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A friend of a friend’s friend told you the number of social media followers you have doesn’t matter anymore. We’re here to tell you they’re wrong – and why.
You do need to grow your social media following (otherwise what’s the point of being on social media at all), and we’re also here to help you do just that, with our beginner’s guide to growing social media followers.
Why Growing your Social Media Following Matters
The story continues to persist that your social media follower count is nothing more than a vanity metric. While it’s true that this number tells you little about the engagement of your audience or the click through rate of your content, it is still, in fact, a number which can, and does, tell a story about your business and brand.
Follower counts matter because:
- Followers equal trust – the more followers you have, the more people who are new to your brand are going to be inclined to follow you themselves. A healthy follower count offers up to others positive social proof that your brand is worth following.
- Influencers will look at your numbers to determine if they want to partner with you.
- You care – numbers don’t lie, and this number tells you whether you are succeeding at putting your message out into the world in a way that will influence people (i.e., customers) and win friends (i.e., the kind of customers who will spread the word on your behalf).
We’re talking real followers here. Not the dodgy kind that you can bulk buy by the thousand. (Can anyone say bot?) Quality followers who are interested in what you have to say, interested in your products or services, even want to buy your products and services. Engaged followers who like your brand and, even better, want to talk about your brand, the content you’re posting, your products, and your services.
The only way to build this kind of authentic social media following? Slowly. Patiently. And with our help in the form of tried and true strategies.
5 Tried & True Strategies to Grow Your Social Media Following
Here, we reveal our top 5 tricks of the trade to build just this kind of social media following. (No actual dodgy tricks used.)
1. Create high quality content
Write what you know. Write what you truly care about. If your content speaks to you, it will speak to your audience. People don’t want to know what undies you’re wearing. (No really. Unless you’re an underwear company, of course.) Make your posts helpful. Make them relevant to your target market. Make them true to your brand.
Pro Tip: Everything you need to create beautiful graphics and other content, in just the right size for just the right social media channel, is available to you using online mega-tool Canva.com. No graphic design degree required.
2. Be consistent
If only we had a social media post for every infographic we’ve ever seen telling us exactly how many times to post per day, per week, per year, and exactly which day to post what and what time… well, we’d never have to create another post ever again!
There is no magic formula for how many times to post on social media and when, but there are some proven posting strategies which can guide you.
- Consistency is more important than frequency. Be realistic about your time and capabilities, then post as often as you can with those parameters in place. The key is to post quality content as often as you can, but to keep those posts coming consistently rather than sporadically. So, if you can only post quality twice a week do that, rather than posting random, non-relevant poppycock twice a day.
- You need to keep your name, and your message, in front of your followers with content that is recognizably you. Develop a voice, a message, and a key content focus – then work it.
- Don’t post too infrequently or too randomly. Conversely, don’t post too often – your content will turn into social media noise, a nuisance, which will result in losing followers.
And remember, even if you post 50 times a day, it doesn’t mean your posts will all get seen! The different social networks’ all work with different algorithms to put your content in front of users, but engagement and relevance are important to all, while posting frequency seems to not factor in at all.
Pro Tip: Too vague for you? Okay, we’ll bend enough to give you this overview:
Facebook ~ Post at least 3-4 times per week, at a time that seems to generate the most engagement for you. (Look at your posting history and platform insights tools to gather that information. Yes, we too have seen all those studies and infographics telling us to post on Facebook at 3pm on a Wednesday or else… sure, that may work for some people but let’s say it all together now: social media, like those undies we were speaking of earlier, is not a one-size-fits-all situation. #dealwithit)
Twitter ~ Post at least once a day, but given that a Tweet has a viewing life of about a split second if you can do more, do more.
Instagram ~ See Facebook. If it’s feasible, though, aim for 1 per day.
LinkedIn ~ Post at least one, thought-provoking, insightful, relevant post per week. This is one of those platforms, though, where if you have nothing interesting or good to say, don’t say it.
3. Choose your channel
You don’t need to be on every social media platform. Pick a few, then do them well. How to pick? Think about:
- Where are your audience playing? For example, if your target market is teens, you might have to dabble in Snapchat. (Sorry!) Middle-aged professionals float your business? LinkedIn is the channel for you. New moms? Say hello to your new best friend, Pinterest.
- What makes the most sense for your business? Do you sell a product which lends itself to stunning images? Instagram wins hands down. DIY services? Try your hand at short videos – then head for YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
Pro Tip: Match your content to your channel. Chirpy tweets may appear unprofessional on LinkedIn; all those hashtags you used in your Instagram post are just overkill on Facebook.
4. Go live
Use the power of video and go live at least once a week!
Whether it’s on Instagram stories, which disappear after 24 hours, Facebook Live, or Twitter Live with Periscope, both of which stay up as a post/tweet forever, live video is an intensely personal way to interact and engage with your audience.
More than this, live videos get given preferential treatment, and increased visibility on almost all the social media channels. For example, when you stream a live video through Instagram Stories, your story immediately gets moved to the very first spot in the Stories lineup. YouTube also gives live sessions prime promotion, with a red LIVE badge in the main feed and in recommendations.
Whatever channel you choose to go live on, a couple of tips to maximize the return on your effort:
- Promote your live video before the time via posts on Twitter or Facebook etc.
- Run your live video for at least 10 minutes.
- Consider including giveaways or exclusive info in your live stream as an incentive for people to join and listen in. Tease these in any pre-promotions of your live video.
Pro Tip: Use live video for a Q&A with your audience, offering them an intimate space to get immediate answers about your and your brand. This works particularly well on Facebook, where your audience can type their questions right into the comments and you answer them as you go.
5. Engage with every comment, respond to all reviews
It’s called social media for a reason. So get social.
Respond to all comments, questions, reviews or mentions made by your followers. And we do mean ALL – the good, the bad, and the ugly. By responding to comments etc in a timely fashion, you show that you genuinely care about your followers, and your customers, thereby building trust and deepening connections. Just for reference: nearly 50% of all social media users choose to connect with brands to receive direct responses to queries. And, 78% of people who complain to a brand via Twitter expect a response within an hour (Brandwatch). Our point? You need to connect back – and quickly.
Pro Tip: Why not try starting the conversation? Ask questions. Add your opinions to posts from accounts you follow. Don’t be shy! Give it a try!
Bonus: 5 Hacks to Increase your Social Media Following – Fast
1. Follow others to get your own social media follows
Follow unto others as you would have them follow unto you. In other words, follow influencers and other accounts relevant to your industry, share their content with your followers, contribute your (relevant) two cents to the conversation to get noticed, and they may very well return the favour.
Pro Tip: Use a tool such as BuzzSumo to find influencers relevant to your industry.
2. Get social with yourself
Cross promote yourself on your own social media channels. For example, if you are hoping to increase your Twitter following, mention your Twitter handle in your Facebook page profile or Instagram bio.
Pro Tip: Use the force of Instagram for good, and let Instagram push your photos to Facebook at the same time. A BuzzSumo study of more than one billion Facebook posts from three million brand pages found that images posted to Facebook via Instagram received 23% more engagement than natively-published content.
No, we are not advocating buying followers. Yuck. We are saying, though, that a well-placed contest can do wonders for a social media account! Throw a contest on any one of your channels and watch the interest in our social media accounts grow!
Pro Tip: Boost the post for $20 to drive more followers.
4. Ask people to follow you
What’s that saying? Ask, and you shall receive. You can simply ask people to follow you (don’t beg!). Facebook, for one, makes it so easy for you to do this. If people like a post of yours, but they don’t yet ‘Like’ your page, Facebook will send you a notification telling you to invite them to like your page. Simply click on the notification, then click on the ‘Invite’ button next to each new prospect. Voila.
Pro Tip: Make use of the various channels’ recommendations on who to follow. Both Instagram and Twitter ‘read’ your content and recommend relevant accounts for you to follow. Do it – and watch the follow-backs trickle in.
5. Connect the dots
Connect your website or blog with your social media pages, allowing website users to click directly to your profile in each social media channel for a quick and easy follow. You can also add social media ‘sharing’ buttons to your content, allowing users to immediately, and easily, share your content to their social media feeds with just the click of a button.
Pro Tip: Consider pulling content from and embedding your social feed right into your site. Instagram, Twitter, Facebook… they all have integration options to showcase your social media content anywhere you choose on your site.