Creating a tribe takes time. It’s a lot like farming. You plant seeds then water and fertilize them. They sprout, and with loving care, grow into healthy plants with root systems. Your content is like seeds, water, and fertilizer. Compelling content raises up great followers who are eager each time you offer them something new to consume.
Like farming, growing a loyal following is part tried-and-true practices and part artful experience with the unique soil you grow in. It takes a balance of trade secrets and personal experiences to raise up a loyal following.
Here are some great tips for growing a loyal following:
Give things away- In a world where everyone is selling, give things away. Comedian Michael Jr. gave a Ted talk where he shared the value in giving a laugh rather than getting a laugh. Getting a laugh was focused on getting something from the audience, whereas giving them a laugh focused on giving something to the audience. When his intention shifted, his comedy… and his following… improved.
Ask questions- Building a tribe is a two-way street. No one wants to be doing all the listening. You may be the smartest person in the group, but you still have a thing or two to learn from your tribe. Between asking questions and engaging with your followers, having a back-and-forth is a wonderful way to grow your following. People love feeling connected and having direct access to people they admire.
Be seen and heard- Being active with your community is more than putting out regular content. It’s important to be seen and heard routinely through different mediums. Make sure you are connecting with your tribe in more than one way. In addition to your newsletter, consider a Facebook group, being active on Instagram, or engaging on Twitter. Using more than one platform to reach your followers increases the know, like, and trust factor – which creates a loyal following.
Be authentic without being creepy- Being open and honest or “transparent” is the new form of customer service. In a world of automation, the people who seem real and accessible tend to have growing followings. Be sure to keep your authenticity toned down to a point that it doesn’t become reminiscent of Brittany Spears 2007.
Be available- If you are trying to grow a following, you’ve got to be available to your people. If you owned a brick and mortar business, you couldn’t run to the back room each time a customer walked through the door. Failing to acknowledge their presence or have a meaningful two-way conversation will likely stop sales. Be available to your clients. Check your emails, your instant messages, and your voice mail. Be there to engage and make yourself available when people reach out.
Be predictable with an edge of the unexpected- The most successful parents and leaders are predictable with an edge of the unexpected. People like what they can rely on. Be consistent with the quality and quantity that you engage your audience with. Don’t fall off the radar only to reemerge randomly here and there. Growing a loyal following comes from being reliable, fun, and engaging.
Like farming, growing a loyal following takes time and intention. Your personality, content, and engagement will help the right people come to know about you, learn to love you, and look to see what you are up to each time you connect with them.