How To Grow A Following Without Selling Your Soul

J.R. Heimbigner

Photo by Anna Auza on Unsplash

Follow-for-follow posts on Twitter run ramped.

So do #WriterLift posts where we all follow each other but no one cares about what our actual writing is about.

The same thing happens on Medium. And Facebook. And LinkedIn. Basically anywhere you can grow a following.

This way of getting followers isn’t helpful to you.

It’s merely for the vanity of having lots of followers. Most of your follow-for-followers don’t care about your writing.

Shoot, a good chunk of people following you organically don’t care about your writing either. So why would we get more of those people in our following?

Looking back at the accumulation of my 4.2k followers, I have found three main ways to get followers that will be meaningful and will actually read what you write.

3 Ways To Grow Your Following Well

First off, there are a lot of ways to do this. Some are total with it. While others are simply to keep you busy until you have a ton of followers and no readers.

Here is what I have learned from growing my follower numbers.

No.1 — Follow The Interested

Believe it or not, people are interested in your writing. Sure, it may seem subtle. But they may have found a post, read it, then clapped.

If they clapped, give them a follow.

Then go over to their profile and clap for a couple of their articles. Especially the ones that you find interesting. They are interested, they showed it to you by clapping. Now, go make a friend and a follower.

No.2 — Comment and Follow People Who Catch Your Eye

You’re scrolling right along with your feed and a headline grabs you. The hook is great and if the blue you have read the entire article.

Sure you could clap and leave. Or you could leave a meaningful comment, follow them, and ask a question. This will elicit a response from them and potentially follow.

The key is to follow people you want to follow and then interact with them. Read their stories, follow their pubs, and by all means leave a few comments!

You are interested, go make friends, and maybe gain a follower.

No.3 — Curate Your Following

Look, you might have been doing a lot of follow-for-follow. Or maybe you just followed a blind amount of people hoping for that 10% return. That’s all and fine until it isn’t anymore.

Sooner or later, people will see your bloated following and wonder what’s up. Or they will go in and find a lot of blank profiles. This will lead to fewer followers.

So, you need to trim the fat. Cut those people lose. Get rid of the blank profiles and inactive users. Curate your followers to encourage new followers that you aren’t wasting your time!

Bonus: Follow Your Max

Here is a tactic that I am on the fence about. It is regularly suggested that you go through a topic you write in and start following the max amount of people you can every day.

Then, you will see the 10–20% return to help boost your follower count.

This works really well. But, there is a problem with it. Some of these people don’t care about your writing and may not go any further than follow you. They may never interact with a story in the future or sign up for your email list.

It’s effective in boosting follower count, but I’m not convinced it provides you with followers who will become fans. If you want fans, a tribe, and people who will one day buy your book or product, this may not be useful.

***One more caveat, if followers matter on the platform of your choosing, which sometimes it seems like it does, then, by all means, start following a bunch of random people to help boost your follower count! This is why I suggest it for you to get to your first 1k followers***

Final Thoughts

What is your motivation for growing your followers?

I ask myself this question every time I start out to grow a following. Whether that is here on Medium, for my blog, my email list, or anywhere else it is important to consider the reason you are trying to grow.

If it is merely to have a ton of followers for the sake of it, maybe you need to take a step back. I have had to do this in the past. I have had to stop and evaluate why I am writing and sharing my content.

When I do this, it helps me get my mind right. It also clarifies my reasoning for growing a following at all. If you are trying to get more eyes on your work, remember:

  1. Follow those who are interested.
  2. Connect with people whose work you like.
  3. Curate your following.

These three steps will help you create a following of people who have the potential to become fans. And they will have the potential to help you become a better writer too.

Is there anything I am missing? Share in the responses below!

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My goal with my writing is to help people get everything done they want in their very busy lives. I believe we can we all can achieve our dreams and I know it starts with having the right mindset, systems, and taking action every single day. My writing shares how to do this through self-improvement, inspiration, and productivity.

Spokane, WA

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