Social media growth is a challenge, but it’s well worth pursuing. Just like content marketing through a blog, social media can be a low-cost and highly effective marketing channel.
With so many users and constantly changing algorithms, competing for a place on a user’s feed is getting harder and harder. Sometimes you feel like you’re talking to a wall.
With so many users, though, there’s a tremendous opportunity for you to grow your social reach — and grow your online business — organically.
Social media is a great way to get to know your audience and expand your reach outside of organic searches. It allows you to talk with people in a way that’s more difficult to achieve on your website or blog — you get to tell your story in a more casual way.
Social media can let you know what your audience wants and what they’re thinking. It can also highlight the problems they need solved.
Most importantly, social media can be used to develop trust between you and your followers.
That’s why using the right strategies is so important. Social media growth hacks can get you a high number of followers with no interest in you or your business.
Read on to learn the social media growth strategies that will help you build an active and engaged following.
Which Social Media Channels are Best for Your Business?
Arguably, the three most important channels to grow on social media are Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Of course there’s Pinterest, but the way you use it is different from the others. It works more as a visual search engine than a social media platform.
Pinterest relies on a high number of images and video pins, which should all be of high quality. You need a more in-depth understanding of how Pinterest works if you want to use it to grow your business.
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter all follow a basic rule of thumb: quality and engagement over everything else.
Whether it’s an engaging caption or an eye-catching photo, the ability to grow your social media accounts relies on the quality of your posts. If you can’t commit to consistent, high-quality posts, you won’t see the results you’re looking for.
Start by choosing one platform to focus your social media marketing efforts. Not sure where to start? Read on to learn which one might be the best fit for your business:
With 2.41 BILLION active users in 2019, Facebook is what most people immediately think of when they hear the phrase “social media.”
Amidst the billions of users and issues with data, fake news and fake reviews, Facebook business pages can still thrive.
Facebook uses an algorithm to show users what it thinks they want to see. Generally, this means quality content that users will engage with.
The tricks and tips to help grow your Facebook engagement are never-ending.
From video and photo posts, to avoiding “link posts” (a post with only a link and a brief comment — or even a post with a link by itself), there are a lot of ways your page can thrive.
Acquired by Facebook in 2012, Instagram started as a way to apply filters to photos and share them with friends.
Since it started in 2010, Instagram has grown to more than 500 million daily users in 2019.
Combining Instagram’s reach with standout images and descriptions, your follower base will grow, brand awareness will increase, and blog traffic will benefit.
With such a large user base, Instagram’s offerings have also grown with new features, including:
- No longer just square images
You can now upload images of different sizes.
- The ability to upload multiple photos to a single post
You can post multiple images to get your point across.
Instagram launched its own version of Snapchat within the app. Like the photos on their feed, some bloggers obsess over how carefully curated their stories are. Others take a more relaxed approach and use Instagram Stories as a candid way to share their lives with their followers.
Instagram, like Facebook, has its own algorithm, which prioritizes posts that have higher engagement than others.
Despite the algorithm, there are still ways to grow your follower base by posting quality content that gets them to tap the heart.
Twitter describes itself as “what’s happening in the world and what people are talking about right now.”
Twitter is a “microblogging” social media platform that thrives on information and up-to-the-minute news and trending information.
From electric vehicles to far-flung beaches, it’s where people go to discuss their hobbies and passions in no more than 280 characters.
By keeping Tweets at a maximum of 280 characters, Twitter helps develop succinct writing skills. No time for rambling or “fluff,” it keeps content simple and to the point.
Concise and thought-provoking messages work best on Twitter. Photos and videos with snappy text tend to go more “viral” on Twitter than other networks.
Armed with an overview of each social media platform, let’s now get into how to grow your social media presence…
How to Grow Your Audience on Social Media
Just because Twitter is more “newsy” than photo-heavy Instagram or video-driven Facebook, it doesn’t mean that the core concept changes.
These 18 tips on how to grow your social media audience span all social media… yes, even on “set and forget” Pinterest.
1. Be consistent across all your social media accounts
Use the same profile picture and cover photo across all your platforms. This way, folks know that they’re definitely following your official account.
2. Be consistent with your website
Use the same colors that you use on your website to establish branding.
This gives your followers a strong signal that your brand is consistent — people love consistency.
You don’t have to use the same tone if your website’s “voice” is too authoritative — your social media voice should be more conversational.
3. Create a Collective Body of Work
You’d never spoil your website or blog with a sub-standard article or a fuzzy photo. Whatever page your visitors happen to land on, you want to blow them away.
The odds are that you don’t think the same way about your social accounts. But it’s just as important to create a magnificent “body of social media work”…
- No rushed Facebook post.
- No poor Instagram image.
- No careless Tweet.
Potential followers will look at the entire body of your work before they decide to follow you.
You’ve read tons of advice on getting your profile right (great photos, perfectly crafted bio). And yes, a bad profile can lose potential followers over time. But a good profile by itself does not clinch the deal… that closing job goes to your body of excellent content.
Take a look at this Instagram account from Gerhild Fulson’s @JustLikeOma (Gerhild uses Solo Build It!’s suite of tools to build QuickGermanRecipes.com):
Doesn’t that make you want to follow her and get cooking?
4. Always Include Media
No matter what, put an image or video somewhere in your post. Otherwise, it won’t stand out.
Experimenting with a simple post with a single line of text and no media could be interesting, but don’t expect amazing results… unless you have a super following.
5. Post Video Instead of Photos When Possible
On social media, attention spans are short. If your followers can get information via a video, they’ll take it over a photo and some text.
Use video over a photo whenever and wherever you can.
Let’s look at Nori Evoy’s (who uses Solo Build It! to build her blog anguilla-beaches.com) reach on Facebook for Anguilla Beaches on a photo post:
She uses a simple caption and a stunning photo. These two components strengthen her reach and engagement.
But when she goes one step further and makes a video post from a similar angle:
Her reach and engagement are even stronger than the photo, because Facebook favors video posts. Facebook’s algorithm gives videos a built-in boost, so Nori’s followers are more likely to see the video she posted.
Taking this information into consideration, Nori now only makes video posts on Facebook.
6. Trending Topics
Use trending topics to inspire your posts. You don’t need to use Twitter’s trending topics, although they could be great for your Twitter posts — also consider trends in “real life.” For example, holidays, news events or cultural phenomena (e.g., new films or TV shows, new bands or songs, etc.).
7. Consider Your Followers
Make a mental sketch of your ideal follower on each platform, then target your posts to that person. Use common sense (or the platform’s analytics) to determine when they would likely be logged onto that platform, then use analytics to verify your hypothesis.
8. Captions Matter
You want to capture the viewer’s attention ASAP. In order to do that, the text you attach to your post (on Facebook “Write a post,” or Instagram “Write a caption” or Twitter “What’s happening?”), i.e., your caption, has to stand out.
Easier said than done, right?
Captions make a huge difference. An excellent caption can turn a “Great” post into an “Outstanding” one or upgrade an “Average” one into “Great.” A poor caption adds nothing. A bad one can hurt engagement.
“Train” by doing the following…
Go to your favorite account with a big following and click each post to see its caption. Consider such elements as:
- how well it fits the “core” of what the photo is saying
- brevity (shorter is better, but a long caption is fine if it’s compelling)
9. Quality vs. Quantity
In the beginning, playing with your captions and creating different types of posts is great. Soon though, you’ll figure out which types of captions and posts work and which don’t.
As we saw in the “Body of Work” section, making one excellent post is 100 times better than making 100 “meh” posts.
10. Switch It Up
In order to find out what works, you always need to be experimenting. Even when you find out what types of posts and captions your audience likes, they might not like a certain type of post or caption forever. So, Always Be Experimenting.
11. Q & A Sessions
Why not try a question and answer segment on your social media? Viewers ask you questions in the comments and you respond to them.
It’s a great way to kick off engagement. And with all the algorithms at play, this will help your post’s reach on other people’s feeds.
12. Be Social!
When you receive comments on posts or someone sends a message to your business page (whether it’s positive or negative), respond quickly.
This is your chance to make a great impression with your followers.
If you do nothing, you could quickly lose engagement — why would a “follower” keep talking to no one?
13. Pay Attention
Pay attention to what types of posts receive the best and worst response, then craft your next posts based on that information.
Research and studying analytics should always be at the top of your to-do list when growing your social media.
14. Post Consistently and Responsibly
Don’t post so often that your page is annoying.
Post regularly. However, you also want your content to be seen as valuable to your followers.
If you only post high-value or entertaining content that’s directly related to your niche, you should be able to maintain control.
15. Set Social Media Growth Goals
Having thousands of followers on Instagram, or getting “likes” and comments on Facebook, may look good, but both are pointless unless you establish what you ultimately want to get out of social media.
Being “social” for social’s sake is not necessarily building an engaged customer base — nor will it put money in the bank.
So, what are your goals? Here are some outcomes to consider when setting goals for social media growth:
- Building credibility and trust
- Promoting your website and getting more traffic
- Encouraging people to stay longer on your blog and reducing your “bounce” rate
- Engaging your audience so they click over to a sales page
- Getting more sign-ups to grow your email list
You need to analyze what is and isn’t working to grow your social media successfully. Adjust the types of posts you make over time. If something isn’t working, you’re wasting your time by continuing to post similar content.
The only way to know if you’re using the best social media growth strategies is to experiment and analyze the results.
17. Don’t Get Too Distracted
While goals and analytics in social media are important, it’s also important not to get distracted by the platform itself.
There’s no doubt that social media can waste massive amounts of time. Good work habits are essential.
You go onto Instagram to make an exceptional post, and that pic of an oh-so-cute kitten catches your eye. Before you know it, your thumb is exhausted from scrolling, an hour has passed, and you still haven’t uploaded your post.
The solution? Set a time limit! Estimate much time you’ll need to scroll through other people’s pages and hashtags and how much time you need to perfect your post.
18. Work With Others
Reach out to related pages with a strong following and engagement ratio.
Rather than thinking of them as “competition,” treat them like friends and build a relationship with them. Who knows, they could shout you out and literally raise your profile!
Start Using These Social Media Growth Strategies Today
When you’re growing any social media account, the most critical component is to post quality content consistently.
Start by playing around and seeing what starts to work. Then push it a little farther, until you start to see some great results. Then push a little more, until you’re where you want to be.
Your potential followers and your current followers will always be drawn to quality content, which makes up the body of your work.