“Following” numbers aren’t everything in the social media world. Just because you have 100,000 followers doesn’t mean that all those followers are interested in what you have to say. In fact, it’s much better to have 100 passionate fans than 1,000 disengaged ones. Still, there’s no denying that, if all your followers are equally interested in your brand, more followers is a good thing. Scaling up your account organically, by attracting people who genuinely like what you post, is a goal sought after by brands all over the country, but only a handful of social influencers ever reach those heights.
So what is it that separates the “social media gurus” from the average brand?
In this article, I present to you the 10 secret tactics social media gurus use to build their followings:
Don’t worry about finding some secret formula for writing the perfect post about the perfect topic at the perfect time. Follow the same rules you would on a date: just be yourself. If someone likes what you have to say, they’ll stick with you. And it’s way easier to just rattle off what’s on your mind than it is to overanalyze a dozen different ways to phrase something. Show off your personality. That’s what people want to see.
You could spend all your time trying to start a meaningful, potentially heated conversation—or you could just hijack one already in progress. Search for a conversation that’s already happening between other users (and make sure it’s getting plenty of attention and replies). Inject yourself into the center of it and say something unique. Chances are you’ll get at least one new follower out of every new conversation you join.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to new people and connect with them first, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter, where personal profiles are more public than on Facebook. Follow a stranger you engaged with in passing, and chances are they’ll follow you back. It’s a quick way to build a network in almost any situation. Just be aware that not everyone will welcome your invitation.
This is an extremely underrated way to get more followers on social media. Almost everybody in the country has an established social media presence (in some way), so every new person you meet is a potential new follower. Attend professional networking events, talk to strangers, and get to know your neighbors. These simple steps can open you up to hundreds of new connections.
Attend as many events as you can, from tradeshows and industry gatherings to fairs and local events. If the event uses a hashtag (hint: it probably does), get involved by posting pictures and comments about your attendance. You’ll instantly get connected with similar users attending the same event. Plus, you’ll start building a reputation as a noteworthy personality in your area, and you might start getting invitations to more events.
This is one of the trickier methods to gaining social media popularity, but if you commit yourself to it, you should have no problem. It starts by building a reputation in your community in professional networking events or similar engagements. Then, you need to sign up as a speaker for more community events, and start leading community initiatives or starting events on your own. Become something of a local celebrity, and let your reputation naturally attract more people to your social brand.
This is a much simpler trick that can be done wherever you are. People love to laugh, and if you can make them laugh—or at least crack a smile—you’ll have a far higher retention rate for your followers. Post a funny image, make a joke, or respond sarcastically to other social messages (in good fun). A little bit of humor can go a long way.
It isn’t all about you. Go out of your way to share the posts, images, and content of others around you, especially your own followers. Chances are, they’ll thank you and share some of your material in turn, greatly expanding your network of exposure. Even if you don’t, you’ll earn goodwill among your current following, thereby increasing your retention.
This is fundamental for personal brands. Even corporate brands should stay away from advertising specific products, services, or even a website. Keep your posts entertaining, informative, personal, or otherwise valuable. The minute people start to think you have an agenda, they’ll stop following you. Keep it light.
This goes along with point eight, but warrants a separate discussion. Go out of your way to help your followers with their problems. If they ask a question, try to answer it. If they’re facing a challenge, try to help them solve it. Do favors for your followers, and they’ll stick with you forever—and you’ll earn new loyalties from users who witnessed the exchange.
With these tricks ready in your arsenal, you should have no problem building your social media following to a far more formidable level. Experiment to see what sticks and what doesn’t; the only way you’re going to grow is through trial and error. Just stay patient, stay committed, and eventually, you’ll get the results you’re hoping for.