[Podcast] Becky Robinson on How to Cultivate Online Followers

5 promoting your writing podcast post Mar 07, 2024
[Podcast] Becky Robinson on How to Cultivate Online Followers

All thought leaders want to make an impact on their sphere of influence. It’s what is popularly known as “reach.”

Becky Robinson, author of Reach and founder and CEO of Weaving Influence, says “reach” is not merely gathering large numbers but rather expanding one's audience in a manner that ensures a meaningful and enduring difference, thereby creating a lasting impact. It’s strategic.

Yet many thought leaders refuse to do the enduring work necessary. They claim they don’t have the time, or they don’t want to put in the effort and work. This lack of interest creates a gap in their sphere of influence. They’re unable to reach their full potential.

Following the choice to expand your reach comes the hard work of cultivating online followers.

Where does Becky recommend starting?

The Importance of Building a Website

To cultivate online followers, Becky recommends starting on a platform you own and control: a website. This is the bedrock of cultivating a following.

A website dedicated to your work gives you a professional online presence. It allows you to build credibility with readers and fellow thought leaders in your space.

A website also allows you to have full control over your brand and style. It’s important, according to Becky, that your website clearly demonstrates the value you have to offer the world. As soon as someone lands on your website, they should know whether your content is for them.

Another benefit to building a website: snagging people’s emails. Email lists are one of the easiest ways to cultivate online followers and build relations.

With an email list, you communicate directly with your followers. And you can reach out to your subscribers whenever you want. Email lists also make it easier to build relationships with your followers. Email allows you to share longer behind-the-scenes stories, updates on your work, and exclusive content that allows followers to feel more connected to you.

What about social media? you may wonder. Social media is a great means to connect with people online. However, you will always be at the whim of the changing popularity and functionality of those platforms.

Social media platforms can shut down—or shut you down. They may delete your account and you will lose all of your content as well as your connections to online followers. Unfortunately, these situations are not uncommon. And you will be forced to start from ground zero and rebuild.

As Becky points out: You don’t want to be in a situation where you lose all the time and energy you’ve invested into building relations with people online. 

How to Cultivate Online Followers

When it comes to cultivating online followers, Becky recommends a two-pronged approach.

  1. Start Offline.

Most thought leaders think the only way to drive traffic to their website is through online channels. They underestimate the value of their existing communities to expand their reach.

According to Becky, one of the most effective ways to cultivate online followers is through connections with people offline.

Think about the people in your life—family, friends, neighbors, business associates. Determine which of them will find value in your website, and then invite them to take a look. It’s likely that they will then recommend your website to other people in their life.

Another way to draw people to your website: When speaking at a conference or presenting your ideas to a larger group, share a QR code of your website. Draw attention to it, and inform the audience of the content they will find of value.

  1. Expand Your Reach Online.

Once you’ve informed your real-life relations about your website, then it’s time to form new relationships. Online.

Create a social media account where your audience is most relevant. (Lots of thought leaders use LinkedIn.) Once you create an account, start sharing content that is valuable to your audience.

An important note: When it comes to social media, we have a tendency to over-emphasize creation of content and under-emphasize connections.

Social media is about forming real relationships. Becky encourages thought leaders to be personable and relatable in their online presence. Take time to respond to comments. Re-post posts from others within your space. Engage with your audience and fellow thought leaders.

The only way to cultivate online followers is through real connection. You won’t attract anyone to your page if you’re simply broadcasting content without engaging in relationships. And if you’re not engaging in relationships, then you won’t create a lasting impact.

When the Goal Isn’t Going Viral

We, as a society, have a misplaced belief about going viral. We think going viral will guarantee a massive audience. We think it will expand our reach and influence.

But this isn’t true.

Lots of people go viral these days. But going viral is like a camera flash—it’s over quickly. This is antithetical to the real meaning of being thought leaders: having a lasting impact. The only way to build a lasting impact is through relationships that are developed over time. These relationships depend on the consistent value thought leaders provide to their audience.

To expand your reach and have a lasting impact on your sphere of influence, you have to put in both effort and time.

If you want to learn more about how to cultivate online followers, listen to our podcast episode. You’ll come away with Becky’s commitments to expanding your online reach and influence!



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