In this line of work, we often get asked, “how what we do” translates into social media; through tracking, new likes and new followers. It seems everybody understands the potential value in followers. But only if they are real!
Let me share with you the story of a man who is homeless, living in Madrid. A man I once had the pleasure of working with in my younger days at the start of my career. It is also worth pointing out that this man is still homeless. Homeless not through ‘choice’, as so many would chose to believe, but through circumstance.
His circumstances have also led him to follow a path to try and help create jobs, rehabilitate and offer support to those most in need in our society. His idea, create awareness through simple acts of kindness and promote social interaction between those who have and those who have less. I am careful not to use the words ‘have not’; as my friend has taught me that everyone has something, even if it is hope.
Now you are probably wondering why this story is relevant to how we can improve social media in business. Well, the remarkable thing about my friend is that he created an Instagram page with the aim of creating a community of people that care, to create jobs and a platform of awareness, for people that have happened upon tough times. A noble pursuit! So where has this led him today? Well, he is still without a permanent home, but has spent the last 2 years amassing more than 11k followers of people that care and wish to make a difference on his Instagram page. These are not paid for likes and followers, but true organic real followers. How did he do it? Getting up every day to walk the streets and speaking to people, telling his story and stories of those that he has met on the street. When I say every day, he hasn’t taken the weekends off to have a rest; he has to get out of bed 7 days a week to walk the streets to earn his money. Earning enough to feed himself (and often others too) and to pay for a bed each and every evening. Eleven thousand followers on his own, walking the streets and speaking to people one to one!
So what can we learn about social from this man. Well, apart from the truly remarkable and unbreakable spirit of a man that I am lucky enough to call a friend and find inspiration in. I have learnt that REAL followers in social are the key. Creating a narrative that connects you to the people you wish to serve; and forget the number of followers. Liam often used to worry that he was losing followers after a post. My advice to him was that he now had a smaller group of people that really care about what he does and it’s easier to speak to those people than try and connect with people that don’t care as much. It’s not the number of followers; it’s about creating a community of people that truly cares for your brand. And Liam also tells me that “The Act of giving will change the world and bonds us all”.