Whether you are a student, new-grad #FreshPT, established professional, business owner, or find yourself within ranks of corporate management… building a following is a key first step to any semblance of marketing, branding, and business growth. A generation ago, building a following could be as simple a mailer, newspaper print ad, or local TV/radio spot. While these mediums still exist, our contemporary consumer is a digital shopper -and- it is within those mediums which we must now concentrate and master.
Today’s post is all about….!
How To Grow A Following
1. Establish Your WHY
The first two steps in building a following has more to do with you, than your soon to be followers. To understand the “what” and “how” followings occur, we must first understand “WHY.”
Once you have a why, a purpose, a creed, a calling… now, you a ready to craft your brand voice. This aspect is key to bridge the purpose with the passion… to make sure you identify your audience & that they can identify you. This is also a time to consider your champion channels and how your brand story will fit within those channels. If you have a story that is better written, then you may want to consider a blog. If you have visual story, perhaps Instagram, Snapchat, or even YouTube.
People are attracted to people; and, their experiences. It that special level of feeling connected that will draw your first fan. THAT, is a special moment… because, when that time comes, you are responsible for more than just you.
2. Create Content
I’m losing count on how many times I’ve said it… nevertheless, I’ll say it again:
Content is the foundation. Of what? Of EVERYTHING. Content is substance. It is the tangible and/or appreciable value of any given product, service, media piece, etc. If a service has poor content, it likely has little efficacy or value in terms of final result or overall experience. The same goes for a product that is deficient in doing the job it was meant to do.
Content. It’s simple, not easy. Continually creating unique, engaging, valuable, and helpful content is a labor of love… it needs to mean something to you… THAT is the only way to keep consistent.
B-to-the-Dubs… in case you want some pointers on what good content looks like, check out this post titled: “The Three “E”s of Excellent Content.”
3. Launch A Website
The website is the establishing digital footprint; the anchor of your online presence. Even if your website serves only as a landing page to funnel audiences toward your more dominant sharing platforms, the website still remains what most audiences will ultimately reference for most intents and purposes.
On an entirely separate but equal level: The website is also the only digital footprint that you can actually control. Unlike social media platforms and other sharing channels, you don’t have true ownership privileges on those venues. If Facebook were to go down or Twitter was to fold, people who are dominantly reliant on these platforms would come to panic. The website is the only digital real estate that we can own, purchase plots of cyber-(land)-space, establish infrastructure frameworks, and construct veritable buildings, homes, your digital storefront, and even entire communities.
Also, it tends to be the website that will have preferential attention whenever you tell someone about your passion and suggest they look you up. When they search, typically they search for your website.
4. Grow Your Social Channels
Social media isn’t a differentiator; it’s entry level — it is expected.
Do you need to be on every available social platform? No. Do you need to be constantly attending to all these digital footprints? No. HOWEVER, what you do need to be is…. surprise, surprise… you do need to be CONSISTENT.
Understand that every social platforms has its own behavioral norms, etiquette, evolutions, purposes, and cycles. Be sure to sync your brand voice with your content to the champion channels with preference, rather than being mediocre on all possible channels. After all, it is better to be excellent in a few areas than to be haphazardly in all areas.
5. Create Community
I submit that the final “secret” of building a following is that your goal shouldn’t be to build a following. Ultimately, the “desire” to build a following is, at its roots, self serving.
Just as I mentioned in the blog post “5 Negotiation Points That Will Make Them Smile,” don’t ask for money… ask about VALUE. Consistently bringing value, without ulterior motives or interests, is perhaps the single greatest secret in success as it pertains to building trust.
Bring value first, ask nicely later.
Adding valuable, positive, constructive, helpful… even life changing discussions, be they inspiration based, leadership oriented, or such that it empowers action — adding value first, shows your authenticity. It proves that you are the real article.
PS. Watch the clip at your own risk. #CueTheTears
You were warned 😉
A raw, authentic, generous spirit is one of the most powerful forms of trust building.
Do you have a passion? Do you have an aim? Are you driven to have that purpose shared? Would an audience help to achieve that goal? If your answers are, “Yes!” … My advice is this: Give. Keep giving. Give some more. Then, when the time is right, ask your community to support your dream… because, by then… there is no “you” nor “me”… there only exists “WE.”
Then… it becomes, our dream.
Some Closing Thoughts
In order to build a following, you need to have content worth following, have a purpose worth supporting, and ultimately, be a persona that leads in both thoughts and through actions. It isn’t necessary to have “what” you do become the cause of a following to gather around you. In fact, people follow the reason why you do what you do. It doesn’t necessarily mean you are or will need become the universe’s highest ranking expert on whatever cause you have passion for.
What it will mean, is that you are one of the most caring individuals in this “space of the universe” as it intersects the human experience — and that, is more than follow worthy… it is relatable.
And…! Just in case this post resonated… you just might wanna check out a related post from about a year ago titled, “How To Start A Blog In 5 Steps.”