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How to Get More Followers on Twitter (and Everywhere Else)

October 26, 2013

Photo courtesy of Michael Coghlan

The first time I saw her, it was in the parking lot of a yoga studio. I noticed her because she was tall. Very tall.

She was thin and she had long hair. She could have been a model. If not, she was certainly a woman who got a lot of attention from men.

I followed her in and got ready for class. She was in the back of the room, taking off her coat.

Then she took her wig off, revealing a completely bald head.

I was shocked. More than that though, I was amazed. I don’t recall ever seeing a women with such confidence.

“That was one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen,” I told her. And that was the beginning of our friendship.

This is what true authenticity looks like. It happens when you no longer care, not in an “I’m going to let myself go” way, but from the realization that you know you’re going to be ok regardless of what happens or what people think about you.

Let’s Be Honest About Authenticity

Authenticity a nice buzz word, but for most people, the definition is about as clear as the definitions of success, entrepreneurship, or excellence. And in the social media world, what most people refer to as authenticity is isn’t actually authentic.

It doesn’t count as authentic when your “authenticity” is designed to sell more stuff, get more people to your blog, or prove to the world you’re a guy with his act together.

What Your Audience Really Wants

People reading your posts on social media don’t want the person you’re pretending to be. They want permission to be who they are.

To give them this, you need to be both vulnerable and strong. Vulnerable, because it shows you’re just like they are, and strong because it shows them what is possible.

When my friend Vivian took off her wig in the yoga studio, it gave everybody else who was there permission to drop their own facades. And the fact that she went first, made her action even more powerful.

How to Get More Followers on Social Media (and More Respect)

Imagine if my friend had asked, “Would you mind if I take my wig off?”

The moment wouldn’t have been nearly as powerful. And by worrying about somebody else’s reaction, her authentic self would have been squelched.

Most people would have waited though… They wouldn’t have moved forward without getting permission first, because they’d be worried about making other people angry or uncomfortable.

That’s the definition of a follower.

You don’t want to be a follower — followers are what you want more of. And by definition, to get any followers at all, you have to be a leader.

So be the person people want to follow by giving them the permission they’re looking for — not by waiting for them to ask you if it’s ok to do something, but by showing them through your own actions that it’s ok.

Action Step:

Alienate some people.

Not doing this is probably the number one reason most blogs or books fail and it’s with good reason. When you try to please everybody, you please nobody.

Start now. No reason to be a jerk — just state your opinion on something or ask for what you want. By doing this, you’ll give others who feel similarly permission to do the same and let those who don’t agree with you that they might be better served elsewhere.

Be bold, but note that neither stating your opinion nor asking for what you want has to involve being aggressive. You’re not forcing your requests or opinions on others. You are simply letting people know how you feel and giving them an opportunity to respond to you.

Somebody is going to be first, why not you?

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