Every tribe has their own language.
Sometimes that Language is easy to understand. Most of the time it’s not.
Sometimes a tribe’s language is all about words. A tribe’s experience and values gives certain words different meaning and weight than in other tribes or in our culture as a whole. Sometimes a tribe’s language extends to images, video, music, or other forms of expression.
Failing to speak a tribe’s language, or attempting to speak one without being fluent, will at best leave you tolerated and at worst get you laughed out of the community. To truly connect with your tribe, you must speak their language like a native. Not familiar with using tribes instead of demographics in your marketing strategy? Check this post out.
Sometimes You’re Already a Native…
If you’re courting your tribe, your business is probably in its infancy. It’s small and nimble, and you’re personally involved with most of its operations. What’s more, you’re passionate about what you’re providing. You may already be fluent in your tribe’s language.
If your new app is helping gamers connect with each other in new and amazing ways, you’re likely a gamer yourself. You can speak their language with ease, you know all of the in-jokes, and you know what your tribe will respond to best. Even better, you know which words and ideas to avoid to keep from sounding out of touch.
…But Sometimes You’re Not
If you’re not already a part of your tribe, your attempts to speak their language aren’t likely to be as effective. Just like two people speaking a second language to each other, communication will be difficult and rife with misunderstanding. And just like your 10th grade Spanish class, learning your tribe’s language requires study time.
Listening is one of the first steps in learning any foreign language. Listening to how your customers speak in the spaces where they feel most comfortable clues you in on the vocabulary they use the most. Location is important here. If your tribe hangs out on Instagram, images probably make up a large part of their language. If you’re more likely to find them on Reddit, memes, in-jokes, and text-based comments have a bigger role to play.
Speaking is the next step. Interact with your tribe in their preferred environments. Talk shop. Get to know how they feel about the types of products you’re offering, as well as how they view your competitors.
Evaluating your proficiency as you go lets you determine your level of fluency. Leverage feedback loops to learn how your customers are reacting to your messaging. If your tribe is indifferent to your attempts to speak their language, keep listening and speaking to sharpen your skills.
Finally, remember that all language is deliberate. You could learn to speak a foreign language by reading random sentences out of a phrase book, but everyone around will be able to tell you’re not a native speaker. You can only gain fluency by refining your skills and opening yourself up to the language’s nuances. Your tribe’s language is no different.
So what makes your tribe’s language unique? Are you already fluent, or are you taking steps to learn? Drop us a line to let us know more about your experiences!