One of the most common questions that I get from friends and fans on social media comes in the form of a question like this:
How do I increase the number of followers that I have on social media?
The best approach to growing your social media following is simply to create valuable content, engage in two-way dialog with your audience, and share content from other creators who are also creating valuable content.
These simple steps are really all it takes. Work hard, engage, and share content.
But while that sounds really easy it’s not. It takes a lot of time, energy, effort, and patience to grow an audience on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Tiktok.
So, to help give you more than just a bit of a social media pep-talk, here are some actual steps you can take to get that social following growing.
NOTE: As always, if you have a tip that has worked for you that you think I missed, please share it in a comment at the end of the post. The more tips that we can share with each other, the faster everyone can grow their audiences.
Check The profile of other professionals
To make your individual or business social profile remarkable on the social media platform or choice, you need to follow some of the other professionals who are working or creating content in the same niche. By seeing their posts and activity, you can make observations and notes about the techniques they are using to promote their content.
Pay attention to the reactions of their audiences. If the post doesn’t perform well, make some notes about why you think it failed. Do the same thing for their posts that really take off.
The goal isn’t to replicate everything one person does. That’s just mimicry and doesn’t allow you to create your own social media style. Instead, analyze 5-7 different successful people or businesses in your niche and find the techniques that you think will work with your style.
PRO TIP: It takes time and patience to see results. Don’t expect every new photo or status update to go viral. It won’t Be happy if a few friends, family, and colleagues share your content. Eventually, if you stay on track your audience will grow.
Consistently share content that aligns with your audience
Your profile will tell the whole world a story about your personal or business social media profile, so you need to stay active and make sure to consistently publish content that your followers will enjoy. The key here isn’t just staying active, but understanding who is following you, what they want to see, and what content will best align with their expectations.
Doing some research on your target audience will not only help you provide great content to your existing audience, but it will help you to attract more people to your accounts.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s okay to analyze those who are already successful in your space and identify what content is working for them but it is not okay to steal their content. Make sure you are publishing unique content that you have created.
Engage influencers in your specific niche
Getting more visibility to your content is one of the best ways to grow your social media following…and a good way to gain exposure is to engage with an influencer. These folks have already grown their following and presumably have a pretty large audience.
For this reason, getting them to like or engage with your content can often expose your content to their audience. The end-result can be that members of their audience also like your content and end up following your account.
To take advantage of this strategy, it’s best to follow these guidelines for engaging with an influencer:
- Do only tag or mention them in content that is directly related to them or their audience.
- Do find ways to customize your content so that it aligns with them or their audience.
- Do thank them if they like your content or engage.
- Don’t spam them by mentioning them in every post you create.
- Don’t repost their content and expect them to engage. This is a lazy way of trying to engage with an influencer and rarely works.
- Don’t get frustrated if your first few attempts to engage them don’t work. Be consistent and persistent.
Join online communities and share useful information
One of the most undervalued ways to grow your social media audience is through the contribution to online communities like Reddit.
For example, if you are creating content that is specifically about speeding up your WordPress site and you join a Reddit sub that is specifically for WordPress users, you might see some increased traffic to your content, as well as growth in your social media following.
This assumes that when people view your content, they can easily click links to your social profiles, so make sure they are visible on your website.
PRO TIP: Redditors are VERY sensitive to people coming in and spamming the community with links to content, even if the content is useful. If you are a new user to a community or a sub on Reddit, try joining in the conversation first and become a valuable member before you start sharing your links. This will help avoid downvotes or criticism because people think you are spamming for your own interests.
Evaluate and prioritize platforms
Look, there are a lot of social networks out there where you can promote yourself and your content. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Tiktok…the list continues to grow. One of the biggest challenges in growing your social media following is determining which networks to focus on. The harsh reality is that if you try to grow them all, you’re going to split your time so deeply that you won’t succeed.
So, how do you choose which social networks to focus on?
Try following these tips to choose which social networks you should dedicate your time and energy to.
- Focus on the social network where your audience exists. If you are posting funny memes, maybe LinkedIn isn’t the best choice.
- Start with a social network that has a large audience. Don’t try to build a huge following on MySpace. Yes…it still exists. No…it’s not worth the effort.
- Choose a social network that allows for content that aligns with your style. Love video? Try YouTube, Instagram, or Tiktok. Like photos? Use Facebook, Pinterest, or Instagram.
The key is to choose one or two social networks to start building your audience. You can expand over time as you succeed, but start small and grow from there.
Update your content frequently
Consistency is the key when it comes to social networks. Each network uses it own algorithm to determine which content is prioritized, but consistency is a pretty common factor.
That doesn’t mean you want to over-post and spam your audience. Start with posting 3-4 times per week. If that’s manageable for you, grow that to once a day. From there, grow to two times a day. I don’t recommend going beyond that.
As I mentioned earlier, the key is to make sure that your content offers your audience some value. Maybe it’s informational content within your niche. Maybe it’s more educational “how-to” content. Sometimes it might just be a little humor.
The key is to post informative content on a consistent basis.
Find and follow people who align with your niche
One of my favorite tips to grow your social network is one of the easiest. Find others who are active in your niche and follow them. View their content and like it, if it is worthy. Post a comment or a question on their content.
Often, you’ll find that they not only respond to your question, they sometimes will visit your profile, like your content, and even follow you.
The reason this is effective is because by liking or engaging with your content, some social networks then share that they liked your content with their audience. The result, is that some of their followers might visit your content, as well.
Sometimes….those visitors will follow you, as well.
The key is to find active, engaged profiles who clearly demonstrate a willingness to visit other profiles and follow them. If you are trying to grow your following, don’t try to get engagement from accounts that:
- Have a ton of followers, but don’t follow anyone else.
- Post a lot but don’t respond or reply to comments and feedback on their content.
- Use hashtags like #followback or #likeforlike. These gimmicks that sound cool, but only result in low-quality follows that likely unfollow you quickly.
Use scheduling tools to assist you with managing your posts
Growing a following isn’t easy. Anyone who says it is hasn’t done it or got super lucky with a viral post.
Consistently posting content requires time and energy and scheduling tools can help you manage your posting schedule. That way, you can dedicate a couple of hours to creating and scheduling posts and then let the tools push them out for you.
This is especially important when you have an international audience that spans multiple time zones. You don’t want to always post during daytime hours in the United States if you have a large audience that might be sleeping in India when you post.
Scheduling tools can not only help you organize your content and publish consistently, but they can help you expand your audience by exposing your content to new people who are engaging on a social network at different times.
Some good social media scheduling tools that I recommend are:
- SmarterQueue – It’s a paid service, but offers connectivity to most social major social networks.
- Later.com – Has a free tier and paid offerings. Is really geared toward photos since it was initially designed for Instagram.
- Hootsuite – Once the standard in scheduling, people are fleeing the service after they switched their free offering to a paid service. Honestly, I don’t use Hootsuite anymore.
- Native schedulers – Facebook and Pinterest have scheduling tools and they are pretty easy to use.
Have a favorite social media scheduler? I’m always on the lookout for new productivity tools. Drop a link in a comment and I’ll take a look.
Stay engaged with your followers
If you want to continue to grow your audience, be sure to do your best to engage. The challenge of having a large audience is that you won’t be able to respond to every comment or thank everyone for following/commenting. Do your best, though.
When you post new content try to reply to the first 10-20 folks who reply. That way, people see that you still engage.
DO NOT buy social media followers
This is just one of those things that I keep on harping on and some folks listen…other complain to me and ask for help getting their accounts unlocked when they did the wrong thing.
DO NOT BUY FANS OR FOLLOWERS
By doing this, all you are doing is feeding into the dark side of social media and trying to game the system. If you aren’t willing to put the time and energy into building your audience and engaging with them, then don’t try to fake it with fake followers.
At best, you just look like a tool because those of use who know what we’re doing can see that your following is fake.
At worst, you look like a tool AND your accounts are locked because the social network discovered that you were buying followers and banned your account.
Just don’t do it.
There you have it.
There you have it…several tips that I provide to my clients who are interested in growing their social media following. I hope they help you and I would love to hear what tips have worked for you in the past. Just post them up in a comment.