From basic to advanced-level strategies to grow your social follower base
People who manage social media often ask, “why isn’t my following growing?” A great deal of strategy goes into making a social media following grow. With the right profiles, audience engagement tactics and online networking, you can grow your social media presence week after week and month after month.
Plus, the strategy isn’t all that hard and won’t take you hours each day.
So, what are the most powerful strategies to grow my social follower base?
Let’s start with the basics.
1. Start with a consistent business name across your social media
When working to start your social media channels, you want to be sure they’re all consistent. This will help people find you with ease. Your goal is to be highly searchable and consistency helps with that.
There are three important ways you can make your social media profiles consistent:
- Use your business names exactly the same on all accounts
- Choose consistent URLs and handles to make it easier to find you
- Ensure your creative style matches so that visitors can identify you
Use your full business name and when you pick your handles or URLs for the various platforms, try to make these match your corporate website.
For example, while the clothing store Gap owns both gap.com and thegap.com, all its social media uses /gap as the URL to reach their pages.
If you already have social media accounts and you’re wondering if they are consistent, you should Google your company name. This will help you see in one place what your various accounts look like.
Visit each page and see if it looks the same as the company. If you’re not sure you can remove your bias, ask a friend or someone from your business network to assess it for you.
Finally, it’s imperative that you clean up any duplicative accounts. People won’t know which page to follow if there are two pages with your company name on the social media platform. Remove all old pages and try to direct your followers to the accurate account before deleting the old ones.
2. Develop your brand voice and engage your audience
Decide who you want to be on social media early on when planning out your online presence. This will help you decide how to engage with your audience and respond to their inquiries and content that they share with you.
As you work to develop your brand voice, we have a few crucial tips to keep in mind that will guide you in who you become online.
Social media is not your corporate blog.
Your blog is where you tell in-depth stories or write well-developed self-help articles. On social media, your responses should be short. They should also be fairly casual and informal because you want your audience to feel as though you are approachable.
Respond to comments, questions and inquiries.
Even when someone posts something super simple, you should still respond to continue engaging with your audience. This doesn’t have to be a lengthy response and can be as simple as saying thank you.
Just like you would at a networking event, try and encourage further engagement and conversations with your customers. When someone responds and you feel the conversation is not over, respond back again to show you care and that it’s a real conversation.
Recognize when your audience shares your content.
This can be as simple as saying thank you or telling the customer that you’re glad they liked your content. You’ll find this builds relationships and encourages future shares as well so that the follower keeps spreading the word about your great content.
3. Plan and schedule your social media posts
You should be setting aside time each day to spend time on social media. However, you don’t want that time to be spent drafting posts, choosing photos and planning your content.
Instead, spend some time at the start of the month planning and scheduling your content out for the full month ahead. Scheduling posts in advance opens up your day to actually engage on social media.
Spend your daily allotted time on social media doing the following activities:
- Reviewing comments, shares and engagement from your audience and responding accordingly
- Reading content from your followers and engaging on that content
- Finding other pages to follow that can offer good content ideas
4. Use analytics to decide where to put your time
Your time is valuable! You want to invest that time in the social media platforms that work best for you and deliver the best results.
Scheduling your posts using a good platform makes it easy to put out great content across all your channels. But where do you go to comment, like and engage the most?
Review your analytics to see what your best platforms are so you know where to put your time and effort. When evaluating, also look at the size of your following. The goal is to spend your time on the largest networks you have because that’s where you’ll have the largest impact.
The setback to this can be that your smaller networks never grow because you’re not putting in the necessary time. Plus, if you abandon a social media channel, people might think you went out of business. If you aren’t responding to messages and comments in a timely manner, others might write you off.
5. Link to your social media channels regularly
It’s crucial that you put links to your social media pages out to your audience regularly. Too often, social media starts as a sprint to spread the word and then the page administrators forget to continue their efforts.
Here are the key places your social media links should always reside:
- Email newsletter: keep them in the footer constantly and make your social media links be part of your onboarding campaign. When new people subscribe to your newsletter, send them an email inviting them to your social media channels.
- Website: place your social media channels in the footer of your website. You should also include your social media channels within your contact us page, about page and blog.
- Print materials: if you have any postcards you send out or handouts you provide at events, put social media icons on your print materials. You’ll build greater awareness for your pages this way.
- Cross-platform promotion: if your business is on multiple social media channels, you should cross-promote them. From your Facebook page invite people to follow you on Twitter and vice versa.
- Email signature: anytime you email someone, you have the opportunity to grow your following. Have your whole team put your social media links in their email signature. This can be especially helpful for staff members that interact with customers regularly, such as sales or customer service.
6. Encourage others to share your content
Inviting people to share your content doesn’t mean you need to explicitly ask for shares within your post. In fact, some social media channels discourage pages from asking people to share and limit the post’s exposure if you include a request that others share the content onward.
A great way to do this is to post inspirational or funny content on your social media. These are the most popular types of shared content.
Here are two examples that worked well for us:
So why take the time to think about the shareability of posts? Shares benefit you in a variety of ways:
- Puts your content in front of a new audience without paid ads
- Serves as an endorsement that people enjoy your content so their friends should too
- Can potential grow your page with new followers
7. Create great content targeted to your audience
To get people engaged with your social media channels, you need to create great content. Don’t get too caught up on the number of likes or follows your pages have. Quality certainly wins over quantity in this realm.
People who stumble across your page will decide to follow you or not follow you based on the content that you share. You can put tons of money into paid ads on social media channels and never grow your following because your content doesn’t resonate with the customer.
Your content should not be too selfish. What does that mean? Spend less time focusing on sales content and more time on helpful material that your audience will enjoy.
Inc. recommends an 80/20 policy when it comes to your content. Post 80 percent content designed to help and engage your audience and 20 percent sales content. New visitors to your page will enjoy seeing content that resonates with them and will be more likely to follow you.
In your quest to create great content, be human. The more human your content sounds and feels, the more likely people will be to follow you. Tell stories. Share information about your staff. Be a true member of the community.
You don’t want to use too much slang or jargon on your page but develop a voice and persona on social media that shows you’re more than your average brand.
8. Like and comment on other people’s content
If all you do when you go on social media is scroll through your friends’ and followers’ content, you won’t grow your audience. You can read their blogs and visit their webpages, but if you don’t tell them that you’ve been there, you aren’t building any goodwill.
Instead of just scrolling, take time to like other people’s posts and write comments that contribute to the conversation. Otherwise, people won’t know you read their content and you won’t grow your audience no matter how much time you spend on social media.
You want people to know you’re out there and that you are enjoying what they have to say. Ensure that your time on social media is valuable by actually engaging in the discussion instead of watching it from afar.
9. Build relationships, especially with leaders
Connecting online means actually building relationships with people. And when you build relationships with people, you might get the opportunity to make their audience, your audience.
Too often, social media marketers spend too much time trying to pursue the wrong people to follow and connect with on social media. It comes off as artificial, fake and does little to grow your following.
Instead, focus on building connections with people you actually know and admire. You want these individuals to share your interests and be someone you actually want to be friends with.
To get started, here’s how to build relationships:
- Start online with following or liking the person’s page
- Once you’re connected, send a message or email to them saying why you look up to them or the value your relationship can offer
- Schedule an in-person meeting. Nothing beats face-to-face communication!
Once you’ve met in person, these individuals will feel more connected to you. When you become true friends with someone, they’re more likely to open their network to you and help you out.
10. Social media will grow faster as your following grows
Earning those early followers can be really difficult. And at times, it might feel like it just isn’t worth it because early growth is slow. However, the larger your following, the easier it will get to grow your page.
Imagine you have 100 followers and one percent are truly engaged. That’s fantastic, but only leads to 1 share. But when you reach 10,000 followers, a one-percent engagement rate means 100 shares, which will grow your reach exponentially.
Every time that you grow your audience, you increase your chances of further growing your accounts. Plus, if you’re cross-promoting your channels effectively, you’ll bring your new audience over from your other channels.
Start your social media planning process with care and attention. Be sure that you start with consistent naming and identification for your social media channels and develop your brand voice. Be consistent in spending time engaging with your audience each day. Create great content and people will be interested in what you have to say and they will be more likely to share it onward to their network. Never get disheartened in the early days as you work to grow your audience because the larger your audience, the easier things will get.