f you want someone else to follow you, that person needs to know where you are going.
Social media has redefined several key words in our vocabulary to encourage online relationship building. You’ve seen these words:
Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook use the term, “follow” to describe the tribe of people connected to and surrounding one particular person. Here’s the problem I have with that term, “follow.” It’s more than a mere click of a mouse button. When you ask others to follow you, what exactly are you asking them to do? A follower means there must be a leader and a leader must be going somewhere.
Am I being difficult?
In social media, following means you are asking them to follow news about your:
- daily life
- blog, or other writing
- Breaking news about your book or the product you are promoting
- Cause, belief system, or opinions about current events.
Editors and publishers push writers to expand their social media reach. The larger the number of people following an author, the better. Yet, as Michael Hyatt encourages in his excellent book, Platform, you have to make following you worth their time — otherwise, they will “unfollow” you.
If we want people to follow us, we have indicated we are willing to lead them somewhere.
Where are you leading them?
The next time you send a friend or follow request, ask yourself: Where do you want to lead your followers?
- Toward yourself?
- Into your life moments?
- Toward what you have to sell?
- To your way of thinking?
Twitter didn’t invent the term “follow.”
2000 years ago, an itinerant preacher approached four men in the fishing business. He simply said, “Follow me.’ And they did. Twelve men in all left everything behind to follow the Rabbi named Jesus and fish for people instead of fish.
- They followed his life.
- They followed his work.
- For three years, they went everywhere he went.
Where did Jesus take them? He led them to the cross.
Jesus wanted more than daily companionship from those 12 men. His goal was that they should obey His teachings and follow His example. His purpose was that they would join Him in the work of distributing the news of what He had come to earth to do. He called them to be his front team, a PR team that would proclaim the good news that his death made life possible for the rest of us.
Later, the apostle Paul would write, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ (1 Cor. 11:1).” Paul’s example gave his audience something to follow – something worth following, because Paul was following Jesus.
If you are a follower of Jesus, then leading your social media followers toward Jesus should be a central part of your platform.
You are not merely asking your particular group of followers to peek into your daily life and receive updates about your latest project. You are inviting them to follow you as you follow Christ.
Where are we going?
Our followers are listening to our words, watching our life choices, and observing our attitudes. If you and I want to lead them toward Jesus, we need to watch how we present our lives so we can effectively lead our followers in His direction.
After all, it’s not about us. We are only a tour guide or a conductor as we lead the way toward a knowledge of who God is and what He has done through His Son.
How to Lead on Social Media
We cannot lead people to Jesus unless we ourselves are following Jesus. We lead our followers toward knowing Jesus by following Christ’s example ourselves. Yes, we can provide resources, links, posts, and comments on social media that reflect our faith. But leading is most effective when we lead through our remade character.
Here’s a few of my suggestions on how you can become a Social Media leader worth following:
- Others minded
- A good listener: Ask questions, then let your friends and followers answer without fear of correction from you.
- Yourself: Let the person God has made you to be shine through.
- Wary of getting sidetracked or sucked into discussions that are not based on fac, and are not beneficial or encouraging.
What would you add to my list?
If you want people to truly follow you, give them something worth following and a destination worth reaching. After gathering your followers, keep your promise. Be intentional and purpose driven. For where you lead, they will follow. And if you aren’t headed where you said you were going, you will end up somewhere else and so will they.
How do you plan to intentionally follow Jesus this week? How will you take others with you?
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