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Seth Godin Creates a Tribe through Social Capital

Written by: Bill Sherman on Tuesday, 29 July 2008, 1:06 PM

Today, Seth Godin (long-time marketing guru and thought-leader) presented an interesting offer on his blog. It caught my eye because it offer some interesting insights about the intersection of thought-leadership marketing, social networks, and social capital.

His next book, Tribes, will come out in late October. If you pre-order his book and send an electronic receipt to a “jointhetribe (at),” you’ll be invited to join the beta of an online community that he’s created. Here’s the core of Seth Godin’s invitation:

I’d like to invite you to join a members-only tribe. A tribe for marketers, for leaders, for those focused on building communities or creating products or spreading ideas.

This online community will live on a site we’ve created that will feature blogs, forums, social networking, comments, photos, videos and a job board. And it’s by invitation only until October. Spots are limited and early members get privileges and bragging rights.

Over the years, Seth has built a powerful personal brand as a marketing guru. He creates compelling offers that causes you to lean in and become interested his projects. When he’s at his best, he launches infectious marketing ideas.

Here, he uses narrowcast blog-marketing to launch a new social networking tool. As a marketer, he’s invited us to join the cool kids (or is that the “Cuil kids”) for the low cost of pre-ordering a book.

Let’s look at Seth’s offer from the concept of social capital. His blog represents a social network filled with many weak ties. Seth may know some small percentage of his readers by name, while many blog readers never comment or interact with him. Many readers do not know each other. Thus, there’s an affinity network that contains many structural holes.

Users receive the opportunity to connect with like-minded people–increasing the density of ties (closure) within Seth’s fanbase network. If individual fans actively use the tool, they will expand their network’s reach beyond their hometown or their company. They will meet new people, discuss ideas, and perhaps even locate jobs (all classic social capital opportunities). The project will also strengthen the fabric and health of Seth’s social network

Seth’s offer works because its relevant and seves the needs of network:

  • He already has developed a fanbase (a specific type of social network).
  • He has invested in his fanbase (his social network) for years. He’s provided regular (almost daily) smart insights for free on his blog.
  • His request isn’t just “pre-order my next book.” He’s offering something interesting in return.

As I’ve said, builiding your network isn’t something you do in just a day or a single year. You have to invest day-after-day. You have to be authentic and relevant.

3 Responses to “Seth Godin Creates a Tribe through Social Capital”

  1. Dan Hawthorne Says:

    Based on the conversation that we had the other day, you’re right… Seth has taken Cialdini’s principles of persuasion and dumped them full of rocket fuel. He’s taken at least three of the principles that I can identify at a glance and really put them to good use.

    In fact, I may snag this and do a post about how he’s used the psychology of persuasion to his advantage.

    Heck, I’m sort of interested in getting that book and getting in on the online community now, just from what you’ve written here.

    July 30th, 2008 10:39 am

  2. 2008 August 01 | Cogniphany Says:

    […] friend, Bill Sherman, posted about Seth Godin’s “Are you in the tribe?” […]

    July 31st, 2008 8:42 pm

  3. Why Was Seth Godin’s Tribes Offer So Compelling? | aha-moments Says:

    […] Post: Seth Godin Creates a Tribe through Social Capital « Google Alerts with a Human Touch function checkForm() { function checkEmail(id) { […]

    July 31st, 2008 10:54 pm

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