Sometimes, people get caught up in thoughts that are very limiting, due to their own jealousy, insecurities, a lack of understanding or something else.
One great example of this is a comment I once heard someone make. It was about a celebrity, I forget who. The person said that the celebrity didn’t “deserve” their followers.
The implication being that this person had been on Twitter for a long time, had “worked hard” for their followers and now this celebrity just showed up and in a day or so, they have tens of thousands of followers. This is bad, petty thinking.
Don’t think of your community in terms of platform, think of it in terms of people. One of the more meaningful measurements of the power of your community is if they will follow you. Not follow you on Twitter, but follow you wherever you go. Not just from platform to platform, but from venture to venture and from third party platform to your own website. That is one of the ways that you find out what you really have.
When a celebrity joins one of these social media platforms and gets a million followers, fans, subscribers or whatever in 5 seconds, my thought isn’t “wow, they don’t ‘deserve’ that!” My thought is, “wow, they have built a following.” It’s something to admire and learn from.
When I look at Sean “Diddy” Combs, for example, I see someone who has been in the entertainment business for 20 years. Someone who has worked very hard, who has put in the time, released a great body of work, helped put others on and been successful in a number of endeavors. Did he spend years on Twitter, painstakingly staring at TweetDeck? No, but what does that even mean? Is that really the best use of your time?
What some people fail to grasp is that it’s not about “putting in work and getting attention on Twitter” or Facebook or Google+ or whatever, it’s simply about “putting in work and getting attention.” You don’t just earn followers, fans or otherwise interested parties on a platform by spending time just on that platform, you earn them by being good, successful, noteworthy or otherwise getting attention in other areas of our culture.
The notion of anyone “deserving” followers or not is absurd to me. Yes, people deserve the followers they have. Even those seedy looking marketers you see that have used some auto following script to get themselves up to 100,000 followers deserve what they have (likely a fairly low click through rate and a small number of people that will actually follow them anywhere else).
If you do achieve a lot of success on a single platform and that is where you have really made your mark, the test of your success is if people follow you somewhere else. A great example of this is the YouTube power duo Smosh. They made their name on YouTube and are one of the channels with the most subscriptions (they are currently third all-time with 2,960,345 subscribers). They have leveraged their YouTube success into many things, perhaps most notable their own popular Smosh.com website.
The power of Oprah Winfrey isn’t that she has 6,769,204 Twitter followers or 6,158,835 fans on Facebook, it’s that, when she joins Twitter, 6,769,204 people follow her and when she joins another social network, they will follow her there, too. When she recommends a book, many of those same people will buy it. Oprah is one of the easiest examples of the power of community because she’s a star maker. If she points her community in your direction, you are about to make some money and gain some fans, followers, readers, viewers or subscribers.
That’s what community building is really about. The ability to build a base of loyal people who appreciate what you do and will be interested in what you do – no matter where you do it.