Find Your Tribe, Find Your Followers

One of the most common questions I get asked is “How do I find followers on Twitter?” Or Pinterest. tribeOr Instagram. On any social channel, really.

I always say that the first step to finding followers is knowing who you are. So I put on my old journalist hat and start asking them questions. “Who are you, professionally and personally?” “What are you passionate about?” “What do you do on the weekends?” “Who (or what) sets your heart on fire?”

The reason I ask these questions is that social media is about being the authentic you, and finding others that identify with what you identify with. You need to know who you are first, before you can find fans and followers.

Once you know who you are, you go off in search of your TRIBE. Look it up, and the first word or so in the definition will be “social.”

Your tribe will be the people who are not only participating in the conversations you’re participating in, but who share your passions.

For example, I am really IN to social media. That’s my professional tribe. But I’m also a graduate of the University of Virginia and a bit nutty about my college teams, and I have a UVA tribe. I am a new convert to/fan of The Walking Dead. So I have my TWD tribe. Heck, the Twitter hashtag for that tribe is #TWDFamily. They’ve even named their conversation hashtag LIKE a tribe.

I happen to think that this isn’t just for individuals looking for a following. I think that brands who are smart know that their fan base is a tribe. For example, Buffer, a social media management tool, collects their tribe together on Wednesdays at noon EST to have a chat together about different social media topics. There are even sub tribes of the Buffer tribe, such as a group that eats pizza while participating in the chat, and so they are the Buffer Chat Pizza Crew tribe. They may have tribe t-shirts, I don’t know. 😉

Another example is Adobe. They sell a product, yes, (which also has a loyal tribe) but they also have an employer brand that sells a lifestyle. They gathered employees that love working there, and gave them a way to identify as a tribe by using the hashtag #AdobeLife on Twitter and Instagram.

Think about it, and it makes sense. Humans have a core desire to group themselves with other like-minded humans. Political groups. Religions. Golf club memberships. Canasta clubs. Bingo meetups.

Know and say out loud who you are in social media. Use the hashtags, groups, platforms that your tribes use. Have real conversations about real things. A follower base will follow.


These posts are my views, and my views alone, based on my experience in social media. I also post these thoughts to my social media blog.

I have a social media tips board on Pinterest, I invite you to follow me there.

Or, connect with me on Twitter @CShirkeyCollins

Be sure to follow me on LinkedIn to be alerted to new posts as well! If the mood strikes you, you can check out my other posts here.

Article originally posted to LinkedIn by Carmen Collins (CLAS ’94)

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