“Post every day.” “Try retweeting people.” “Use hashtags.” “Make your posts look pretty!”
How many times have you heard these tips to help build your social media following, only to find out that those tips don’t actually work? Growing a social media following that will benefit your business is not easy, and is so much more than posting regularly or having a cool aesthetic. The hard truth about building an audience online is that it takes lots of time and lots of effort…but it’s not impossible. These tried-and-tested techniques will actually help you grow your social media following.
1. Connect with real, relevant accounts (like yours!)
It’s not just about getting people to follow your profile. First, you have to be a good follower! Integrating yourself into the social media sphere involves finding the right community of people to follow and engaging with them in an authentic, meaningful way. In some situations, even just following the right people will get you a follow back, especially if they see your account’s value! Following active, relevant accounts just like yours in your business vertical will give you a wider network of people to interact with, and that has its own benefits for follower growth.
Not sure where to start? There are a number of tools to help you out, like Followerwonk, Audiense, or ManageFlitter, to name a few. These platforms tend to focus more on Twitter, but you can use these as a starting point to find businesses and accounts you’d like to interact with. Then, manually follow these accounts on their other profiles like Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or LinkedIn.
If you’re manually searching for people to follow, how do you pick the right profiles? Try these tips:
- Look at who influencers follow: Key influencers in your space present a great opportunity to find new followers, especially if they have a great follow-to-following ratio (which means: they follow few people, but many people follow them). That means that the people they follow are selected carefully.
- Try different groups and communities: Try joining groups and communities on social media and watch for people you may want to follow. Following them will lead you to other good follows, too.
- Search on Google: Google can be your friend! Try searching “Best people to follow” and include your niche in the search query. Recommended accounts can be a great way to open up new connections. Just make sure to check that the accounts are real, relevant follows for your account.
2. Stay engaged
How many times have you heard this one: “Engage with your followers.” It’s the number one tip given to just about any social media account, but engagement really IS key to a successful social media growth strategy!
And no, that doesn’t mean just liking and commenting on random posts. Social media users and brands rarely respond to random commenting and liking. Without meaningful, genuine engagement, it’s difficult to distinguish you from a bot liking their content.
Instead, try to build a real community on social media — which is certainly easier said than done. Real engagement starts with authenticity. For example, when you comment on someone’s post, comment why you find it interesting or valuable. People respond well to a genuine attitude, and it makes you seem less like a brand and more like a real person behind a brand.
3. Post relevant content that provides value to your followers
The key to having people reshare your content and follow you? Posting valuable content. Pay attention to the type of content that goes viral on social media: it contains strong opinions, statistics, educational tidbits, or valuable information. Content that is educational, relevant, and timely will increase your exposure and lead to new followers.
Try posting the following types of content:
- Strong opinions
- Data and statistics
- Industry news or trends
- A unique perspective only you can give
- Tips based on your expertise
Above all else, it’s important to think about what your audience will find valuable and create content that will resonate with them (and hopefully encourages them to share it with their peers!).
4. Find a posting schedule – and stick to it.
Post frequency is more important than you think. Even if you become popular on social media, if you stop posting, it’s possible you’ll lose that popularity in an instant. The trick? Finding a regular posting schedule without overdoing it.
There’s no real rule of thumb with posting, but it can be wise to look deeper into your analytics and consider the social media platform. For example, on platforms where the algorithm controls the newsfeed, you may want to post less frequently. Over time, you’ll see your following will grow.
5. Boost your profile with public events
Public events can be a great way to boost your social media following, especially if your business has industry experts. Speaking at a conference or podcast can be a great way to be exposed to an entirely new audience.
The best part? This new audience is already interested in your type of content – your business niche. And that means they will be motivated to follow you on social media.
When you attend these events, consider including your social media handles on any presentations or slide decks.
6. Test your content on each platform
Each social media platform is different, and should be treated accordingly. Think of it as an opportunity to try out various types of content. Try these ideas for optimizing content on social media:
- Track your engagement: Tracking engagement will help you better understand what specific content does well with each of your audiences across different platforms. It also helps you figure out when a certain piece of content is performing well, so you can amplify it.
- Keep up with trends: Keep track of new features on platforms, like Instagram Reels or TikTok, and see how you can use them to your advantage. It’s important to watch what types of content each user posts on social media and what does well for them, so you can learn.
- Use geotags: Geotags can be an excellent way to target more hyperlocal audiences, especially if your content is location-based. It’s a great way for your business to engage with local followers.
No matter the strategy, remember to be consistent and stick with a strategy for a few weeks to determine if it’s actually working or not. Happy posting!