Professional Development

Ask a Marketer: How do I grow followers?

Be consistent and persistent in your use of whatever platform you’re using, Sean Sutherland advises. Here are six steps to get you there.

(Image by Sean Sutherland)

This is Ask a Marketer by Sean Sutherland, who can help you figure out how to make the most of your marketing budget and time. As the chief marketing officer for Kapowza, a Baltimore-based creative agency, he’s seen it all. Here, he’ll share his hard-won advice from over a decade in the industry.

Ask Sean a marketing Q

Q: How do I grow followers?

A: One of the toughest things to do when starting out is to build an audience, regardless of your company’s focus. At first, it’ll be your direct connections — perhaps that uncle you barely talk to will throw you a like and a follow — but for the most part, the easiest way to gain followers is to be consistent and persistent in your use of whatever platform you’re using.

Here are some other quick tips you can use to grow your follower numbers:

1. Engage in topics relevant to your experience and your industry.

This should be a no brainer, but if you’re in tech, share some industry news that might be relevant to your audience and clients. This is evergreen advice, and stuff anyone can do to start building an expectation of the type of content a visitor can engage with by following/liking your social media accounts.

Even better, if you have the ability to share your company’s opinion on a given topic or other newsworthy happenings, by all means get involved in the conversation by sharing the article with your thoughts.

If you’ve ever wondered why “thought leaders” are who they are, it’s because they became an expert at showcasing items from within their given vertical and showed mastery over engaging in dialogue about how it impacts themselves or their companies. Or their parents owned a diamond mine, either way.

2. Follow thought leaders and add to the discussion when they pose questions.

Speaking of thought leaders, if you’re finding the same figureheads popping up in your industry or newsfeed, give them a follow, as — undoubtedly — it’s a great indication that the people who are interested in them may be interested in your company as well.

Share your thoughts on their thoughts, engage them in conversations (where appropriate — don’t just call their pets cute) as a way to gain visibility from their audience as to how your opinion differs from them.

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3. Run an ad for your page targeting contacts and friends of people who already follow you.

It may be one of the most significant MK Ultra campaigns of the modern era, but social media platforms have come a long way when it comes to advertising. The more you understand your audience, the more likely your data on them can be used to help you deliver more targeted ads to similar audiences and potential customers.

With the proliferation of remote working, people are spending more time on platforms (for good or bad) than ever before. The barrier to entry, for targeted ads on, say, Facebook and Instagram has been lowered significantly from where they started and the targeting possibilities are nearly endless. Just make sure the ad you run is the right one.

4. Run a contest and ask entrants to tag their friends.

I’ve seen this a ton on Instagram and other emerging platforms like TikTok more recently, but contests are a great way to grow followers by offering them something they want, like a gift card, swag or a piece of tech. Most you’ll see that engage in this tactic ask for you to:

  • Like or interact with the post (reshare in some cases)
  • Comment with a specific hashtag or industry notifier
  • Tag your friends (so they get an alert)

This could lead to a short-term pump of the numbers, but it’s largely contingent on your audience and fans. Most want the chance to win something but they’ll likely also think about who might appreciate to know about your company or service, too, leading to a longer-lasting potential follower.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask.

Authenticity is something that can be far and few between when scrolling through timelines or logging onto any platform nowadays. But engaging in truth and honesty is often rewarded if you’ve built the right audience.

If you feel you’ve done what you can to grow your audience or fans, aren’t in a position to do an ad or run a contest, then make a personal plea to your network. This shouldn’t come from the brand or company itself, but from your personal page. It will be viewed more favorably and can help introduce you to a whole new audience.

6. Avoid spamming or posting too often with unrelated content.

Nothing grinds my gears more than people posting for posting sake. There’s a plethora of information out there to determine what the right cadence and format is for your own posting habits, but none is more important than considering the audience who make up your current followers list.

Pay attention to what content drives engagement, conversations, and what doesn’t and then deliver toward that strategy. Any hint of piling a timeline with irrelevant content and updates leads to the same possibility of losing your audience. Be mindful, be on message, and make sure you’re not bothering your audience with pointless things for them to react to.

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At the end of the day, no matter what you do, understand that it’s going to take time to build an audience worth its salt. And sure, you can always buy followers to boost those numbers, but anyone with enough savvy to log on to a social media site knows that if the engagement isn’t there, you’re just not doing it right or engaging in some less than by the book activities to pump the numbers.

If you have a burning marketing question you’re interested in getting answered, pop by our handy form to submit your query anonymously and Sean might just answer it. And stay tuned to the Ask a Marketer series page for future articles and announcements.

Ask Sean a marketing Q -30-
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