Three ways to grow your social media followers

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I recently worked with a small business start up, helping them to prepare their ecommerce website and social media channels for their initial launch.

There was great initial interest and engagement, then over the following couple of weeks, it waned slightly, and I received the enquiry I receive from most business owners who are new to social media marketing:

“How do we get more followers?”

I responded with a shortened version of the below recommendations, but given how frequently I am asked how to get more social media followers, I saw the value in expanding upon them, and sharing this information with a wider audience…

How to get more social media followers

1. Social media activity and engagement

It goes without saying that being active on social media generally leads to steading and ongoing social media growth in community size and engagement.

“Engagement” is very important, as it’s not just about how many people like or follow your account, or even how many people see your updates (referred to as Reach or Impressions). Engagement is all about whether the people who see your updates are interested enough to:

  • click a link
  • like or favourite an update
  • comment on your update
  • share or retweet your updates with their own followers

Ideally you want to be sharing the types of updates that “engage” people, as this not only provides those people with value, but generates the potential for more people to see your updates (through the viral nature of social media) and attract more likes and followers.

Many popular social media channels now use algorithms that order updates in people’s news feeds based on how “popular” they are, rather than how recently they were posted. And updates that attract a lot of engagement are seen as more popular, which means they tend to rise to the top of the news feed, or hang around in it longer, giving more opportunities for other people to see it, and like/comment/share etc…

Ideally if you are using social media for your business, and have some goals in mind, you should have a strategy for how you are going to use it to achieve said goals.

Strategy aside, here are some general ways you can use social media to increase your social media followers:

  • Post regular useful, interesting updates, that are relevant to the types of people you want to attract to your accounts
  • If appropriate, include personal updates, with photos of people, as this tends to increase engagement. It is “social” media after all, and people love seeing people. These could be team updates, wins, behind the scenes, staff profiles etc.
  • Like and follow other relevant accounts, as they may like/follow you back.
  • Tag other relevant accounts in your updates. The focus is on “relevant” though. If you are mentioning another organisation that has a Facebook Page for example, Type the @ symbol before starting to type their name, and select their Page from the list. You can also tag other accounts on Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn etc. Tagging not only notifies that account about your update (which they may engage with/share) but it may then be shown to people who follow that account.
  • Respond to people who comment on your posts, or tag you in updates. Even a quick like or “Thank you!” goes a long way to showing people that you are present, interested and grateful for their time.
  • Don’t just post your own updates, but take time to review the updates of accounts you follow, and engage with their updates.
  • Use relevant hashtags to broaden your reach (not just your own branded ones).
  • Cross reference your social media accounts, for example, you could post on your Facebook Page: “We’ve just joined Instagram! Follow @yourusername there for more photos and videos, and to check out our stories!”

2. Offline activity and other calls to action

While we are talking about social media marketing, it’s easy to forget all the other opportunities you have to let people know about your social media channels, and attract followers.

Consider every other opportunity you have that you can get people to know about your channels and encourage them to follow. For example:

  • printed flyers and brochures
  • invoices or receipts
  • signs
  • signs in public toilets and restrooms
  • display screens
  • menus and menu boards
  • coasters and napkins
  • stickers
  • links in your email signature
  • html email campaigns
  • links on your website
  • business cards
  • branded t-shirts or uniforms
  • wifi network
  • gift vouchers
  • packaging
  • verbally (because you can just tell people about them as well)
  • etc

Where possible, I also recommend giving a compelling reason why people should follow your accounts. For example:

“Follow us on Facebook for exclusive offers.”

or

“Follow us on LinkedIn for the latest industry news and updates.”

3. Social media advertising

This is generally the quickest way to get your accounts in front of other social media users and grow a following, though ideally you should focus on Social Media Engagement, as it is generally more sustainable and will have longer lasting results.

Most social media platforms now allow you to promote your accounts and updates to a wider audience. But again: relevance is key.

As Seth Godin says:

“Everyone is not your customer.”

Don’t waste your time and money trying to get your accounts in front of everyone, or expecting everyone to like them.

We’re competing with many other organisations – and friends and family – for space and consideration in people’s news feeds.

I mean, I doubt you like EVERY account that exists, and the same is true for your audience.

So, know who your target audience is. This is very important.

Social media advertising platforms allow you to target by various demographics and psychographics based on information people have provided in their profiles, and their activity on the platform.

If you’re not sure where to start, consider your current customers, or ideal customers:

  • How old are they?
  • Are they male? Female? Both?
  • Where do they live?
  • What are their interests?
  • etc

Use this information to build a relevant potential audience, who is more likely to be interested in your accounts, and then like and follow them.

With Facebook Advertising, you can also use techniques such as:

  • Uploading a list of existing subscriber email addresses, and matching them with Facebook accounts
  • Create “Lookalike” audiences. These are people who are similar to people who already like your Page.
  • Use remarking to advertiser to people who have already visited your website.

via GIPHY

With all of this, I urge you to be patient.

The real key to social media success and community growth is consistency. It’s about showing up regularly, sharing interesting updates, engaging with others, and chipping away regularly to build a sustainable online community.

Social media and the online space has become very saturated, and it should be part of a long term strategy for your business marketing.

People are bombarded with social media messaging, but if you are consistent, stand out from the crowd, and post updates that are likely to attract their eye, then the likes should follow.

 

Do you have any other suggestions for how to get more social media followers?

Let me know in the comments!

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