"Musician's Guide to Steemit" Chapter FIVE: From Good to Great, or, From 100 to 1,000 Followers on Steemit
We are really turning a corner on this book.
With this chapter, the most important parts of the book are now written. Everything that is specific to starting a Steemit account and going from 0 -> 1,000 followers (in the smart, organic way) is now covered.
There are a few things left to write, specifically these things:
- The chapter on creating a Steemit account
- the “Appendix A” section on bitcoin and blockchain technology
- and maybe a few other things TBD
Fundraising Is Going Great
Our first fundraising post for this book did amazingly well so far. **It's not too late to upvote it btw - all money earned from the post will go to the @musiciansguide account and be used to hire people for book-related jobs: graphics, design, editing, etc
That post will pay out about $500 USD worth of rewards - not bad at all! It will put us about 20% of the way towards our total fundraising goal, which is great for one post. More info on future fundraising efforts is coming soon.
OK, with no further ado, here's chapter 5 of the book:
Chapter 5: From Good to Great - Going from Your First 100 to Your First 1000 Followers
In the previous chapter you learned how to start your Steemit journey on the right foot. You followed other users and made friends on the platform, eventually crafting your own content and developing a steady posting schedule.
The path to 100 followers was mostly about learning how to be a part of the Steemit community. You had to learn how to find your place here.
The path to 1,000 followers will be more about taking initiative and making your personal mark on Steemit. If you want to grow beyond the casual stage of steem-ing and build a larger audience for your content, you’ll need to be bold. It’s time to learn the strategies that you can use to stand out from the crowd and become a top Steemian.
It won’t be easy. Everything up until now was designed to ease you into the Steemit experience. You’ve been able to explore and do whatever seemed most fun.
To climb to higher ranks of the Steemit ladder, you’ll have to push yourself past your current comfort zone. It will require a lot of hours of work. You will need to find the bravery to try new things on the internet - even though that may result in short-term failure.
Why would anybody do this??
The answer is simple: with great effort comes great rewards. If you are able to build an audience of 1,000 real followers, you’ll probably start to earn a consistent income from your Steemit posts.
All of the work and occasional discomfort will be well worth it when you begin cashing in a few hundred bucks per week in Steemit rewards. Trust me :-)
There are no guarantees, but right now is probably the easiest it will ever be to build an account on Steemit. As time goes on, more and more people will become successful but the competition will increase even faster. These are still the “early days” - but to be honest, the early days might soon turn into the “middle days” so I wouldn’t wait.
This chapter will teach you how to work your way towards your first 1,000 followers.
The Importance of Sticking to Genuine Tactics
There are two kinds of users who reach 1,000+ followers on Steemit.
One kind of person does it the old fashioned way. They post lots of great content for months and months until finally, after a lot of patience and hard work, they get over 1,000 followers.
The other kind of person uses cheap tricks to get above 1,000 followers as fast as possible. This person wants to look good at all costs.
Examples of “cheap tricks” that can be used:
- Follow-for-follow tactics where you follow thousands of actives to get “followbacks”
- paying people to follow you
- leaving spam comments
- running a robot script that leaves generic comments on other people’s accounts
- paying for upvotes
- trying to use upvote-for-upvote to get more rewards
The list goes way further than this, but that is enough to get the idea.
In case it is not obvious, using these cheap and abusive tactics will not get you a real audience. Spam-or-Scam accounts only get other similarly lame accounts to follow them. It doesn’t lead to good rewards or engagement.
Stick to the real tactics of great content and community engagement. These are slow and steady and they really work. You will get higher quality followers this way.
It is slower at first but actually much faster in the long run. In a few years you could be gaining hundreds of high quality followers per day - this kind of thing dwarfs any short-term gains from spam.
Quick Note about Spammers:
You will see a LOT of people doing ridiculous stuff on Steem. For example you might see people spamming comments and upvoting themselves hundreds of times across different posts.
What do they get for all their work? Maybe $1 per day.
To a lot of people, that seems ridiculous. Why would you spend that much time and energy to earn so little? But - Steemit is a global economy. So a lot of the people spamming out that $1 per day are actually earning an OK living relative to their local economy.
That’s why you will see this kind of activity. The sad thing is, these same people could actually build a blog by talking about their lives - and then they could earn several dollars per day and do better.
Hell, some of them could become real popular Steemians and earn hundreds of dollars per day - then they would have the kind of wealth that can lift up entire communities.
So when you see all the spam on the edges of Steemit, have sympathy but try not to encourage it. And definitely do not participate in it yourself.
How Long Does It Take to Reach 1,000 Followers?
The answer to this question is a little bit different for everybody.
As with all things in life, different people have different natural skill levels at blogging. They also have different amounts of charisma or natural charm. I’ve seen new users reach 1,000 followers within 3-4 months, but this is not the norm.
It took me about 8 months to reach my first 1,000 followers and another 4 months or so to get to 2,000. This increase in speed as the number goes up is a common thing on Steemit.
Some users post less frequently or for whatever other reason do not accrue followers as quickly. If you do not post at least five times per week, it is certainly possible that you wouldn’t reach 1,000 followers in your first year.
You can’t guarantee that you will quickly gain a lot of followers, but you can nudge it in the right direction. Posting more often, having better posts, or leaving more high quality comments on other peoples’ content can all help to increase your follower growth rate.
The worst thing is to get discouraged and post less often. This will only make a slow growth rate become even slower.
You will need patience to succeed on Steemit. It never happens as fast as you want, even if it happens pretty fast. If you are setting goals, give yourself at least six months to reach your first thousand followers. Remember that quality is much more important than quantity especially in the early stages of your Steem career.
Leading Your Steem Tribe
One thing that happens as you grow past your first hundred followers is that you will pick up some dedicated fans. These are the users who respond on a lot of your posts, sometimes many days in a row.
When this happens, you are becoming the leader of a tribe on Steemit. We all organize into tribes throughout our lives - as fans for bands and TV shows, as members of political groups or dietary ideologies or participants in hobbies. People naturally separate into groups. And on Steemit this happens when people flock to popular users.
Even at the early stages, you’ll accrue some of these regular readers. Thus you become the leader of your own Steem tribe. By the time you reach 1,000 followers, this tribe will be a nice medium-sized group.
There is a lot that you can do to cultivate your fans and build your tribe. The key thing is to never take any of your followers for granted.
Each person who takes the time to read and respond to your content should be very valuable to you. They are the people who make what you want to do possible. Treat them like the VIPs of your blog, because they are.
How do you do that? For starters, respond to all of their comments. Leave a thoughtful response when possible, and at least a “Thank you” when not.
By commenting, you give them the personal attention and public recognition that they crave. Upvotes are another good way to support quality replies to your content. Anything you can do to make your fans happy is a good thing.
When your fans have relevant content to your interests, you can follow them. This is a good way to discover new content for your feed. Don’t feel pressure to follow every fan though - it’s not required to follow people out of politeness.
Take a Role In Your Community
In the previous chapter you joined a Steemit community such as the Minnow Support Project, the Open Mic Challenge, or one of the many other options.
At first your only goal was to learn and to meet people. Just being inside a chat on discord or Steemit Chat while other people talk about Steemit can be a deep learning experience for a new user. You pick up on new terminology and get to ask questions.
As time goes on though you become familiar with the basics. Once you reach this point it is time to step up your commitment. Seek to take on additional responsibilities within your group.
For example if you were in the Minnow Support Project, you could start a radio show on their 24/7 community run radio station. This would be a great way to get even more involved in the community. Many such shows already exist for a variety of topics, from music to interviews to life advice and much more.
Sometimes these community groups need help just to keep functioning. For example in the music subcommunity for Curie, called Illuminati-Inc, we added new users to keep the project running smoothly. Those new users started curating posts for us to help other people stick to reviewing posts.
If you can find an opportunity to assist a group like that, you’ll be able to take on more responsibility within Steemit. Best of all these projects can lead to paid gigs. It is not uncommon for these groups to end up paying people for their roles at some point - so your philanthropy can turn into a paying gig if you want it to.
The real pay comes in the increased stature that you get within your community. As you become more important, you’ll get more exposure for your personal brand and earn more followers.
Be a Mentor For Other Users
As you progress in your Steem journey you will be developing crucial wisdom about how to succeed on Steemit. By the time you have your first few hundred followers, you may be ready to become a mentor to other newer Steemians.
Teaching other people how to succeed on Steemit is one of the best ways to enhance your Steemit experience.
For one thing, it’s just the right thing to do. You had to learn the ropes when you first stated on Steemit. A lot of other people have helped you to get to the point where you are today. It’s only fair to pay it back by helping other users too.
For another thing, teaching forces you to truly understand your own methods. You will clarify your thinking by passing it on to somebody else.
Mentorship can be official or it can be casual. In the official case you would find a new user, perhaps a friend in real life, and guide them day-by-day through their career on Steemit. This would be a lot of work so it only makes sense to do it if you really want to help somebody.
More likely is the casual mentorship where you can simply be available to some of your close Steemit friends via private messages and comments. They can ask you questions every now and then and you can keep an eye on their blogs. This is the kind of relationship that tends to develop naturally on Steemit.
Remember that everybody will have their own style on Steemit. Your goal is to offer helpful advice but not to preach every little thing about how somebody should use their account.
If you can help somebody avoid a few mistakes and/or have an easier, faster time climbing the ladder of Steemit, your job is accomplished. The process of doing this may have profound ramifications for your own approach to your Steemit account.
Start a Project
Once you reach the ~500 followers level and/or are getting a consistent 3-5 comments on most of your posts, you can consider starting a project.
If you think about all of the things you have done online, it’s actually a remarkable platform in general. Every single website has to be started by somebody, and every event and piece of content on those websites are also spearheaded by people.
It’s people all the way down!
I remember when I was younger I used to participate in a message board themed around the reality show Survivor. At first people just used the forum to talk about the show. Then, later on, we started having games of Survivor on the forum where we’d actually vote each other off of the “island”. If you have ever played the party game Mafia - this was similar.
What started as a simple conversational forum became a thriving community with dozens of members, 5+ of which at any given time would be running a game.
Steemit is a lot like that, except with way bigger stakes. While the survivor message board ran purely off entertainment value, Steemit has money attached. It’s a vehicle for real positive change in the world.
You can think of Steemit as a new source of money for projects, an alternative to crowdfunding in the traditional way.
What could you accomplish if you had $2,000 for a random useful project? Steemit makes that possible. You can spend a few weeks (or months, if needed) fundraising until you have the money and then execute the project.
This book was a Steemit project!! We raised money to fund the creation of all the graphics, to finalize the book design, hire a professional editor, and much more. Everybody was hired from within the Steemit community.
Other examples of Steem-powered projects include Steem Park, a park installation in a popular area of the Bed-Stuy neighborhood in Brooklyn, and a college level history course in Philly that utilized the blockchain to engage students on a new level. Both of these demonstrate different use cases for using Steemit to improve your local community in some way.
Don’t think about this selfishly - instead, think on the community level. What could you do to make a visible impact that improves people’s lives around you?
With Steemit, we are moving to a new era of the internet. It won’t be perfect - nothing ever is - but it’ll be a whole lot better at allocating funds to valuable projects that help our communities. This will be true on the local, regional, national, and even global level.
One day you will be able to visit a “Steemit Charities of the Day” page and give a few upvotes to the best available causes of the moment.
You’ll be able to help fund educations, medical treatments, and new research. One day you’ll feed a hungry child across the world, the next you might help a teenager in Nebraska raise funds for a recording session.
Whatever your inclination - Steemit is a way to improve the world. Starting a project is not easy, it’ll take a lot of work and trial-and-error but in the end it is the most rewarding way to use this platform. And as a nice bonus, you’ll gain a lot of new followers and community clout if you pull off a great project.
So what do you say?
Where to Find Help for Starting Projects
This is the biggest and most difficult step in the book. That’s why I would like to invite you to reach out to me directly if you are trying to start a project.
Send me (@heymattsokol) a message on Steemit Chat once you reach this step. I’ll be able to assist you - with advice, by connecting you to other users on Steemit who can work with you, helping you gain access to funding, and more.
The best part of Steemit is that we don’t have to do anything alone. Whatever your goal is, you can tap into the community to find resources.
On that note, we’ve reached the end of the main portion of the guide. I hope that these tactics help you reach 1,000 followers and far beyond.
END OF CHAPTER
We Aren’t Done Yet
There is some more stuff to write - Chapter 2 isn’t done yet, for example, and neither is “Appendix A” explaining bitcoin and blockchain in a general sense. I'll be working on these next week.
Oh yeah and BTW: Job Listings for The Book Are Going Up In The Near Future, as soon as fundraising is done so get ready for that. I’ll post them all from this account as STEEM GIGS and there’s a lot of work to go around so definitely keep an eye out for it.