5 Steps to Developing an Online Following
Tom Law is a British entrepreneur and singer-songwriter. Having grown a following of over 100K across his social accounts and with 5M+ views on YouTube, we thought we’d ask his thoughts on how to develop a following. Off to you, Tom!
Developing an online following can be utterly life changing. Leadership and connection have long been at the heart of success.
I feel like many people often fall into the trap of thinking that growing an online following is what celebrities are supposed to do, and that as mere mortals we are supposed to simply be the ‘followers’. To connect only with our extended circle of friends and family. However, social media has opened the doors for everyone to become the leader of their own unique tribe.
The rewards are numerous too. Aside from the fulfillment gained from new relationships and the act of contribution itself, growing your following is a great way to develop your personal brand and it can make starting any venture — or developing a current one — far easier.
To explain the potential of becoming a leader of your own tribe, I ask you this: What would you be able to accomplish if you had 1,000 loyal and active friends? How about 100,000? Or 1M? From recommendations and social proof, to crowdfunding and an army of customers-in-waiting, the potential is vast.
How do we start growing our tribe though? It’s not like we’re famous movie stars… Here’s five elements that are crucial to gaining traction:
1. Choose Your Tribe
What type of people do you want to connect with and why? Perhaps you want to gear your tribe around your career or one of your hobbies. Maybe both? Think about what social media platforms you’re already most engaged on and the people you follow most avidly. What do these platforms and people have in common? Whether it’s digital nomads, working single Mums or ultra-marathon enthusiasts, knowing what kind of tribe you most want to engage with is the first step.
Connection is key. It’s the vehicle in which relationships are started and maintained. Try to make a habit of connecting online. Regularly reply to and repost others content in a constructive and thought provoking manner. Start conversations by posing questions and then be sure follow up to keep the conversation going. This is the lifeblood of any influencer’s success. Critically, be a regular. Woody Allen once said that “eighty percent of success is showing up”.
Now it’s time to step into the arena by beginning to create your own content. This doesn’t have to be a six-part documentary, (although it could be!). First, decide on the medium. Are you a budding photographer, perhaps you enjoy writing or are interested in making videos? Your tribe and the content you engage with most should point you in the right direction. Make it manageable by starting small. Perhaps commit to posting one video or blog post a week. Focus on delivering value to your tribe. How can you help?
4. Be Yourself (*sigh*)
This may be some of the most resented advice ever given! When it comes to relationships though, perhaps there isn’t a more cliché, yet profoundly true statement. Authenticity is at the heart of genuine connection. Sure, no one wants to know everything that goes on inside your head, but people do want to get to know the real you. Vulnerability and being open are powerful ways to connect. Also, this is your life! You’re in this for the long haul, any attempt to put on a show will be exhausting and inevitably fall apart. It’s much more simple and effective if you just… well, be yourself!
5. Forget About the Numbers
It’s the quality of your relationships that matters, not the quantity of people following you. Often we can become caught up in the counting of followers, but when it comes to relationships — online and offline — it really is a case of quality over quantity. Really, what use is 1M Twitter followers who never engage with your tweets? Better to have a hundred people who are incredibly active and loyal. Their passionate engagement is far more likely to gain momentum, attracting other like minded people.