If you’re a leader – or aspire to be one – it’s highly important for you to
understand your followers. After all, without followers, you’re not going to be much of a leader. Whether you’re running a successful work team or promoting your own business by accumulating followers online, understanding your base is the key to greater influence, more opportunities, and leadership that both inspires and lasts.
In this blog, we’re going to go over some of the most important things that every leader needs to know about followers – from understanding diversity to understanding the power (and limit) of your own reach. Let’s take a look!
One of the most important tasks for any leader is understanding the importance of diversity. Everyone has different capabilities and motivations – and any good leader will take steps to speak and inspire using broad terms. If you’re a leader in the workplace, adherence to diversity will help your team members play to their strengths, and improve the overall productivity and success of your team. If you’re building an online following, speaking in broad terms will allow you to better build your brand – not only will you appeal to a wider audience, but you’ll magnify your reach and build a more diverse community.
Appreciate your following
Whether it’s your staff members or your social media subscribers, followers want to know that their presence is valued – it’s therefore important for leaders to provide recognition when they see a job well done or an extra effort put in. This will help foster a positive work environment and ensure all team members remain motivated and engaged, or help build an online community where all members feel seen and appreciated. When it comes to social media followers, it’s a good idea to respond frequently to your subscribers or followers when they comment on your content, or host frequent livestreams where you can interact and build community.
Don’t be divisive
When it comes to building a following, one of the worst things you can do is use your platform to air divisive, polemical views. No matter what your opinion is on any given issue, it’s not a good idea to divide your audience on important political subjects, unless it’s relevant to your brand. And if you are going to venture into political commentary, it’s important to be respectful and open-minded when doing so. If you come across as overly judgemental or divisive, you may alienate potential followers – and even lose existing ones!
Understand the limits of your reach
As a leader in any capacity, having a strong following can be immensely powerful, especially if thousands of people – or even hundreds of thousands of people – look up to you. With a large online presence, you can reach out to potential customers and enjoy lots of employment opportunities, or even access new markets where you may have been previously excluded. It’s therefore important for leaders to understand the power of their own reach – and use it responsibly! Avoid using your platform to go after smaller creators, and try your best to use your platform positively. Don’t become known as someone who starts drama or creates controversy – offer something of value to your followers, and create a positive, welcoming space.
As with any relationship, followers will respond positively when they sense that they are talking to a real person. Don’t be afraid to show your personality or share stories – it’s the personal connections that will help keep people engaged and interested in what you have to say. Plus, it’s important not to take your audience for granted – if your followers sense that you’re being insincere, or using your platform to exploit their views or following, they’ll quickly move on.
Be patient and consistent
No matter what the size of your following, it’s important to remember that building a following takes time. Don’t expect immediate success – while many do reach overnight fame, these cases are often rare exceptions, and not typically the norm. The key is to stay consistent with your content and engagement strategy – even if you don’t get the results you want right away. Eventually, as long as you keep at it, your hard work will start to pay off. Similarly, it’s important to remember that followers come and go – don’t take negative feedback personally, and try not to be discouraged when your numbers inevitably ebb and fall.
By understanding the importance of diversity, appreciating your followers, avoiding divisiveness and being authentic, you can build a strong following as a leader. And remember – leadership doesn’t just mean having lots of followers, but also knowing how to use your platform responsibly and for the greater good.