Encouraging Repeat Business: 3 Ways To Build A Tribe Around Your Brand

Email marketing and social media together are powerful tools for building a following for your business. But how can they help you as a local small business owner?

Welcome to the tribe mentality. Your tribe is a fiercely loyal following of customers who are excited about your business.

Using the connecting power of social media and the communication power of email, you can effectively build your following where it matters most – right in your own community.

Start Offline

Building a “tribe” means building relationships with your customers. Email campaigns and social networks extend your reach to locals who might not have noticed your business before. But that doesn’t mean you can give up building relationships in person.

Get involved in community events. Growing a local business is about getting to know the people who support you. Set up a table at the annual street fair. Arrange events with other shop owners on your block. The more relationships you can build in your community, the more buzz your business will get.

Get Social

Social networks have the power of connecting people to each other – and if some of those people happen to be talking about your business, that helps create a bigger fan base for you.

Building a tribe means connecting people who are most passionate about your business with each other. As Seth Godin mentions, “It gives them a story to tell and something to talk about.” And social media talk = free buzz for your business.

What stories will you give people to tell? Here are a few ideas bound to get people fired up and wanting to support you:

Share Your Successes

Whether it’s winning a local competition or breaking an awesome sales goal, share it on your social networks so your customers can see what they’ve helped you achieve (and spread the buzz themselves!)


Lucky’s Last Chance, the People’s Choice Award winning burger joint in Manayunk, Philadelphia, PA

Share Insider Secrets

Nothing gets a fan base fired up more than a sneak peek at insider info. Beauty subscription service Birchbox knows this, and knows how to build up buzz with anticipation:

Share Your Customers’ Stories

Did a customer send you some positive feedback? Quote it on your social networks. Has your establishment done something to make a customer’s day better? Brag a little bit. This shows your human side and builds your cred when others see how much you value your customers. Who wouldn’t want to support a business like that?


Wexford Jewelers congratulates a new couple who got engaged with one of their rings.

Tie It Together With Email

Social media connects your customers to each other around your brand. Email connects you directly to your customers.

Email encourages loyalty from your customers. Someone who found you on a social network or stumbled across your storefront on a Saturday afternoon might not feel inclined to buy from you. But when you’re in their inbox regularly, customers who might otherwise have been one-time visitors will remember you first the next time they’re ready to buy something.

Your email campaign can also tell your business’s story to further connect with new customers. Write a welcome email that personally introduces you or your staff. Talk about how you got here and why. Let them in on a personal level.

Telling your story can even be as simple as using inviting language. DailyCandy is great at this, gushing about things they love and want to share with you, too.

Sharing your story can even be as simple as injecting a little personality into your emails. Shanalogic always includes a small anecdote from the owner:

Your Brand Is Your Community

Making your brand a community unites your customers. Who doesn’t want to be a part of something? And ideally, they’ll invite more people to join them.

What are some ways you’ve built a community around your own business? How has it worked for you?

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9 Comments

  1. Sharing is caring. Good connection between email and social media. Generally we focus on one. Thanks

    5/13/2013 2:41 pm
  2. I’m all about connecting offline with local offline business owners. I’m even a member of my local chamber or commerce location. It probably doesn’t make sense at first thought, but i’m perceived as the resident internet marketing expert there. This is how i connect with others.

    5/13/2013 9:09 pm
  3. Great post. I agree that building a brand starts with relationships. Engaging your audience regularly can pay off dividends in the long run.

    5/14/2013 3:17 pm
  4. Donna

    I was employed by a firm that used the newsletter approach from each branch. At our branch we added a half a dozen clients per week and after a couple of years we had hundreds of people that loved our ‘market updates’. After we were purchased by a larger company, that email list was used for an official corporate newsletter, branded as coming from me (their contact) I loved that part, because I didn’t have to come up with content anymore. I found it a two edged sword, I also had more to read to keep up, and lost the pulse of my clients. Still, both ways, I would get about a dozen email’ thank-yous and a couple of inquiry/questions every monthly market update campaign, it was a great way to keep my name and my firms name top of mind.

    5/14/2013 3:54 pm
  5. Awesome list, I agree with them all. Sounds funny, but with the advent of social media, many so-called social media experts claimed that email is dead. Far from it. Email is part of what allows a deeper conversation.Thanks for sharing these tips!

    5/15/2013 3:35 am
  6. I liked the start offline info, why go searching all over the Internet when you got customers on your doorstep.

    5/16/2013 5:53 pm
  7. Hi everybody,

    Yes, this strategy is very simple, yet powerful. I’m still in the process of testing out my own email campaign, I might have to readjust it. Thanks,these kind of posts are very helpful.

    5/17/2013 4:59 am
  8. Solid content Rebekah, social media is great for building relationships with your customers and to create buzz about your products and services. Thanks for the informative blog post.

    6/11/2013 6:31 pm
  9. Many people make quite a bit of money by filling out surveys and participating in online studies. There are numerous websites that offer this kind of work, and it can be quite lucrative. It is important that you check out the reputation and validity of any website offering survey work before joining and supplying your sensitive information. Make sure the site has a good rating with the BBB or other consumer protection agency. It should also have positive reviews from users.

    2/22/2014 1:07 am

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