Being likeable and relatable will help you amplify your message and increase the likelihood of gaining followers. Followers want to follow a leader who is human and has real emotions. They want to know that you understand their pain and their emotion and can relate to it.
Like and become likable in return
The first step to becoming known on social media is to like conversations and thoughts that are consistent with your theme and expertise. These messages should be relevant to what your brand is about, but should also be easily observable. Read more about this in our article on reciprocity. Liking something that thousands of other people like would not make you stand out. Simply liking something is only the first step in participating online. If you really want to build a relationship then you need to demonstrate that you can relate by expressing yourself online. This will take some courage but will show that you are not simply a robot.
Create and join conversations
Asking the right questions is a wonderful way to become engaging. One way to do this would be by asking relatable questions. These are questions specific to what your customer might be thinking and/or feeling.
You might find that people start commenting on your posts or even asking questions related to your posts. When people engage with you, you should recognise their engagement to encourage further engagement. This starts amplifying your messaging so that more people are able to see what is taking place.
Sometimes people might react negatively to your messages. This is a chance for you to show that you welcome criticism and that you are open to communicating with others. The way that you respond to the criticism will show others that you are willing to engage and that it is safe to engage with you. Always be welcoming and thank people for commenting, even if this means biting down on your proverbial tongue when they criticise you.
Show passion and emotion
People want to relate to leaders who demonstrate that they are passionate about relevant issues. When all the posts that you share come across as dry and academic you might struggle to create followers. You need to show that you empathise and understand your audience. The emotion that you bring across in the messages that you share is therefore important. This might mean using humour, or possibly opening up a bit about yourself so that it is easier for people to relate to you.
Early on in my journey on thought leadership, I wrote a humorous article that made fun of the role that the customer was in. It immediately got the attention of the ideal customer and was instantaneously shared across multiple platforms. You can have a look at the article here: Small Business Development Satire for Corporate Sadists .
Your customer is human
Even though you might reach your customer through a computer, your customer always wants to know that they are doing business with a human. As such you need to let your humanity shine through in the way in which you interact and engage online. As a leader, you want to influence people and illicit response. This does not mean overreacting and being dramatic every time you post something, but it does mean showing the human side of who you are and that you have thought and opinions about things that are relevant.