As a brand strategist, it’s the number one question I get around social media. “How do I grow my following?” and the answer is never what people want to hear, because it’s not a secret solution. It’s strategy and consistent work. But when it comes to growing your following this is what you should be focusing on.
What’s More Important Than Followers?
That number that sits at the top of our profile, telling us how large our following is feels good. Just like a large email list, or huge traffic to your website. These all make us feel good, like our marketing is working. But if this audience isn’t converting–Signing up for your email list, purchasing something from you, or engaging in any way–then they aren’t serving you.
When I do a brand review for a business, one of the first things I’m looking for in their social accounts is engagement. I want to know that their audience likes what they’re showing. Do their posts get likes, comments, saves? Are people responding to their content and showing that they want more? It may seem counterintuitive but often, it’s better to have a smaller audience (10,000 or less) to keep your engagement rates higher and turn followers into customers.
We’re all aiming for that 10,000 follower milestone (I’m guilty of this too) but if that doesn’t come with at least a 3% engagement rate, it’s not helping your business. It’s actually hurting it. Growing your engagement rate when you’re bigger is a LOT harder then when you’re just starting out. So change your mindset around growing your following, and instead, aim for growing your engagement.
Give Engagement To Get Engagement
Here is my secret sauce to building a following, but better yet, building engagement for my account. I comment on at least 30 accounts a day. When you do this for 30-days straight, you’ll see a HUGE return on investment. Not only will you find a growth of followers, but you’ll start to see more engagement on your account too. The trick is to try and comment on accounts that match your ideal customer.
To do this, I’ll go into the accounts of brands or influencers I know that my customers might follow and scroll through their list of followers. One-by-one I’ll go into each account, like a few photos, and comment on at least one of them with more than 4 words. Then I go back to the list and head into another account. Once you get a hang of this you can hit 30-accounts in about 30-minutes. Try it out for 30-days and see how your engagement rates and following transforms over that time.
How To Get Noticed on Instagram
Content that matters to your audience is the only way to get noticed on any social media platform. As is the case with everything in your business, it’s about your customers not about you. So A/B test and figure out what type of content your audience resonates with and continue to create more of that. If at any point they stop engaging with that type of content, it’s time to A/B test again and find out what they do like.
Social Media is meant to be a fun and free way to grow you business. The algorithm puts your audience’s needs first, which means that you need to do this too. Create content that connects with their needs, engage with them on their accounts, and stay consistent with showing up. Do all these things and you’re sure to see a change in not only your engagement but in your following as well!
Katie Leigh is a brand strategist and photographer based out of Denver, Colorado. Her experience as a former graphic design and former marketing director provides a unique perspective when it comes to your brand. Whether you’re looking to find out more about your user’s experience with a brand review or want ongoing brand strategy support with a 1:1 package, Katie Leigh will give you confidence in your brand so you can connect with your audience and grow the brand of your dreams.