Building Your Tribe

This is a guest post by Michael Roderick, a relationship strategist.

Many designers are interested in building a following for the work that they do. Whether you are looking for more orders for your fashion line, more visits to your website, or more people to attend the pop up and showings that you host, the main idea is to develop a tribe very quickly.

But how do you go about building that tribe when you are first starting out? Here is one very simple tool to get started.

Tell a story about a time you made a mistake and learned a lesson. Share that lesson.

It seems like one of the simplest things you can do, but trust me, when you really start digging you’ll find some of those stories very hard to type. It’s not always easy to show that you messed up but, interestingly enough, it will help others identify with you. There are plenty of other designers out there navigating the choppy waters of the industry and if you are able to provide some solid advice either via a blog or a video series, you'll find more people reading about you. The fashion culture is also now obsessed with the opportunity to see behind the scenes, and by creating content telling about lessons you've learned, you'll attract people in the fashion world interested in that story. 

Think of it this way: if you had to choose between a documentary about a designer who has to overcome adversity to build an amazing company with ups and downs and reaches new heights as a results of the lessons they learn, or a documentary that only showed you a designer succeeding at everything they tried. Which would be more interesting? 

We are drawn to stories and we are drawn to people who we can identify with. You have your own story that you are crafting about your brand that has hills and valleys. Tell that story and more people will be engaged. Your brand is about you. If you came from a certain neighborhood or your clothes are inspired by a certain artist or moment in your life, that is amazing content. Share it and people will start seeking you out. 

This builds your tribe. If your story is one that other people identify with they will share it with friends. Those friends will want to hear more stories and before you know it you have a group of people who feel connected to you and who want to hear from you and who ask you questions or have comments on what you wrote. They'll want to engage with you and your brand. They'll want to follow you on your business journey and if you consistently provide them with great content, they will want to advocate for you and connect you to more opportunities. 

Now not all of the stories you tell will resonate in the same way, but this method of writing will keep your readers coming back. When I started my first blog, I mainly just told stories and talked about what I learned from them. I also played around with metaphors and similes for the business I was in. Over time, I grew a nice following. A good number of my first readers still read this new blog today. The important thing is to stick with it. People will come to expect your content and they will send more people your way the better it gets. 

So get out there and tell the story of your brand, your designs, and your company.  It will help you build your tribe faster than most other forms of writing and once you hear from that tribe, you’ll be inspired to write even more.

And that’s great news for all of us.

Michael Roderick is a relationship strategist and the founder of The Connecting Connectors Conference. You can read more from him on his website and apply for the upcoming ConnectorCon HERE.  More insights can be found via twitter @michaelroderick