Don’t Follow Me.
I don’t want you to follow me. I want you to join me.
Don’t follow me. Don’t like or share my posts.
Or at least, not until you hear my story.
It all started innocently enough. In early 2019, in preparation for my book launch, I leapt into the social media game, first with the softer stuff, like Facebook and LinkedIn, but soon enough I was all in. Instagram, Twitter, Clubhouse, TikTok…there wasn’t a platform I wouldn’t try.
I figured I could manage it. I would just do it on Friday and Saturday nights. Nothing too serious.
But soon I was out of control. I was posting at work. While driving. Sneaking off during meals to post from the bathroom. I was starting to ignore friends and family.
What can I say? I loved the high. After every post, I’d check my phone obsessively, reading and re-reading the numbers, hoping for that rush you get from a viral post. And like any addiction, as my following grew, I needed bigger and bigger hits to get the same high.
My friends started pointing out how superficial my posts were getting. They’d say things like, “It’s better to have 1,000 engaged followers than 100,000 who barely know who you are.”
I knew it wasn’t healthy. I knew it wasn’t right. But I couldn’t stop.
So almost exactly one year ago I vowed to change. I would stop focusing on numbers, and instead, I would truly engage with people, and wherever possible, help them engage with each other.
I came up with a four-step program:
-I’d answer almost every person who wrote to me—sometimes briefly, sometimes after a long delay – but I’d answer.
-I’d respond to most of the comments on TikTok, Twitter, and LinkedIn. (There will be some exceptions: my ‘date night’ post, for instance, had 6,700 comments, and I’m only human).
-I would start an invitation-only community where I could connect with aspiring entrepreneurs of all stripes, and more importantly, create a place where they could connect with each other.
-And I’d be genuine. I’d say things that were honest and vulnerable. If I wanted people to connect with “ME”, they had to know who I really was.
And you know what? My friends were right. Almost a year in, my social media engagement is much healthier. I’ve got a coherent entrepreneurial community with incredibly high-quality interactions. And my most popular posts have turned out to be the ones where I’m most sincere and approachable.
So please, don’t follow me, join me. Or better yet, follow me AND join me. Let’s connect. Let’s learn from each other and help each other out. A community of a few thousand may not feed the ego the way a half million followers do but trust me: it’s a lot more useful and a lot healthier in the long run.
Many ideas in this post were first discussed in the Neverland entrepreneurial community. Join us there!
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