How To Move Followers To Engaged Collaborators
It’s the people who are already with you that take your work to the next level.
A social media presence in the hope of more followers doesn’t guarantee a meaningful connection. In fact, it’s easy to engage yourself to broke when you are led by how many people you hope you can attract. Striving for a larger online following does not equate to success.
In the pursuit of followers and likes, we often overlook the power of a core group of engaged collaborators.
In reality, most online connections are weak relational links. They are touchpoints that serve us as having some form of influence.
Let’s focus on making that shift from passive followers to nurturing engaged collaborators.
A strong place to be is to have a group of people who not only appreciate your work but actively support and contribute to it.
These are the people who believe in you, resonate with your values and recognise that everyone can succeed. Let’s call this treasured group as your, ‘supporter network.’ This becomes the heartbeat of taking everything to a new level. It’s about confidence, commitment and recognition that no one was meant to try and figure it all out on their own.
Even better when you have a team of people around you, each person supports one another and helps to share what you do far and wide. Not because they have to, but because they want to.
When I began You Are The Media, everything was directed from me. When you start something new, it can be a lonely place. I now realise that the longer you are at the wheel, the trust grows. It takes time, you just have to be prepared to stay the distance and be led too far off course.
This isn’t about wanting to build a fan club, that’s self-focused, but a collective of people who want to join in.
We’re going to look at how people feel compelled to join in and in turn, elevate your entire efforts.
What You Can Do
Engaged collaboration is so much more than regular people commenting on your work, it’s about joining in.
Through my experience, this is how it works where we can all have a place at the table.
1) You Deliver An Idea That Continually Connects With People
Engagement isn’t about responding to people’s comments and messages. It’s about delivering work that genuinely connects with people. You make that shift to a more emotional place.
It’s about finding a common theme that someone else can easily understand. What is a value that is dear to you that people can stand beside? Your worldview, and your values – form the bedrock of your unique domain. It’s all about simplicity and finding that spark that propels you forward. Read more here on building a space people want to join in with.
What happens is that your idea starts to branch out in different directions.
Expertise – Going deeper into a topic, helps build your confidence in sharing ideas and observations from what you do and the world around you.
Permission – Can you show glimpses into your world where getting involved is better than passively standing on the sidelines? For instance, we have challenges at our YATM Lunch Club events. One of the reasons for this is to share the benefits of taking part, maybe break a World Record?
Entertain – Over time you start to see that your business world and everyday world should not be kept separate. It has to start with you, but over time people want to join and when you ask, it becomes easier to say yes. I now look at offline events as scaling camaraderie and online (particularly YATM Club) are all about scaling the ability to work together.
Building better branding occurs when you build this emotional bridge.
2) You Promote Inclusion Over Exclusivity
Instead of creating barriers between you and your audience, find ways to invite people in.
Your audience seeks connection, not relentless information.
This is completely different from trying to lure people in with lead magnets where people leave their email so you can build your list. They work for sign-ups, but it doesn’t mean that someone else is ever going to commit.
Everything works better when people feel included. Not a one-way information push, but subscribers are actively involved. Here is what I mean by inclusion with your subscribers.
If you have a newsletter, this is what I mean by inclusion.
🔆 You respond when someone replies to your email. It could be something they learned or just an acknowledgment that they appreciate the work.
🔆 You feature subscribers doing good work and a nod back to them. If you are building your own space with people in it, it doesn’t always have to be about you.
🔆 You include your audience in the whole creation effort. There can be times when you need a helping hand. It could be asking your audience a question in your newsletter that takes 10 seconds to fill in.
Here is an example of what I do where people feel a part of the whole activity, rather than practice distance.
Every Thursday someone from the community always starts my newsletter. It’s called the YATM Takeover. They are the faces everyone sees at the start. It’s called the You Are The Media Takeover. They introduce themselves, share a slice of their life, and recommend something to watch, read, or listen to. No self-promotion allowed.
The reason I do this is to not only build a sense of community but trying to find ways to transform a newsletter into a two-way street.
3) You Understand That Great Work Happens Together (It’s Not All On You)
Empowering those around you to speak up, get involved and action is at the core of engaged collaboration. What happens, over time, is that your audience becomes a community and meaningful initiatives take shape.
Let me share with you an example of a new experiment we are working on at YATM.
We enjoy working with Bournemouth & Poole College and they have a Creative & Digital Career Day during October. What started as an invitation for me to present to students is becoming something much more substantial where the YATM community delivers something far more valuable as a collective effort, rather than one person at the front of a room.
During the day, the YATM community will represent two panels to share advice with students. It could be sharing wisdom to their younger selves, the biggest career mistakes they have made, and the learning experiences that have stayed with them today. This all represents contribution from being a part of a team, rather than one voice sharing a perspective. That is what engaged collaboration represents where it is the strength of being a part of a wider group.
When everything is built around a person, you have an audience. When everything is built around an idea, you have a community.
Real influence lies in building a team around you, where you all feel bigger than if you were trying to make a dent on your own.
Large numbers are great for ego and social proof, but when you find the people who resonate with your message, actively participate and just feel a part of everything that is happening, it helps your cause flourish.
In the end, real success is measured by the strength of the meaningful connections you forge. As you shift your mindset toward engaged collaboration, commit to inclusion, and connect with those who truly matter, you’ll discover that the future belongs to those who build genuine connections and make great work happen together.