Everybody who manages a brand’s social media account wants to get more followers. However, all followers are not equally beneficial. How do you get the type of followers who will be interested in your content? Even more, how do you attract people who are likely to be loyal customers and brand ambassadors? Here are some of the best ways to get more authentic and engaged followers for your business.
How Much do Followers Matter?
Some social media gurus will tell you that follower counts are irrelevant because they don’t reflect authentic metrics such as engagement or conversions. To an extent, they’re right. Simply having a high follower count doesn’t equal a responsive audience of buyers. At the same time, numbers still matter. The number of followers is one of the first things visitors will notice when they visit your pages. The key is to have a strategy for acquiring followers that focuses on quality as well as quantity.
How Not to Get Followers
Because everyone wants more followers it can be tempting to use some ineffective or counterproductive strategies. Here are some of the worst ways to get followers on social media.
- Buying them. This is the worst possible strategy. Unfortunately, it’s tempting for social media beginners when they see ads promising “1,000 real followers for $10” or something similar. Such followers won’t be “real” in the sense of being truly interested in you. At best, these are incentivized followers who get some reward in exchange for following you. At worst, they may be bots.
- Blindly following other accounts. This is another popular strategy that doesn’t yield good results. If you randomly follow hundreds of people, some will follow you back. However, if you’re not targeting the accounts you’re following, it’s not likely that you’ll attract the right people.
- Joining any programs or services that promise large numbers of followers in a short time. This is only a step away from buying followers. It usually involves either paying a fee or following others in exchange for them following you. This is similar to using traffic exchanges to get website traffic (sites where you click on websites and other members click on yours). Again, you may get followers but they won’t be people with a genuine interest in you or your business.
What such ineffective approaches have in common is that you’re acquiring followers just for the sake of building your count. Now let’s look at some of the best methods to acquire the kind of followers you want.
Promote Social Media Everywhere
The more places you link to your social media accounts, the easier it will be to pick up new followers.
- Place social media buttons on your blog and website.
- Link to social media pages in your emails. Your email signature is a valuable resource to promote your social media. If you use an email service such as MailChimp, GetResponse, or AWeber, look for instructions on how to place social media icons in your emails.
- Business cards. With electronic business cards, which work using smartphone apps, you can actually link to your social media pages. However, it’s also good to list your social media contact info on traditional printed business cards as well.
- Brochures, flyers, and any printed documents you use in your business.
- Online videos, both in the actual video and descriptions.
Follow Other Accounts Strategically
While simply following people on social media isn’t a good strategy, it can be useful to follow accounts that are a good match for your business. This includes influencers in your niche as well as people who follow these influencers. It’s a good idea to regularly audit your social media accounts and remove followers who aren’t interacting with you in any way. You might make exceptions for highly popular accounts.
Promote Your Pages with Paid Ads
One of the fastest ways to increase your follower count is to promote yourself with paid advertising on social media.
- Promote your tweets. Pinned tweets that link to some great content are always a good choice to promote.
- Promote your Facebook page. Make sure you keep your page updated so people have a reason to like it.
- Promote LinkedIn articles. LinkedIn is a good place to publish your best long-form content.
These are just a few examples. You can also directly promote your social media profiles, sponsored Facebook posts, Instagram posts, and other social media content.
Optimize Your Profiles
People are more likely to follow you if your profile is completely filled out with a good description of who you are and what your business is all about. Both Facebook and LinkedIn provide plenty of space where you can talk about yourself and put in some relevant keywords. Another factor that increases engagement is a quality photo of yourself.
Get More Attention for Your Posts with Hashtags
Using hashtags can get more attention to your posts on Twitter and Instagram. Researching hashtags is always a good idea as it lets you know which topics are trending. Even if a topic isn’t directly related to your business, you may want to tie it in somehow if it’s very popular. Some examples are popular sporting events (Super Bowl, Olympics, World Cup, etc.), movies, TV shows (such as Game of Thrones), holidays, and trending news stories.
Create Stories on Instagram and Facebook
The Stories feature, introduced by Snapchat but now more widely used on Instagram and Facebook, is great for engaging with your current followers and finding new ones. With Stories, you can use geo-locations and hashtags to attract a targeted audience. Stories, which only stay visible for 24 hours, can be used to introduce new products, broadcast from live events, give customers a tour of your business, and more.
Targeted Followers are Good for Your Business
It’s true that having lots of followers doesn’t, by itself, help your business grow. However, you can get more leads and customers by attracting followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. It’s undeniable that having followers increases your influence and status online. Just make sure that your strategy is designed to get you the right kind of followers.