Networks are not tribes

Social networking sites are experiencing explosive growth in membership and activity.  And clearly most major organizations–corporate and otherwise–are dramatically scaling up their investment in all things social. Yet tangible evidence of success remains elusive.

Sure, it’s true that we are early in the development life-cycle, and undoubtedly it will be some time before we can measure the true impact of social media and commerce.

But I see something else going on. I believe that many brands fail to make the critical distinction between networks and tribes, and therefore risk getting it wrong. Connections lay the foundation. Tribes make things happen.

As Seth Godin lays out in his inspirational book, Tribes require a connection and an idea and a leader to propel meaningful change.

So attract more people to your site and continue to count your “followers” and your “friends” and how many people “like” your brand. It’s a good start. Necessary, but not sufficient.

But just showing up doesn’t cut it.

Activity is not engagement.

Visits don’t always lead to activation.

Interest is not passion.

When you convert your network to a tribe, that’s quality over quantity, that’s when the good stuff happens.



One thought on “Networks are not tribes

  1. A good example of this is Gary Vaynerchuk. He started just being social and soon grew to be Chief. Got a huge contract from Motts for just mentioning apple juice on his site. His tribe is dedicated and now he is a Brand in his own right. Book deals, promotions, life if good for Gary.

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