I looked my screen and hit refresh a few times. My eyes couldn’t believe it. I had gained 20,000 Twitter followers in last six hours. I sat back and then snickered, knowing the truth that I had bought those followers.
Now why would I go and buy Twitter followers? Simply put, it was an experiment. I was under no illusion that this would somehow boost my Twitter status with people. I wanted to see if you could actually buy Twitter followers and what the repercussions would be.
Well, that short high of having the additional 20,000 followers quickly faded. About twelve hours in, I lost about 11,000 of those followers, then about three hours later I lost another 5,000. The remaining 4,000 were gone after 48 hours had passed.
What did I learn from all of this? Well, first I learned that most of those followers I bought were robots. Secondly, I learned that this practice of buying followers is much more common than I thought. However looking back, I think I came to some more substantial realizations.
Twitter Is Not About Followers, but a Tribe
I think it was Seth Godin who first coined the term “Tribe” to describe the group of people who you identify with. I think of a tribe as a group of people who share the same concerns, passions and ideas of my own. A tribe freely gives and takes with each other. A tribe lifts up and encourages in times of doubt. When I look at Twitter, I want to make sure that I am not trying to amass “followers”, but instead build and become part of a tribe.
A Tribe Is Your Best Marketing
If your tribe shares the same goals as you do, then marketing becomes that much easier for you. You already have a built in understanding and trust with your audience. You know the boundaries and what the tribe expects from you. Deliver on those expectations and the tribe will take care of the marketing for you.
A Tribe Will Defend You
If you are a part of a tribe, you really shouldn’t have to worry about naysayers. If you are doing something original, naysayers will show up. However, a tribe usually runs to the defense of others. With a tribe you are not going it alone.
A Tribe Gives Back
With a a tribe if you are constantly giving to it, eventually it will give back to you. Now this “giving back” might not be instantaneous. In fact, it could takes months for your tribe to start giving back. However, stick with it and soon your tribe will give you back ten-fold what you put in it.
What does this mean for your church? It’s time we stop worrying about getting more followers and start thinking about how we turn our church into a tribe. How do we build groups of people who will rally around each other and give without thought of receiving anything in return? Does your church reflect this? If not, how can you foster it?