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In the comments of a previous post, Robert Atkin asked an excellent question that continues the subject of building a tribe and establishing a platform:
“I have a question about tribe building. I use twitter and had a minor breakthrough when I started getting followers who I didn’t know. But I’m still in the low hundreds. How do I get the major breakthrough and get thousands of followers? I don’t just want any old follower, I want those who are interested in what I write and would be my advocates.”
When I read this, two main points jumped out at me:
- major breakthrough with thousands of followers
- followers who are interested in his writing and would be his advocates
finding followers of value
The second point is key, so I want to discuss it first. It’s incredibly wise to be looking for quality when it comes to followers. These are the people that truly will be advocates and stick with you for the long haul. If you want a sustained writing career, you need to build a quality tribe.
What does this require?
There’s no quick answer to finding this kind of followers. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a steady building of your base.
To see significant success in social media, you need to be consistent—in your message, your presence, and your attitude. You want your followers to feel you are reliable.
It feels more natural to think of creating quality content for your blog, website or book. But quality matters on social media as well. If your tweets don’t offer something of value, your followers are not likely to stick with you for long.
talking about more than yourself
If you only tweet about yourself, your posts, and what you’re doing at the moment, your followers will lose interest. Share interesting quality posts that others have written. Interact with your followers and show interest in them.
If you are just trying to get something from people, they will see that. Most of us would love to see our numbers go up, but if there isn’t a genuine desire to connect with people, you are unlikely to build the quality online connections you want to establish.
seeing that major breakthrough in numbers
You can probably guess where I’m going here. It is very rare to see a huge breakthrough in numbers with those numbers coming from the truly quality followers that will last.
It’s possible there may be a catalyst that gives you a big boost. Releasing a book that becomes a best-seller, writing a post on a certain topic at the right time, posting a YouTube video that gets a huge number of views—anything that goes “viral.” That perfect scenario is difficult to generate and often is more a matter of having eyes to see a moment of opportunity and act on it.
My short answer? Slow and steady wins this race. Building a large platform can sometimes happen quickly, but it is not the norm. Even when it does happen, the slow and steady is required to sustain it.
During the month of October, we’re chatting about everything self-publishing—design, branding, marketing, formats—you name it! Pulling questions from Design by Insight clients, Re:Write Conference attendees, and you, we’ll take a look at what can often be a confusing and potentially overwhelming subject.
Miss a day? Visit the main post for links to each day.