How to Live in the Death of Followers Era

new signal in the marketing world

Think about the content creators that you follow on your favorite social media platforms. Now think about how much of their content you actually see on your feed. 

You will most probably notice that the content creators that you are following are nowhere to be seen on your social media feeds. So why bother to follow any creator if you don’t see their content? 

I recently listened to Jack Conte’s (CEO at Patreon) keynote at SXSW about the death of the follower. He explains how the current internet algorithms are killing the traditional “follower” for creators, threatening their creative freedom and livelihoods. Jack is talking about his own journey as a musician and entrepreneur and how the “subscribe” button helped him and his wife to build a community that actively engaged with their work. 

Why does this video matter for B2B creators? Because many of them are focusing on building a following audience, thinking that if you have a big audience (follower numbers), you will make it in this world. Guess what? This won’t happen anymore. 

Engagement on social media is more important than followers. Why? Because it doesn’t matter how many people are following you; if they don’t see your content and don’t engage with it, it’s just like a big fat zero.

The connections between creators and their followers were threatened when social media platforms began prioritizing content based on engagement algorithms. 

When social media uses algorithms to decide what you see, it can make it harder for creators and their followers to build strong, lasting connections.

“Following” is dead

TikTok changed the social media game, because they completely abandoned the concept of the follow and they also forced other platforms to adopt similar approaches. 

This change shows a recognition that mere numbers don’t always equate to meaningful connections or influence.

In the past, influencers and creators on social media platforms used their follower count as the main indicator of their success, and they worked hard to gain a sizable following. Recent trends, however, point toward a shift in the way we see and develop online connections. 

More platforms are focusing on communities (Discord, Telegram, Reddit). Creators who put effort into activities like hosting live events, leading discussions, or making special content for loyal followers are seeing more success and satisfaction than those just trying to get more followers. 

This means followers aren’t just watching from the sidelines anymore—they’re actively taking part and feeling like they belong to something special.

Also, let’s not forget the power of newsletters. 

This means that your follower numbers don’t matter that much anymore. 

The approach brands and B2B creators should take

What should creators and brands do?

1. Focus less on building your followers

Your success as a creator shouldn’t be defined solely by numbers. You can have 1000 followers who engage with your work and share it to others, or you can have 100 000 followers who never engage with any of your posts. 

So don’t focus that much on how to get more followers, because gaining them no longer gives you the ability to consistently deliver content to an audience you have won over. Instead, start focusing on engagement. Start prioritizing meaningful interactions and connections with your audience.

The other day, Megan Duong, who has a relatively small audience, made a post on LinkedIn. She mentioned her platform’s organic growth on TikTok and how she managed to conclude B2B contracts. She proved that she can bring value to an industry that’s trying to leverage Tiktok and she caught the attention of Dave Gerhardt, who invited her on the ExitFive podcast. 

This is just an example which shows that good content attracts great opportunities. 

2. Create more personality-led content

Audiences are drawn to creators who share their stories, experiences, and struggles in a genuine and relatable manner. The personality-led content always beats the branded content. 

Chris Cunningham, for example, talks about the struggles that he and his team encountered before ClickUp came to life; building a successful company is a combination of many things, including adaptation to change and continuous learning and improvement. 

Start sharing your thoughts, join in on conversations and be consistent in doing that. Improve your ability to connect with your audience on a personal and emotional level. 

This type of content isn’t just entertainment. It’s also about building communities. It’s like finding a group of friends who get you, even in a big, busy online world.

There are all these platforms which give you the opportunity to express your personality, knowledge and creativity to a worldwide public. Use them well, don’t just create for the algorithm! 

3. Always ask yourself “What would make this piece of content interesting for somebody who doesn’t know who I am?”

Document whatever journey that you are on, and share it with the world, because eventually that will attract like-minded individuals. Let the world witness your journey. 

Back in the day, the “subscribe” or “follow” button helped creators build a connection with their public. But a shift happened. “Following” is dead and is being replaced by engagement. 

As we adapt to social media’s changes, it’s important to focus on connecting with others instead of just gaining followers. 

We can change how we measure success online by valuing real interactions and forming communities of people who share our interests. 

This shift shows how personal stories and genuine connections matter more than ever in the digital age.