Followers, likes, comments, and subscribers, we all want them. Social influence is all about these type of metrics. People brag about them, pay for them, and want them. This reminds me of high school, where everyone wanted to date the hot girl. You know the one I am talking about, every school has one. The captain of the cheer squad, the prom queen, all the boys wanted to date her, all the girls wanted to be her. Well, all but one. Usually the guy who was dating her had the least value for her and treated her like dirt. It seems that wanting something you don’t have adds value to it, while having something you once wanted erodes value over time. The same holds true with social proof.
Everyone wants more followers, or at least the people who don’t have tons. I have found that the people who have large followings sometimes value them less then the newbies and mid-level people who are still striving for growth and Klout. There are tons of metrics people have to rate you and that you may rate yourself with, but the bar is constantly moving and changing in value. I remember when I first opened my Twitter account. The first follow was awesome to get. You realize someone out there in the universe cares you exist (at least online). Then you get your first 500, and then 1000. I just reached my first 5,000 and you can ask my wife, I was talking about it all day. So what’s next, 10,000?
Someone once told me a piece of business advice, they said, “If you forget where you came from, you’re on your way back.” It always stuck with me. See, I get tired of people and companies that work hard to get popular then stop caring about the people that got them there. We see this with tech startups all the time. The standard is to give away everything and build something free and cool until you get big enough that it is time to monetize it. Then, screw the users and early adopters that got you there. In the beginning people value every follower and engage them and do for others, then when they think they have made it, they rarely engage or only engage with the “influential” people. That really bothers me. I respect Gary Vaynerchuk in this regard because even when his following got large, he still tried to reply to everyone. So does Seth Godin. So what can we learn from this bad pattern of fame? To borrow the title of one of Seth’s books, Small is the New Big.
I was reading a post on Facebook from Srinivas Rao about the definition of “cult” and one thing popped out to me. It was the part about having a small but passionate following. That got me thinking of how so many people are trying to get big, when that is a difficult and time consuming task. What if you instead took your small group and loved the hell out of them? What if you engaged and promoted a small group of people until you had real connections and a passionate following? See we can do that right now. You may not be able to get 10,000 more followers by tomorrow but you can convert the followers you have into passionate ones today. My upcoming post will show you how, until then take the time to go connect, engage, and build the relationships you have. You already have the hottest girl/boy in town, they are the ones you are already with. Don’t let other people want your followers more than you do.