Advice for Leaders: How Jimmy Fallon Engages His Followers


Are your followers satisfied, or engaged?

There are so many innovative leaders raising the bar so that feeling satisfied is no longer enough to keep an audience. People are searching for and following the leaders that excite them and encourage them to take action.

When your followers are more than just satisfied, they are engaged and driven to act. And, that’s where the real power lies!

Leaders can learn a few things from Jimmy Fallon, because you need followers to lead and Fallon has plenty of those! And surprisingly, it took much more than a primetime show to get all of them.

So, how does Jimmy Fallon get and keep so many followers?

Here are a few pieces of advice we can learn from him:


Jimmy Fallon with Audience

Know your audience.

Fallon really understands his audience of mostly Millennials. More specifically, he knows where they spend their time and understands how to effectively engage with them.

Millennials love finding and sharing authentic, fun, interesting content. They love voicing their opinions and becoming a part of the conversation or experience. And, Fallon gives them the whole package. He captivates his audience by emotionally connecting with them. He makes them laugh, cry, and reminisce. Then, he goes a step further, and invites them to act upon that emotion by commenting or sharing on social media.

“We’re not trying to ignore the fact that people are in front of a computer at work and surf the Web all day long, or that kids check the Internet when they get home from school. We want to exploit that, and have fun with it. I’m on Facebook and I’ve been on Twitter just talking to my fans. It’s amazing!”

—Jimmy Fallon, prior to the show premiering in 2009

By leveraging his social media presence, Fallon continually engages with Millennials to keep them interested in what he is doing.  “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” YouTube channel has nearly 7 million subscribers, and the @jimmyfallon Twitter page has an astonishing 24 million followers!

Take Away: Who is your audience? Most likely they are your customers, potential customers, and even your employees. Where do they spend their time? What are they interested in hearing from you? All of these groups are vital to you or your company’s success, and all of them are looking for a reason to follow you.


Jimmy Fallon with muppets

Keep it fresh and get creative.

Beyond knowing his audience, Fallon is always doing something new and creative. Yes, it helps that he has plenty of resources to work with, including: an in-studio band, producers, writers, celebrities, politicians, and musicians. But, resources aren’t everything. Talk show hosts from the past had all of these resources too; they just didn’t get very creative with them. Their guests and topics changed, but the format stayed the same.

A new talk show format required a shift in focus from “What should I share with my audience?” to “What does my audience want me to share, and how?”.

Fallon was chosen to host because of his diverse abilities in acting, performing, and comedy. He was the guy who could keep viewers interested with variety and enthusiasm.

Take Away: If you want to inspire others into action, you have to present them with something new to keep them curious and interested. Mix up your approach. Try to avoid referencing and sharing the same types of content. And most importantly, ask your followers what they want and need from you.


Jimmy Fallon Christmas Sweater

Don’t do all the talking. Seek active participation.

Fallon doesn’t just talk at his audience, he interacts with them, in studio, on screen, and online.  He engages people in the most simplistic and powerful way, through constant interaction. By definition, an interaction is a reciprocal action or influence. It requires participation from two sides.

Take Away: When you ask people to interact with you or to get involved in what you are doing, they have to pay attention. They become engaged by their responsibility to listen and respond. So, don’t do all the talking and be authentic and inviting.      


Jimmy Fallon and Justin T

Know what you do best.

Fallon has changed the status quo in talk show entertainment (and a changing demographic deserves something new). He showcases his improv and impersonation skills, and by playing off of these strengths, his show created an authentic way to connect with people. People enjoy watching him because he is a performer in his element.

Take Away: It is so important to understand what you do best. Bring your experience and excitement to the table, and people will want to follow you.