Featured image courtesy of Unsplash.
Many of us mistake social media as a tool for recreation and simple engagement with friends. However, in reality, it is a hugely valuable way to grow an audience online and to help build a brand when utilised properly!
Here are some tips on how to build a social media following that will work in 2021.
How to Build a Social Media Following (For Free!)
Unlike many forms of boosting your business, there are numerous ways to learn how to build a social media following that don’t cost you a thing.
Most of these tactics will work on big social media platforms, including but not limited to: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest. These five websites are some of our favourites to help grow your following, but the sky is the limit when you’re thinking about future opportunities!
Start With Your Friends & Family
There is no easier way to boost your following immediately than by inviting all of your friends and family to like, subscribe, or follow your page.
All you need to do for this step is to post a link to your business page on your personal pages, or email it to your friends and family. Encourage them to follow your page, and you may have a few dozen (or even more) followers by the next day! Some social media pages, like Facebook, even have an option to invite them to directly like your page.
Sometimes our friends miss the things that we post on social media. So, be sure to re-post that link about a week after your first post to ensure that they’ve seen it.
Post Strategic Content
Learning how to post content with intent should be one of your first lessons when growing social media accounts.
There are certain times and topics where different posts thrive. One social media study looked into the specifics of each major social media site and found the best and worst times to post on the platform. They found the following times as ideal for high engagement:
- Facebook: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and between 1-2 p.m.
- Instagram: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday between 10 a.m. and 11 a.m.
- Twitter: Wednesday and Friday at 9 a.m.
- LinkedIn: Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday mornings, and lunchtime on Wednesday and Thursday.
The same study found that Sundays were pretty bad days to post on most platforms, with Saturday being another unpopular timing. This is likely because weekends drag the attention of potential followers away, as there are far more distractions going on.
Another thing to consider when trying to post strategically is how your content relates to other news going on in the world. For example, odds are you’ll want to plan your post about personal finance when the stock market is up, or a political-savy post when there are major elections going on.
Hashtag With Caution
Hashtags are a method of learning how to build a social media following that most of us are used to by now. This form of connecting to future visitors is used on almost every website out there, and it’s almost effortless to use.
You should be using hashtags that people will want to click on. This means doing research into preexisting hashtags and not just making one up on your own. Each platform makes it easy to click on or search an existing hashtag, letting you see if it’s popular.
One mistake that many people make is posting too many hashtags. This might turn off potential visitors, as it clogs up the aesthetics of your post and reminds viewers of how hard you’re trying to get that all-important engagement.
Instagram may let you use 30 hashtags on a post, but that doesn’t mean you should have that many! Using up to three hashtags is a common practice. If you’re still just starting out in growing your online following, you may consider using up to 11.
If you own an online business or blog, then you’re a content creator. And one of the most valuable tools for content creators to keep in their box is using the creativity that inspired them to grow a website in the first place!
Your most fulfilling shot at learning how to build a social media following for free is to get creative with campaign ideas. Not only does this give you the opportunity to promote your own products or site, but it will give you a shot at going viral.
This might look like utilising an existing trend and taking your own spin on it. Places like TikTok and Instagram are great places to promote your content through methods that are already viral, whether it’s using a hashtag or sound bite that people are listening to.
You can also play around with thinking outside of the box and coming up with creative marketing strategies that you think people will want to re-share on their accounts.
You might not go viral right away. In fact, you might have to try dozens of fun strategies before something picks up. But keep trying, and the followers will come!
How to Build a Social Media Following (Paid Options)
Are you willing to invest a few dollars into building your social media following? Good! While a lot of social media following methods are free, there is no doubt that paying a little bit of money will help you get to where you want to be in a shorter time.
There is a pretty high chance that you’ve stumbled upon advertisements while scrolling through social media. Do you ever wonder how they managed to pop up on your page?
Most social media platforms allow companies to pay money to have their products, services, or brands advertised. This allows people to find your content by working the algorithm and appealing to the masses, without having to try and seek them out yourself!
Many platforms, like Facebook, use targeted ads. This means that your ads will show up on the pages of people who are already a part of your demographic. For example, if you specify that you’d like your ads targeted towards people ages 30-50 who live in a certain area, then the ad will only come up for people fitting this demographic.
The amount you have to pay for each platform will differ. You might also find different prices based on how many ads you want to keep up, and for how long. We have compiled a quick list of the minimum price you can pay for ads and show the general range that many people pay.
- Facebook: $1 to $40 per day
- Instagram: $1 to $40 per day
- Youtube: $10 per day
- LinkedIn: $10 per day
- Twitter: $1 and up
While it may sound pricy, it’s a tried and true method of creating more brand awareness and building out a pipeline of new business. Some of the many perks of choosing this route include:
- It will boost lead generation
- It can direct users straight to sales pages
- It allows you to get creative and experiment with photo and video ads
- It reveals the sales propositions, messaging, and media elements that resonate most with your audience
Your paid advertisements are important to your future success. So, be sure to dedicate the necessary time to building an ad that will work. It should be appealing enough that people stop scrolling to read your content, while also providing enough information about why they should click for more.
The rise of social media influencers has been rampant over the past few years. It has never been easier to go viral or to build a solid base of followers, making plenty of people realise the earning potential in becoming a social media “influencer.”
Social media influencers are users who showcase their lives (or parts of it) on the internet. They often promote products to their followers through direct payment or sponsorships. The reason for their success will depend on the niche, but many are able to utilise creative strategies to showcase products in ways that traditional advertising can’t.
Since these influencers already have a following, it’s up to you to decide if you want to use it. You can pay social media influencers to market your products for you, boosting it to higher levels of engagement than plain advertisements.
The key to this method of paid follower building is determining who you’d like to market your products. This will depend on each niche, and whether there are successful influencers in yours to choose from.
Is there a particular user who has promoted products you’ve loved before? Or someone that you follow and are inspired by? Reach out to them directly and ask for rates. They may be willing to make a video, photo, or story post to encourage their followers to follow you!
Not in the mood to reach out to influencers and hope that someone believes in your product, or fits into your budget? Get somebody else to do it for you!
BuzzSumo is a platform that helps business owners to collaborate with influencers. You can search keywords or domains right on their website and it helps find analytics related to your marketing ideas. You can learn more about how to engage your audience, go viral, and curate a successful social media page worthy of a following!
BuzzSumo plans start at $99 per month. Though, you do get the option of a free 30-day trial before making any commitments! You can learn more and sign up for BuzzSumo here.
Another platform that works for you is Hootsuite. This site gives users the chance to manage their social media pages in one place. Some of their features include:
- Scheduling and publishing content
- Analytics around engagement
- Content creation tools
- Collaborative calendars to plan social media campaigns
- Inbox channels for every platform you use
Hootsuite is also easy to use with collaborators. So, if you have other people working for your website, like a freelance content creator or business partner, you’ll all be able to utilise Hootsuite at the same time!
The plans for Hootsuite start at $29 per month. This allows you to use 10 social media accounts, among various other features. There are even larger plans for businesses, going up to $599 per month. Fortunately, you’ll also get access to a 30-day trial where you can make sure that this platform is right for you!
Learn more and get started here.
Do you want a cost-friendly social media tool that is easy to use and hugely impactful on your online presence? Our favourite option is Tailwind!
Tailwind allows you to grow your following on two of the biggest social media platforms for bloggers and businesses: Instagram and Pinterest.
Features included on Tailwind include:
- Post scheduling
- Content creation tools
- Access to online communities
- Hashtag finding tools
- Calendar tools for planning content
You can choose to use Tailwind on Pinterest, Instagram, or both. Whether you prefer one over the other, or want to invest in both, this opportunity works with your preferences. You’ll only need to pay $9.99 per platform, which is a steal compared to many other online marketing tools!
You can learn more about Tailwind and start reaping their benefits by clicking here.
How to Build a Social Media Following Wrap-Up
Learning how to build a social media following is no easy task. From learning the ropes of various social media sites and curating content for each account, you’ll need to spend a great deal of time with every platform to discover how your own content works best with them!
Our list of free and paid audience building tools is designed to help you master the art of promotion, whether you’re doing it all on your own or using others to boost your opportunities.
To summarise our follower building methods, we recommend the following methods:
- Reaching out to the people that you already know
- Posting creative and strategic content
- Adding hashtags to your benefit
- Utilising paid advertisements
- Hiring influencers to promote for you
- Harnessing online tools like Hootsuite, Tailwind, and BuzzSumo
Social media should never be pushed to the sidelines when you’re creating or promoting a website. We know that your content is great and deserves plenty of organic traffic, but social media promotion is meant to help you learn how to build a social media following and get there faster. Good luck!