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10 simple ways how to grow social media followers

Whether you’re a startup or an established company, social media is an important part of your business. Whether you like it or not, social media has the power to make or break a business – particularly in the early stages. So knowing how to grow social media followers is critical - and how to engage them so they stay followers. Social media for businesses is a large undertaking. Often requiring full-time personnel to manage multiple channels, it can be quite difficult to attract new followers organically. There are many theories out there on how best to do this, but these tried and tested methods are certain to help give you a kick-start:

How to grow social media followers - before you dive in...

1. Know your audience and take the right approach to content

Many companies make the fatal error of thinking that social media is just a place to advertise their products. It isn’t. Social media is just that – social. A platform for providing your customers and prospective customers with content they will find useful and interesting gives them a reason to follow you and helps to entice them into engaging with you and other followers. In order to keep track of posts, it’s best to create a social plan and bear in mind the 80/20 rule; 80% of your content should be helpful information, with 20% of a promotional nature.

Example: Of A Kind

This indie eCommerce store made its success by supporting and promoting more than 200 on-the-rise fashion designers to sell limited-edition pieces on its retail site. Not only do they sell well-selected and unique pieces, they are most importantly sharing the designer’s stories. They want their customers to have the “one-of a kind experience”. You’re not just buying a product; you’re buying a story, a concept, a lifestyle. Their slick website and social media platforms are a reflection of their unique universe, where you can also find all the information you need.

Of A Kind Unique Customer Experience
Of A Kind Unique Customer Experience

How to grow social media followers - engagement strategies

2. Engage with the community and industry influencers

As mentioned above, social media can be an extremely valuable tool for generating new business. Identifying industry influencers and those who have power with your target market and developing a relationship with them can really help your business. Sharing their relevant posts, engaging with them via comments and answering any questions they have is the perfect way to build relationships through social media. Helpful tools such as Mention, Google Alerts, and Meltwater can all help you to keep track of trends and engagement.

Example: Clinique UK

The famous cosmetic brand has many influencers helping them to market their product in a more approachable and personalised manner. Below you can see a network map created in IRM (Influencer Relationship Management software) showing the brand Clinique UK at the centre and the conversations to and from the different influencers in their field. As you can see it is a very engaged community with many conversations.

Clinique UK Influencer Relationship Management map
Clinique UK Influencer Relationship Management map

3. Periodically channel your email subscribers to your social media accounts

It seems obvious but many e-commerce businesses forget to do it. Encouraging your email subscribers to follow you on social media every now and then has proven to be a very efficient technique to grow your social media followers. Think about it this way: if people are willing enough to subscribe to your newsletter there's a high probability they will be willing to follow you on social media as well. Of course you do not want to be pushy about it, but a smart and engaging email promoting your social media channels could proactively participate in growing your followers as well as increasing your chances to convert your existing subscribers into repeat customers. Also think about why they should follow you on social channels. Give them a reason to do so. You're going to be able to reach them through another channel as a result, so they need something in return.

4. Answer questions on abandoned Facebook Pages

It's been repeated many times and yet, we still witness lots of online businesses ignoring the questions and comments their fans leave on their Facebook page. Social media is meant to be social right?! It is a tool to interact with your customers and provide them a better service. The directness of Facebook interaction will help you build a stronger reputation and be a testament to your brand's honesty. So don't forget to respond to your Facebook fans unanswered questions in a helpful, non-promotional  and timely manner (and be sure to answer as your Page).

How to grow social media followers - posting strategies

5. Use paid ads

Paid social adverts are an extremely useful way of how to grow social media followers. Creating Paid ads on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks can increase exposure to your page and get new followers who are actually interested in you and what you do. Allowing you to target specific people – such as women between 20 and 40 who are interested in fashion and live within a 30 mile radius of Nottingham – you can be as precise as you like with your audience, ensuring you’re spending your money in the right place. But you need to think about how you might stand out in a prospective follower's Facebook or Instagram feed. Ask yourself, why would I engage with this post? You've been marketed to yourself and decided to dismiss or engage with new content. So what was it that made you click and test a similar approach on your own campaigns.

Example: Trendmaker

Hungarian webstore Trendmaker offers a diverse range of discounted high-fashion clothing and accessories. The company’s rapidly shifting inventory means that customers benefit from brand new lines every few days, instead of every month or season. The Trendmaker.hu team wanted to increase web sales, while decreasing the cost per sale. A micro-targeted approach to Facebook advertising helped the Hungarian fashion retailer quickly sell its clothing stock at a low cost.

Trend Maker Facebook success story
Trend Maker Facebook success story

6. Tell stories

It's a known fact: people love stories. Why? Because a good story is always diverting, and who doesn't like to be entertained? The viewers pay more attention to the story rather than the product, which gives you the opportunity to connect with them on a more "emotional" level with authentic human experiences. This emotional investment allows you to engage with your fans and displays higher interpersonal skills than your competitors who only focus on promotional content. Basically, it builds trust, and trust leads to sales.

How to grow social media followers - website checklist

7. Make it easy to share your content

Putting social share buttons on each blog post makes your blog content tweetable with a click: Use a plugin such asInline Tweet Sharer to encourage visitors to share your tweetable content. These buttons are key to expand the social reach of your site.

Percentage of tweets coming from Tweet Buttons
Percentage of tweets coming from Tweet Buttons

Also apps like Image Sharer from Sumome.com are great ways to get people sharing visual content that people are more likely to engage with. The app makes it easy for people to share images from your site and link back to you, driving viral traffic.

image sharer by sumome.com

8. Easy to find links to your social media accounts

Social media buttons deserve a noticeable position on your site. They don't have to be in your face, but should definitely be eye-catching and easy to find. If someone likes your content and wants to follow you on Twitter, Facebook or any other social media platform, they should be able to do that without having to hunt around for the icons or links. If these links are too difficult to find, you'll most certainly lose the opportunity to get a  soft conversion.

Here are the positions considered as best social icons locations on a website

  • Header: The header is what attracts the eye of site visitors first. Along with the title of the site and the main navigation, social profile link icons fit right in here.
  • Sidebar: Positioning social icons near the top of the sidebar is another way to quickly ensure visitors see them. Plus, you can use the extra space and add a prominent widget header like, “Follow Me!”.
  • Above or below posts: Probably the most popular location to ensure social engagement, placing social media buttons above and/or below your blog posts is a good way to gain more followers.
Social media links
Social media links

9. Use pop ups that tell people about contests or giveaways you're doing on social media - but open up a new window

Pop-ups have been the cause of many controversies. Some people think they should never be used simply because many  web users are annoyed by them. And if web users are annoyed by pop-ups, there's a chance they will transfer that annoyance onto the site that hosts them, and also the brand which is using them to advertise. Here at rais, we think good pop-ups (meaning well-timed and well-designed ones), can have a positive impact on your brand, and help you grow your audience.

Here is what you should avoid to so that your pop-ups won't tarnish the user experience:

  • Overlays: they obscure the articles/webpage people are trying to read/reach.
  • Audio in ads where sounds plays automatically: there's nothing wrong with audio in video ads, but the user must be in control
  • Long-lasting site intro: responsible of many browse abandonment.
  • Badly timed pop-ups: in other words, pop-ups that appear immediately and every time you land on the site, regardless of how many times you've visited.

10. Discuss social media conversations on your blog:

Sharing is caring, right? Keeping your followers updated about your social media conversations on your blog will help you build a stronger brand community. You're sharing your followers stories, it surely demonstrates you care about what they have to say! If you value your followers opinion, they will value your brand above others. You can make them the actors of your brand. We could say it is a form of social-endorsement, where your followers develop self-identities towards your brand after you made them feel part of it.

Social media discussion
Social media discussion
Do you know any other successful ways how to grow social media followers for your brand? Have you come across any hacks that have worked particularly well? Let us know.