Like it or not, people do look at your follower numbers, which affects their decision to follow you. In addition, the more followers you have, the larger the potential reach and influence you have (provided those followers are real and relevant to your business).
There is no scarcity of posts and guides online about how to build social media followings, so what’s different about this one?
Simple: I’ve boiled it down to just nine essential tactics that meet the following requirements:
1. They build real followers (i.e., not bots and/or people who could care less about you and your business).
2. They are useful for marketing and business accounts without causing any potential damage to your brand reputation.
In my 10-plus years of experience in building effective social media presences both in-house and for major brand clients, these are the nine follower-growth tactics I recommend most. They are in no particular order, as which are best for any particular application will vary.
1. Follow Legitimate, Relevant Accounts
To get followed, you must first be a good follower. Finding and following accounts of real people and businesses who are relevant to your business is a first essential step to building your own following, and is a necessary base to make several of the other tactics listed here effective.
In some cases just doing this will get you followed back by some of these users, especially if your profile is completely filled out and your feed is full of valuable and relevant posts.
But more importantly, following good, active accounts in your business vertical will give you a base of people with whom to interact, which as we’ll see below has value in several different ways for follower growth.
WABW Media Group can help you create a list of influencers that have a positive follow-to-following ratio.
2. Have Something to Show & Share
If you want to be worth following, there has to be some “there” there. You have to have some substance to your profile.
Your best followers will be people who take the time to check out your profile before following you. They’ll want to see that there’s something worth following.
Make sure you have all of the following:
A complete profile. Fill in every field that applies to you. On most social networks you should try to make your bio tell a story. Intrigue visitors into following you. On Twitter, where your bio space is limited, use keywords that you want to be found for. Also, have an attractive, close up head shot (preferably shot by a professional) and a relevant cover image.
A valuable feed. Make sure your feed/timeline is always showing recently-shared, valuable content. Some careful users will browse a little way down your feed to makes sure your active and that they won’t be getting junk if they follow you. For social networks that allow a pinned post (a post that stays “sticky” at the top of your feed), make sure you always have your latest, most valuable piece of content pinned.
3. Be Active & Engaged
Of course “be active and engaged” is the number one tip anyone gives in any social media tip post, but it really is critical to building a valuable following of real people.
Social media users are tired of link feeds. Commenting on and resharing the posts of others quickly demonstrates that you’re not a bot, and that you’re present on the network.
Whenever possible, don’t just reshare someone else’s post, but add a remark as to why you’re sharing it, and tag the original poster. On Twitter, do this using the Quote option when retweeting. Being active in the social threads of others, especially influencers, also exposes your value to new people, and can gain you followers also.
4. Post Opinions, Data, News & Trends
Have you noticed that when you post something that gets widely reshared, it almost always gains new followers. Pay careful attention to the kinds of social media posts that get those shares.
The kinds of posts that tend to increase your exposure and therefore lead to new followers fall into these groups:
1. Opinions. Expressing a strong opinion about an issue that matters to your audience can be risky, but it can also gain a lot of engagement, sharing, and exposure. When I first posted my stance that social media signals are not a direct Google ranking factor it was considered heresy by some, but I was careful to back my claim with careful reasoning and evidence. That post, written three-and-a-half years ago, has become my most widely shared, and I’m pretty certain has been responsible for many of my social followers.
2. Data. People respond strongly to data that either backs up their beliefs or challenges them. They’ll share those things either way, and if you’re the originator of the data, and do so on a regular basis, they’ll want to follow you to not miss out. Christopher Penn is an excellent example of the power of a data originator on social media.
3. News and trends. If you can become a good source for breaking news important to your industry, people will want to follow you to not miss out on what’s happening. Barry Schwartz has created amazing opportunities for himself simply by monitoring important sources in the search industry and being one of the first to break new stories.
5. Post Frequently, But Appropriately
The hardest truth about social media is that no matter how popular you become, if you stop posting and engaging you’ll be forgotten in no time.You’ve got to maintain a regular presence, but you also don’t want to overdo it.
There isn’t any hard rule of thumb for posting frequency, but generally post less frequently on networks where the newsfeed is heavily controlled by an algorithm (Facebook, LinkedIn) and more frequently where it’s more “real time” (Twitter). The pace of gaining new followers tends to rise and fall with the ebb and flow of my posting regularity.
6. Rally Your Subscribers
If you have an email list that you regularly send content to (and you should!), include your primary social media links in your newsletters. And every so often make a special appeal for people to follow you there.
People who think enough of you and your content to open your emails will probably gladly follow you on social media.
7. Use Hashtags
You may not use hashtags as often as often as you should, but when used correctly on networks where they are valued (such as Twitter and Instagram) there is often a gain of new followers.
Always look before you leap with a new hashtag. Search for it on the network and make sure it isn’t being used for something you wouldn’t want your brand associated with. WABW Media Group can help you find the right hashtags for each of your posts.
These are not “hacks.” They won’t necessarily blow up your social followings overnight.
However, these tactics will put you on a solid foundation and trajectory for long-term, sustained growth. More importantly, they will give you a following that will actually benefit you and your business.
Why invest time and effort in building a following for any other reason? Don’t have the time to do all this things to improve your social following? Contact us and speak to a social media marketer to develop a solution that will work for your business.