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Building Followers vs Building Community: What's More Important for Your Brand?

Oyemaja Executives, a division of The Oyemaja Group.


Business, Advertising, Marketing, Entrepreneurship.
Oyemaja, Followership v Community; Twitter; Unsplash.

The ‘follower’ count on your Twitter profile is mere decoration without matching likes and retweets. Think of it as the rich popular kid in school but nobody comes to your parties because they deep down, they hate your guts. Sure, they hail thy name when you walk into class; they complement your shoes. But when you’re absent from class, everyone heaves a sigh of sweet relief. Whereas, the down-to-earth broke kid gets all the love. The rich kid has followers. The broke boy owns the streets. Community.


Followers are mere numbers. You don’t want that. What you want is fans. Die-hard disciples who would chant “Preach!” even if you tweet “lol”. And you can achieve this without huge numbers.

Followers are mere numbers.

“Hey Oyemaja, Elon Musk has millions of followers and gets millions of likes. Doesn’t that mean followers automatically equates to engagement?” No, Sir. Why? You can make a viral tweet with just 50 followers, and while you may hit those numbers by cleverly inserting trending keywords into tweets, your 50 passionate followers can make it happen. If they all tap ‘retweet’ Twitter will do its magic. Sadly, you can buy a thousand Instagram followers and get 2 likes on your Reels. Perhaps you bought bots, inactive accounts or they just don’t give a damn.


Let’s talk.


Followers are people who have chosen to follow your account so they can see your content in their news feed but not necessarily engage with your content organically. They might even forget who you are or what your brand stands for. A community, on the other hand, is made up of people who are actively involved with your brand, frequently engage with your content, and have a sense of connection to and belonging with your mission and values.


It is desirable to have both, as you will soon see from our list of advantages and disadvantages. But as a newbie, which do you think is more vital for your brand's growth ~ community building or follower growth? The following questions should be posed and answered to your satisfaction before you make a choice:



1. What are my goals and objectives?

Understanding your priorities is crucial before launching any marketing or social media campaign. Do you want to expand your audience and raise brand awareness? Or do you want to create a devoted following that will sustain your business over time? If all you want to do is broaden your audience and boost your fan base, building followers can be your top focus. However, if you're hoping to attract a group of people who will be enthusiastic about your business and spread the word, building a community should be your primary focus.


2. What kind of engagement and content strategy am I employing?

Whether you should prioritize gaining followers or community depends on how you decide to interact with your audience. If the sole purpose of your content is informational or promotional, building followers could be a good strategy. On the other hand, if your content is intended to spark discussions and engage your audience, building a community should be your primary concern. It's important to communicate with your audience and motivate them to engage with your content if you want to develop a community. This can involve responding to comments, requesting input, and providing chances for your audience to interact with one another.






3. What’s the nature of my business?

Whether you should concentrate on fostering community or following will depend on the kind of business you run. For instance, developing followers may be the best approach if you have a large, well-recognized company with a broad audience. Building a community, however, might be a better strategy if you run a small, specialized company because it will enable you to interact with a more focused audience of people who are eager to learn more about what you have to offer.


4. What category of people makes up my target audience?

Who are you aiming your content at? Your ideal strategy for gaining either followers or a community will be clearer to you if you have a clear understanding of your target market. Building followers might be the best course of action if your target audience is a large, diversified group of individuals. Building a community, on the other hand, may be a preferable strategy if your target audience is smaller and more specialized as it will enable you to engage and connect with a more narrowly focused group of people.


Ultimately, answering these questions satisfactorily will determine whether to prioritize gaining followers or community. Your decision-making process should be further assisted by the pros and cons listed below.



Building Followers - Pros:


  1. Increased visibility: A greater audience's exposure to your content or brand can boost your visibility, which can attract more recognition and potential customers.

  2. Possibility of monetization: A large fan base might result in earnings from sponsorships, advertising, or other monetization options.

  3. Greater audience reach: By having more followers, your content and message will be able to reach a wider audience, which may result in more interaction and feedback.



Building Followers - Cons:


  1. One-sided relationship: Your interactions with followers may be more one-sided than usual because you do the majority of the talking while they do the majority of the listening.

  2. Shallow interaction: It might be challenging to sustain genuine engagement and connection with each follower when you have a huge number of them.

  3. Difficulty in building trust: Building trust can be challenging because a huge following is frequently accompanied by a number of inactive or "fake" followers, which detracts from the authenticity and reliability of your following.




Building a Community - Pros:

  1. Stronger connections: Creating a community can help you establish deeper ties with your audience, which can enhance engagement, loyalty, and support. They will follow your brand religiously or support it without fail!

  2. Better feedback and insights: Communities provide a space for members to share their opinions, feedback, and experiences, which can be valuable in improving products or services.

  3. Increased sense of belonging: Communities can provide a sense of belonging and connection to individuals, which can increase overall engagement and satisfaction.


Building a Community - Cons:

  1. Slower growth: Building a community takes time and effort, and growth may be slower compared to simply acquiring followers.

  2. Requires continued engagement and regulation: To guarantee that members have a great experience, community building and management require constant participation and moderation.

  3. Limited reach: Communities may have limited reach compared to having a large following, as members may not actively share or promote the community.


Wrap


Building followers and building a community both have their advantages and disadvantages, and the best approach depends on the goals and priorities of your brand. Having a lot of friends who like to play and eat with you (followers) is amazing, but it's even better if some of them are always telling others about how much they love playing and eating with you (community). A community will be sustainable and will likely be around for years.



Your biggest fans,

Oyemaja Executives.

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