passing through. And, working with difficult people is inevitable. But, when you work hard and are genuine in your intentions, there is no need to stress about who comes and goes. Know yourself and be happy with those people who come into your path, and/or leave it.
8) Seek like-minded women- Know that not everyone will have the same interest as you. So, things do go better when you actually seek out those women who are truly like you or like-minded. Not saying to be "cliquey" or ONLY stick to a certain group. You should expand your network every 3 months or so, but always seeking people in your niche, who you have traits in common with. I am a Latina Mom of two, a blogger with a college degree from the University of Houston, who works outside the home and knows Corporate America fairly well. I tend to gravitate towards women who are very similar to me. I also love working out, going to Target and drinking tea. So, the more I know who I am the better my network is.
9) Create Shareable Content- If you want your tribe to share your content, create shareable content. Know your audience. If you know most women in your tribe work outside the home, or not of a certain faith, or maybe don't have children, then you want to share items that they can relate to and feel compelled to share. And, vice-versa, if you know your audience is mostly moms who are of a certain faith and work from home, then your content should be geared towards them. Or if your audience speaks mostly Spanish, then share items in Spanish, maybe not every post, but every so often. Most of us love to share memes and items we think are funny or great, but when it comes to growing your tribe you need to think about your audience and what they would like to see and read.
10) Don't take anything personal- Easier said than done. As I stated earlier, not everyone is meant to connect. You will not always agree with people and their posts or point of view. Remember that if you are using your social media as a business then you don't want to take anything personally. You don't know what others are going through or what their views are, don't worry if people don't follow you, or share your content or support you. We are all different. Again, we are humans, right? This is easier said than done. But, don't be discouraged and keep moving forward. People will always have an opinion and they can think what they want, you continue to do what you do because someone out there is wanting to read it.