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Growing a brand requires getting attention from the right people at the right time.
There are a few ways to do this: Pay for ads on Google. Publish more SEO content. Or, master the art of social media marketing.
Curious about the latter? Then building an effective social media following is key.
With the right methods, it’s possible to build a social media following and an audience that engages with your content.
But how do you get these results consistently?
In this guide, we discuss how to get more social media followers (that actually interact with your brand). So continue reading to learn tips you can start using today.
Choose the right social media channels to get followers
With so many social media channels available, you can’t be everywhere all the time to market your brand. Today, it’s about being where your audience is and engaging with them there.
So your first step is to find out who your audience is and which social channels they prefer.
You can gather this information in several ways:
- Interview or survey your prospects and customers
- Use social listening tools to find where discussions in your niche are happening
- Search for niche groups on various platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Reddit)
- Find your competitors (they chose their social media platforms for a reason)
You can also read reports online that share platform user and usage trends for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Tik Tok, and others.
Once you know where your audience hangs out, it’s time to learn the platform so you can start making content that attracts followers. What type of content performs best and why? This will determine if the social media channel is right for your brand.
For instance, if your audience uses Instagram, TikTok, and Facebook, you may find Facebook is the better choice. If you don’t have a “visual” brand or industry, you’ll struggle to create the visual content needed to perform well on these channels.
Optimize your social media profiles
You know where your audience is. Now it’s time to build and optimize your brand profiles to attract a following. Here’s how to do so:
- Upload a professional photo, logo, or video for added appeal. Make sure it’s the correct size for the platform. Each has its own picture size requirements. For instance, on Twitter, your photo should be 400px by 400px.
- Use the same image across your profiles, so your audience recognizes your pages.
- Choose handles that are the same or similar, so it’s easier to find you across channels.
- Be discoverable via search by targeting specific keywords your audience uses. Add them to your bio and description areas.
- Include links to your website, landing page, and other social profiles. Be sure to test the links to ensure they work.
- Fill out all areas of your profile completely.
- Bonus: Untag yourself from inappropriate posts to protect your reputation
SEMrush does an excellent job of optimizing its Twitter and LinkedIn profiles.
They wrote a concise bio, what to expect from its posts, and included a link to its website. Both platforms use the same logo and handles. Plus, they created their own branded hashtag to maximize visibility for the Twitter chats they host regularly.
Know your best time to post
What’s the best time and day to publish social media posts? It depends on your industry, the platform, and your audience. You’ll find a ton of posts and reports covering the ideal times to publish posts across various social media platforms. But this doesn’t mean it’ll work for your specific account or industry niche.
This is why it’s critical to find your best time to post. Look at your social media metrics on the platform or software you use to track this data, or use Sprout Social’s ViralPost scheduling feature which does the analysis about your specific account’s best time to post for you
It’ll provide insights into the days and times your posts get the most clicks, shares, and comments. Use this to guide your future publishing schedule, get eyes on your content and ultimately build a social media following that is highly engaged.
Post consistently, but with purpose
You’ve probably heard a lot of rumors and myths about how often you need to post on social media to guarantee results.
But there’s more to publishing frequency than how often you post. It’s about consistency and value. If you’re posting daily, but your audience doesn’t find your content helpful, inspiring, or actionable, then they won’t engage with or follow your accounts.
If you’re struggling to find engaging social media post ideas, try these simple tips:
- Ask customers what type of content they enjoy using surveys and polls. This gives insight into what topics interest them and, more importantly, what doesn’t.
- Look at analytics data to see what types of content perform best. Are people clicking on images? Videos? Links? Text only? What kind of content gets shared the most? How many likes does each piece receive? Which pieces generate the highest engagement?
- Study each platform to see what types of content perform best on each.
- Look at competitor activity to see what types of posts they share. Do they focus on product launches? Customer service updates? Sales promotions?
After finding content ideas, use a tool like Sprout Social to automate your social media calendar, so you can schedule your content weeks or even months in advance. This can help you nail the right mix of content types and align with marketing themes like upcoming campaigns.
Scheduling social media content that is intentional and driven by data and insights will pay off in attracting an authentic, engaged audience of social media followers.
Actively engage with your audience
Social media isn’t a bullhorn—it’s a form of two-way communication. Use your platform to talk to (not at) your audience. You can do this by responding to comments, liking/commenting on photos, sharing relevant articles, answering questions, and sparking new conversations.
This shows your audience you’re engaged with their interest in your brand, whether it’s responding to urgent customer service questions or just showing appreciation for positive shout-outs. Audiences on social generally expect a fast response time on social, so make sure your team is set up for success. This is easier to manage using social media tools like Sprout that alert you when you receive tagged comments.
By actively engaging with followers, you’re doing something impactful for your business:
Building lasting relationships.
Connecting with your audience humanizes your brand, and it’s key to transforming followers and customers into loyal advocates.
Follow relevant brand profiles
Engaging with your audience on social media is a great start. But if you want to extend your reach, then follow relevant brands in your industry (excluding competitors).
The goal is to find other brands with similar audiences you can engage with publicly. Share their posts and add value to conversations with meaningful comments.
Doing this frequently enough will build your brand’s visibility and potentially your follower count.
Should you do the same with competitor profiles? Nope.
Following and engaging with their content will increase their reach, which is counterintuitive. If you want to gain an edge with insight into your competition, use competitive analysis tools or social listening to delve deeper into what audiences want.
Gain audience and competitor insight with social listening tools
Social listening tools enable you to tag specific keywords, and then find relevant posts published on the social platforms of your choice.
This is essential to monitoring conversations within your industry. Features like Sprout’s Listening tool pick up on mentions of your brand and give you insight into sentiment, so you know when people are praising or criticizing your brand.
Plus, you can keep an eye on what your competitors are doing without following their brand profiles. For example, you can see their posts, what others say about them and the sentiment of those posts.
What do you do with all this data once you’ve gathered it? You can boost your social media strategy by publishing high-quality content that targets similar themes and platforms as your competitors.. Notice they’re getting lots of engagement on Instagram Stories and videos? Then consider adding these formats to your publishing mix.
Or maybe they’re not doing so well with their infographics. Now you know to steer clear and avoid adding it to your content strategy.
Collaborate with microinfluencers
Another way to extend your reach and build an authentic following is to work with microinfluencers (less than 50K followers). Why micro and not macroinfluencers (500K to 1M followers)?
There are several reasons why microinfluencers can be a perfect fit for brands, especially those just starting out on an influencer strategy or those looking to target a precise niche:
- Affordable rates (some will even do free collaborations in exchange for a free product or service)
- Higher genuine engagement (macroinfluencers have a ton of followers, but the engagement isn’t always high or authentic)
- More influence (believe it or not, smaller influencers tend to have closer relationships with followers, so there’s higher trust when they recommend a brand)
A report from Upfluence shows micro-influencers receive more engagement than larger influencers:
Another report shows 61% of people trust information from “people like them” vs. well-known and celebrity influencers. This is because smaller influencers tend to feel more authentic.
Maybe this is why more brands are choosing to collaborate with them over larger influencers:
So how do you choose the right influencers to collaborate with? Here are a few things to consider:
- Audience: Are they targeting the people you want to connect with?
- Engagement: Do they get regular engagement, and what type (comments and shares are worth more than likes alone)?
- Reach: How many people see their social media posts? Compare this to their engagement rate.
- Quality: Is the content valuable to your target market? Does it align well with your brand values?
If anyone knows how to grow a social media following, it’s an influencer. So don’t overlook the potential of partnering with the right ones for boosting your follower count.
Drive traffic from one platform to another
You regularly publish on Instagram and are seeing great results. Your followers are growing, and more people are engaging with your content. But you’re not seeing the same on TikTok.
Maybe your audience doesn’t know it exists.
Cross-promotion is an excellent social media strategy for driving traffic from one social network to another. One perfect example of this is from Ross Simmonds, who regularly shares his Tweets on LinkedIn:
By cross-posting your content you can help highlight the different types of content followers could get if they connect with you on other platforms. It could be more visual content on Instagram, detailed professional content on LinkedIn or shorter, viral-ready videos on TikTok. Leverage your current top platforms to build your following on other social channels.
Grow more social followers with the right strategies
If you’re committed to growing your brand using social, building an authentic and engaged follower base is one of the most important first steps.
By taking the steps outlined here, you can encourage new social media followers to like and engage with your brand.
Remember, it’s about the quality of your audience, not its size. So continue finding ways to bring value, and the followers will come.
If you’d like more tips on how to grow your social media following, then check out this guide on building a social media presence.