When talking about social media, you can hardly separate the conversation from the one about “getting more followers”. It’s just that growing an audience is actually at the very heart of having a presence on social media.
What we often forget however, is the psychological approach to why people follow other people, in life or on social media for that matter. You see, getting more followers isn’t about paid media, GIFs, or even great content (I know, many of you are already fuming now, but hang on). No, getting more followers is about the power of attraction, coming from your existing followers.
And a great way to prove my point is to invite you to look at how social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter are inviting you to follow more people: they show you who your friends already follow. It’s a known human psychological trigger. If the people you trust follow someone, then that “someone” is probably worth following too.
In his TED talk, Derek Sivers gives a great example of how this happens in real life: during an outdoor live music event, a young man stands up and starts dancing by himself. It seems a little weird, until a second young man, his first follower, comes and joins the dance. By doing this, he just makes our first man legitimate. Then, a third man joins in, led by the attractiveness and legitimacy of the first follower. Finally, many others start dancing, and the movement is born. From crazy man, the initiator became a leader. And all this, thanks to his first follower.
The first follower is taking a risk. In fact, he is taking an even bigger risk than the initiator, because he brings him legitimacy. And he also contributes to lowering the risks for the second follower, who himself makes it easier for others to follow.
In my opinion, the same mechanics apply to social media. The more followers you gain, the more you will gain. And that is because each new follower brings you more legitimacy and credibility, making it almost risk-free for new people to follow you.
In conclusion, don’t be afraid to be you, or to represent the true values of your brand. Then, cherish and nurture your first followers, because they are the ones who really do the job for you. Not your content. Not your media budget.