Followers and fame are like the chicken and the egg: which comes first?
In my book… neither. What comes first is what counts: your unique magic that attracts both.
Sure, you can create "fame" with thousands of followers. However, most business opportunities come from individuals—one person who decides to give you the job. Usually, that’s based on your reputation (or word-of-mouth marketing).
In business and “the business,” having a large following usually means a captive audience one can speak to. There aren’t many shortcuts to fortune, fame and followers. Those that take them, such as buying followers, run the risk of losing their investments. Twitter and Instagram have run purges to delete thousands of fake accounts!
Before you begin focusing on growing followers, follow these four pre-requisites...
1. Determine your brand.
I have a unique process I walk my clients through to find and share their #1 self. It includes defining a larger why or purpose. This way, you don't fall into the trap of focusing solely on followers and likes. They're part of a larger mission. You're a leader giving people a clear and consistent reason to follow you. This branding work will also help you determine what kind of people you want to attract.
2. Get photos that support your vision.
Pictures say a thousand words. Unfortunately, we do judge a book by its cover. Photograph for the life/brand/career you want.
3. Design website and social.
Imagine yourself as a product in a grocery store. The design of your packaging as well as where it's placed affect consumer decisions. The online market for personal brands isn't much different! You must package and position yourself like a product. That means designing your website and social media channels. Take a look at celebrities or other role models for examples.
4. Link and sync.
Your website visitors should become social subscribers, and your social subscribers should become website visitors. Similarly, your email audiences should become website visitors and social subscribers through a custom email signature.
WARNING: Don’t become a size queen or fall into "compare and despair." Small followings are often the most active and engaged. Many large followings have been aggressively solicited over years—making them largely uninterested and/or robots. Growing real fans takes real work.
If you're up for it, here are the four steps to growing more followers...
Once you've taken these steps to "build the house," you can start working on your 24/7 party of followers!
1. Create share worthy content.
The best way to grow your fans is to have other people share your posts to their thousands of friends, fans and followers. Don't be too precious or analytical about what you share. You'll win some, and you'll lose some. That's part of creating. However, if you speak the truth, you never know when your words will ring true for others.
I feel so very bad for Miss Colombia, but also that Miss Philippines didn't get her moment & instead feels like she took something away.— Claire Buffie (@clairebuff) December 21, 2015
Note that hashtags and mentions aren't always necessary!
2. Leverage tags and trends.
Having said that, the best way to get "discovered" is through tagging—using specific hashtags, location tags, engaging in trends and tagging people you want to notice you. Similarly, you can go back and engage with content/users who've used those hashtags, location tags, trending topics or conversations with influencers.
3. Collaborate with influencers.
In business, one of the best ways to grow your audience is borrowing someone else's! You do this through guest blogging or Instagram takeovers, for example. Who has the audience you want? How can you offer them value in exchange for a spotlight in front of their audience?
This is the most aggressive. The idea is to follow those who may be interested in what you have to share. Provided you've taken the time to do the pre-requisites and your channels/content/reputation are all on point, you'll likely gain many new followers this way. However, if you don't, you can use a tool like Crowdfire to unfollow those people who aren't interested. No harm done.
How much focus do you place on followers? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.