Difference between "Followers" and "Following of people"?

I found this expression “Following of people” and I’m not sure I get it right. Is this the same thing as “Followers”? Or there is a difference?


Without context it is a little hard to say, but ‘followers’ are people that follow someone or an idea. Youtubers for example have ‘followers’. Religions also have followers. ‘Following of people’ is not an expression that is really used as far as I am aware and it sounds very strange. The only situation I can think of is as part of a sentence such as “He has a following of (X number of) people.”. When in doubt using followers is the safer option.

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Both are used today on social networking websites. Each one has opposite meaning.

Thank you very much, PoloMint26.

The context is below:
“Those who truly lead are able to create a following of people who act not because they were swayed, but because they were inspired.”
“Those who are able to inspire will create a following of people—supporters, voters, customers, workers—who act for the good of the whole not because they have to, but because they want to.”
And then the author use just the word “following” instead of the whole expression:
“And how did they manage to build such a cultish loyal following—something
very few companies are ever able to achieve?”
“And it is that loyalty that gives Apple or Harley-Davidson or Southwest Airlines or Martin Luther King or any other great leader who commands a following such a huge advantage.”

As I feel in all these cases we can change “following of people” and “following” to “followers”. Will that be correct to claim? Or there is a difference in meaning/perception/connotation between these words/expressions?