People want to consume.
People want to be entertained so badly that they spend hours everyday searching through websites, apps, and Netflix for new ways of being entertained. As human beings, we love to consume! And we will naturally consume more and more until we either run out of time or feel that it’s taking away from our day-to-day lives.
And really, there’s nothing wrong with this. Even if you’re a creative or intellectual or productivity-oriented business person, you have to consume something in order to produce anything. You have to water the plant before it’ll bloom.
People are always looking for something to consume, and they’re not even looking for anything high quality! They’re looking for something mildly interesting, that can hold their attention, that they can generally relate to, and that they can come back to again and again for a similar experience. That’s why we’ve all binge-watched entire TV series and have our favorite blogs, YouTube channels, and other various sites.
If you want to build or grow a following, what are you giving people to consume and to keep them coming back? Do they even know where and how to find what you’re putting out there? This is what you need to do.
Do something mildly interesting. Do it often. And tell people you’re doing it.
It doesn’t matter if you’re not that great at everything, or anything. I know you’ve heard the saying that there’s always going to be someone better than you. That’s true! But there’s also always going to be someone not as good as you, and there’s always going to be others on your same level. These will be your followers.
They will relate to you, aspire to be you, grow as you grow, and they will let you be an influence in their lives. As you get better and better at what you do or create, that pool of potential followers (the number of people on or below your level) will grow as well.
Let’s say you’re a class clown of sorts. You’re funny, you’re witty, and you’re looking for some way of harnessing that to make money, keep you busy, make your parents happy, whatever. A good way for you to grow a following would be to create a humorous or satirical YouTube channel. Then you can share those videos on Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, Reddit, Instagram, Snapchat, Periscope, etc. With how much people are looking to consume, I guarantee that if you simply keep creating and sharing, week after week, people will catch on.
They’ll start to keep up with you, they’ll come back for more, they’ll refer their friends to check you out. And you’ll be getting better at what you do the whole time, meaning that all of this will grow exponentially.
Let’s say you’re a lively thinker. A blog is a great way to go about expressing our thoughts and expertise constructively. Then you can share your blog posts across Tumblr, Medium, Facebook, Blogger, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Not everyone’s going to read the first thing you write. Just keep blogging! Pick a time and day of the week, or several, that you’re going to blog and share what you write with people. They will catch on, and whether they click “subscribe” or not, they will keep up with you.
All you have to do is do something mildly interesting, do it often, and tell people about it.
I use YouTube and blogging as two examples because it’s very easy to look through YouTube channels and see who has how many subscribers. It’s also very easy to see what kind of quality those channels are releasing. More often than not, YouTube stars with huge followings aren’t doing anything that impressive, or difficult, or even that entertaining. But they’re doing something mildly interesting, they’re doing it often, and they’re finding as many people to tell about it as they can.
The same goes with blogging. It’s so easy to find blogs with large followings who, seemingly, have terrible writing and a poor user experience. You might even be thinking that about this blog! But these blogs with large followings aren’t necessarily doing anything special. They’re not necessarily run by the smartest or coolest or most apt people. Those blogs are run by people who talk about mildly interesting things, do it often, and tell everyone they can about it.
You could take this principle and extrapolate it to achieving success in any area. If you want to succeed in anything, start doing it, do it often, and tell people about it. As particularly relates to growing and captivating a following on social media, it’s so easy to take advantage of how much people are looking to consume. You might as well toss your name in the hat!
It’s rather valuable to build a following. Honestly! The more people who look to you for entertainment, and eventually for experience and insight, the more people whose lives you can positively influence.
But even if you don’t care about influencing people, if you simply want to build a following and learn how to captivate audiences, you’ve got to start doing something. I guarantee you that if you do something mildly interesting (blogging, videos, photography, art, anything), do it often (at least weekly), and tell people about it (every cup of coffee with someone, family gatherings, social media posts, etc.), you will gain that following you want. It just takes a little persistence and a bit of patience.
Do something mildly interesting, do it often, and tell people about it.