For the record: followers mean jack, attention is king.
With that said, all of us (including me) started with zero followers. You’re not alone. Whatever your big idea is you are probably going to need people to know about it. The sad truth is that it’s now done via social media.
You’ll need a combination of shares, likes, views, recommends or whatever other form of measurement these crazy social media platforms decide to implement. These metrics equal attention and that’s how people are going to know about what it is that you do.
Let’s not pretend that social media is useless. That would be naïve.
In this bustling, new age world, everyone owns content now. Anyone can go viral and anyone can be heard. Some find this reality a sad fact, but then these same people find something to cry about no matter what so ignore them.
The journey from zero followers to thousands and even millions looks like this:
1. We all started somewhere
Quit your complaining we’ve all started at zero followers at some point. Starting with nothing and then building your community up is an amazing feeling. Embrace the journey of creating a following.
The game of comparing follower counts with others will distract you from creating content and force you into consumption mode. Then you’ll over consume and regurgitate all over yourself. Yuck!
2. Stop trying to game the system
You can’t buy followers and not have people notice. We can all scan your follower list and see that you cheated. More importantly, the number of followers doesn’t matter.
3. Engagement is everything
Ever seen a social media account with millions of followers and one or two likes/comments per post? That’s because the followers were paid for or tricked into liking the page. I’m going to say it again; the number of followers doesn’t matter.
What matters – if you are creating a community or awareness – is engagement and whether people care about what you’re posting. This can’t be gamed. People will only interact if you are doing and saying stuff that is of value. How do you do that? See the next point.
4. It’s not about you and your ego
That’s right. I don’t care, nor does anyone else, about what you had for lunch or who you met at the basketball. What we all care about is what’s in it for me buster?
If you answer that question and do so regularly, people will follow and engage you. That’s how you go from zero followers to millions.
5. It takes a while
Zero to a million followers takes times. Like interest on your bank account, your results will compound once you cross the tipping point.
What’s the tipping point?
It’s the point at which you have nailed the following:
– Your message to the world is clear
– It’s consistent (ideally daily)
– It’s unique (not better but different)
– It’s not about you and your ugly ego
– You give more than you ask for (Jab Jab Jab Right Hook)
When you do those things, your follower count and engagement will regularly start to increase.
6. You need a breakout moment
The way you do that is my channeling all of your energy and emotion into every piece of content you create. If you do this for long enough, then you’ll eventually have a standout moment. That’s a moment where the world listens and you go viral. It takes time though. You could be waiting five years young Power Ranger.
7. Followers like to follow stories
Don’t throw boring stats and pictures at your followers all day, every day. It should come as no surprise that social media works best with stories. The best stories I’ve found are personal stories. Rather than produce content that feeds your ego, put yourself into every story you tell.
8. Tell stories that inspire
There are hundreds of types of stories. If I were to encourage you to do one type and one type only it would be to tell inspiring stories. Stories that inspire people to take action, think differently or be emotional about something.
9. Say it quickly now!
A story is great but people have a low attention span. This means you’ve got to be able to communicate succinctly. There is a lot of waffle on the Internet. The way to stand out is to plan what you are going to say and cut out the filler. People will love you if they can get value from you and have it delivered in a brief manner. I get this compliment in the form of feedback all the time and I love it.
10. There is no one big break
If I look at my online success, there is no one single moment. Going from zero followers and beyond is made up of a whole lot of factors which you’ll never quite work out. What I can tell you though is that all those factors require you to show up.
“Each day you have to show up with something of value to say”
11. It doesn’t need to be new necessarily
People think you have to say something new every day. You don’t. Sometimes it’s about saying something in a slightly different way. Sometimes it’s taking a popular idea and saying it in a better way. For me, it’s often about taking something that already exists and saying it in my way, with my story attached.
“Saying something new doesn’t create followers; saying something different does”
12. Find your channel
Everyone’s channel for creating followers is different. Try them all and see which one resonates the best for your niche. Facebook doesn’t really work for me, but Medium and LinkedIn are phenomenal. I would have never known this if I didn’t try them. Experiment like you’re playing with play-doh.
13. Quit being romantic
Don’t wait until you have tons of followers to get started. Be the same as you are with zero followers, as you are with a million followers. Being romantic about social media doesn’t work. When I say romantic, it’s kind of the same as saying being precious.
You think you need influence right now. You don’t. You think you need money and lots of it. You don’t. You think you’ll try harder when you’re like Gary Vaynerchuk. You won’t.