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Audience Building

January 19, 2023

What You Need to Do to Grow Your First 4,000 Followers

Kevon Cheung

Founder & Head Teacher


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Have you ever seen people publicly announce this on Twitter?

“I’m going to get to 100,000 followers by the end of the year. Follow me as I do it!”

Haha! Seriously, I can’t help to laugh a little bit because it is such a wrong way to look at audience building.

If for some reason I’m following this person, I instantly click “Unfollow”.

I get what he is trying to do - having an audience is everything these days. I’m proud of his aspiration, but not so much of his mindset and approach.

If you are also driven by these metrics and will do anything to get there, you’ll soon find out that a huge following doesn’t automatically build you a business.

You’ll likely look back and go “Dang. I wasted all my time!”

So if you can’t BUILD an audience, what should you do?

Let me tell you my approach so far to go from 0 niches, 0 friends, and 0 followers to a mid-5-figure online business in 2 years.

I call this Loyal Audience Building.

It means that these people actually care about you. They like you as a person. They feel a sense of bonding with you.

They’re happy to give you feedback so you can grow more. Whatever you’re doing next, they want to share your joy.

❌ The wrong way: you grow a huge audience → figure out what to do.

That’s a deferred business, kind of like how some people are okay to suffer for 60 years of their lives to enjoy 30 years of happy retirement.

You don’t want that.

✅ The right way: you create immense values to serve whoever is around you at this stage → more people want to follow you.

But from what I see, most people are very stuck not knowing what to focus on to move the needle at a particular stage.

It is hard because it actually changes as you go.

And that’s why I’m laying out my exact steps for navigating this with you.

Remember. There's no one-size-fits-all in audience building. You need a different strategy at each stage.

Depending on where you stand in the journey (not exactly true but let’s just use # of followers to judge), you can read more into what I did exactly to get ideas.

🛴 0 to 400 followers

  • (You are) the average joe. No matter how successful you are, you're still a nobody on the platform.
  • (What you need to do) is to find a tribe that you feel great being a part of and focus on making friends.
  • (Example) I started with the Indie Hackers community because I moved away from the funded startup scene. I knew I’d be happy to wake up and hang out with all the bootstrapped founders.

🛵 400 to 800 followers

  • (You are) showing up with good content about your topic. People start to recognize your contribution to the tribe.
  • (What you need to do) is to have a lot of public conversations on Twitter. Use these to improve your domain knowledge and gain exposure to your content and projects.
  • (Example) My fundamental principles are reaching the right people and making the 1st move. With these, it wasn’t that hard to get to 800 followers.

🚗 800 to 1,500 followers

  • (You are) getting to a stage where action speaks more than words. Your work could be a guide, some articles, a SaaS, a course - anything. You give away this piece of work for free and it impresses people and puts your name in their minds.
  • (What you need to do) is "Show, don't tell." You need real, meaningful work to back up what you preach. Stop tweeting out lack-of-context wisdom. Start openly sharing the behind-the-scenes of your project to show, don’t tell.
  • (Example) With a sizable circle around me, I decided to build leverage by creating my 1st project that would blow people away. The project attracted 2,100 in 3 days. I doubled my following and became known as the “Build in Public guy”.

🚝 1,500 to 4,000 followers

  • (You are) now known for something. You have a good circle of friends who will cheer for you. You also start to shape up your unique voice.
  • (What you need to do) is figuring out how to move your influence to your own channels, say email. Somewhere you can reliably offer your values.
  • (Example) The community started to appreciate my contribution, and now I need to build my email list. I created Making Twitter Friends in public and got 2,800+ students in 18 months organically. The free email course gives out so much value that I’ve heard so many people say “Kevon, your course is so good, I can’t believe it is free”. That’s what you want - overdelivering - and the audience will come.
  • I also designed it in a way that triggers students to have conversations with me and helps me share the course with their network. While I’m building my loyal audience, I’m also embedding an organic engine.

After having it outlined for 8 months already, I’m finally building this new course to share how I created this free email course as an Organic Superfans Engine. Would you want to help shape this course & get an early bird discount? I'll be building it in public. Come join me!

🚀 Beyond 4,000 followers

  • (You are) perceived as a big account or influencer on Twitter. YEAH! 🎉 The follower number doesn't mean as much to you now. What you want to do is keep up your active presence, design the funnels, and scale your business.
  • (Example) At this point, I realized my strategies don’t change any more. They are still the same: 1. Make cool shit, 2. Be generous and share learnings, and 3. Respect the people around you. That’s it. I show up every day doing the same thing and my business and audience are both growing steadily.

I want to wrap this up with a quick story.

Yesterday, I was having a call with one of my students at Build in Public Mastery, so I went to his Twitter profile to take a quick look.

I saw these:

I was shocked! He was replying to all the tweets that offered a resource for free if you reply with an emoji.

He was in a hardcore consumption mode, hoping to take in all the knowledge from everyone.

I hopped on a call and told him:

“You don’t need more resources. The best learning comes from doing. Let’s figure out your next step and JUST DO IT!”

What about you?

Based on my strategy above, if you can figure out the ONE thing you need to focus on at your stage and do an extraordinary job, an army of people will be following you overnight.

Let your work speak for you.