Last night I shared a pretty controversial post on Facebook. I raised questions about how our government is handling the coronavirus and some of their restrictions just don’t make sense. I said I don’t understand why more people aren’t questioning this stuff. I had all kinds of responses, which was to be expected. But the one’s that intrigued me the most were the one’s that said they were going to stop following me. Which got me thinking, are people still concerned about this? Is your follower count more important than your truth?
Here’s what’s real for me.
It seemed like the people who told me they were going to unfollow me were expecting me to be hurt. Or ask them not to go. Or thought I’d suddenly change my opinion. I don’t really know what they were expecting. But I chose to acknowledge their responses with more truth.
Because, let’s get one thing straight.
I don’t need you to agree with me. I don’t need you to like me.
And if you unfollow me, that’s ok. I’m not here to silence myself or water down my truth to make people feel comfortable.
I did that for far too long. And I’m done with it.
I’m here to challenge you. To push you. To inspire you to share your vulnerability and truth.
That’s what it really means to come out of hiding. To really start shining your magical light on the world.
If I unfollowed all the people I disagreed with my feed would be very empty.
We are all different, we all have different views and experiences that have shaped our reality.
Sometimes people’s posts trigger me. But when that happens, I now look inside myself to find out why. The things you don’t like seeing, are generally a mirror into yourself.
What do you need to see? What are you not facing?
I like that my feed is full of diverse opinions. I like that my feed causes me to question things. I like that people are taking a stand for things that matter.
We’re bound to have differences of opinions. But that’s what keeps things interesting. That’s what makes us unique. That’s what makes YOUR brand stand out.
And anyone who really knows me, knows follower count means very little.
On Instagram, I have an account with 68k followers. I have an account with 27k followers, and I have an account with 1500 followers. Want to guess which one is my favourite?
Ding ding ding. If you guessed the last one you win! I built the first two accounts a few years ago, at a time when Instagram strategies were very different and community wasn’t the focus. You could get automation programs to do all the work for you. So yeah, they have lots of followers, but I never spent a lot of time cultivating a connected audience.
Whereas, when I started the last account, I made a commitment to do things differently. I decided I didn’t care about the vanity metrics. I cared about connection.
A few years ago I was at an event and we had an Instagram marketer as one of the keynote speakers. He was someone who had built an audience over 1 million.
And he gave me one of the most profound pieces of advice.
Every single person that follows you is giving you permission to connect with them on one of their most intimate devices. Their smartphone.
They are inviting you into their life on the daily. And choosing to hear from you. So whether you have 1 follower, 1000 followers, or 1 million followers, think about every individual person you are speaking to.
Imagine if you had 1000 people in your lounge room. You’d be overcome with emotion, and you’d probably be wondering where they’re all going to fit, am I right? Well when you show up and share your content, think about that. Think about every single person on the other side of that device. That’s a lot of people whose lives you get to impact.
Once you start looking at your following in this way, everything completely shifts.
For me, it became all about human connection.
And instead of spending my time trying to gain new followers each day, I focus on nurturing the audience I already have.
In the beginning I ticked all the boxes. Follow this many accounts per day, like this many posts, comment on this many people’s posts. Do this, do that. But it all felt so fake. So I was never really consistent with it. And in the last few months I gave up on it completely.
Want to know the craziest part?
The moment I stopped focusing on how many followers I had. And just focused on creating content that spoke my truth. Was the moment my following grew without me even having to try.
Why? My voice is different, I had a strong opinion. And people started to share my content. What better way to grow your audience than to have people who love you, sharing your content to their own audiences?
You don’t need a huge following to have an impact.
How many times have you seen people sharing information on “how to get more followers”, “how to beat the Instagram algorithm”, “use this hack to grow your number of followers every day” ?
So many people are measuring their worth by this vanity metric. And it has got to stop. You are so much more than your follower count.
I’ve taught all of this stuff too, until I started to get bored of my own content. I was teaching this because I thought it’s what people wanted to know. It’s what they kept asking me.
But when you dig a little deeper into what they really want, it’s far deeper. They want to have an impact. They want their message to land on the right people.
And you don’t need a huge following to have an impact.
You just need to speak your truth and the right people will come. They’ll be drawn to you like magnets.
So, is your follower count more important than your truth?
Simple answer, no way!
But I know it’s easier said than done. I know there’s the little kid inside us that just wants to be loved, and recognised, and nurtured. That fears rejection, and judgement, and ridicule.
And the stories run deep, and most of the time we don’t know.
So we play it safe. We try to please everyone. But the problem with this, is when you don’t show up in your fullest expression, you can’t attract your people.
And that’s what will keep you stuck in the mode of having to pretend. Having to show up in a certain way to cater to the audience that isn’t even your ideal audience anyway.
So here’s a challenge.
What if you stopped caring about all that? What if you showed up in the fullest expression of who you are? Knowing that the right people will follow you no matter what, and if people leave it’s ok because you don’t have to be everyone’s cup of tea.
How would you show up then?
What do you want to be known for? How do you want to make people feel? What does your brand stand for?
Is living up to the ideal of what you think people want to see more important than sharing your absolute truth?
Please don’t let the possibility of losing followers hold you back from sharing what you want to share. Your voice is worthy! Your message is important. The people that need to hear it will find you. Fear is not the answer. Your voice matters. ???