There is a social proof element to having a relatively large number of followers.
When a person considers following someone on social media they can take into account many variables, but one is the number of followers you have. By having a large number relative to other people in your industry or other comparable people and accounts you’ll be seen as a leader at least in your industry and on that particular social media site.
And the obvious benefit of having lots of followers is that more people see what you share. My favorite strategy for social media is sharing blog content. It’s an early stage strategy in a relationship that can lead to a sale. You earn trust with the post and get the new person on your site. They can subscribe via email, learn more about what you do by reading your website and make their way to becoming a customer.
But the big question is: How do you get more followers?
There are a lot of methods out there and I thought I would create an exhaustive list on how you can get more social media followers.
Here it is…
1. Follow Your Business Connections
If you’re involved in business it’s common to connect with other professionals on LinkedIn. You attend a conference, meet the person and go back to your hotel room and connect on LinkedIn.
Don’t stop at LinkedIn. Follow your new connections on all social networks. They’ll likely remember meeting you recently and will follow you back.
Any new connection works including new clients, inquiries, etc.
2. Complete Your Profiles
You know how you might not have all the information on your Facebook, Google+ or LinkedIn profile? One study found that people are more likely to follow you if you fill out your entire profile.
3. Reply, Re-Share And Engage
The same study linked in the previous tip also found that if your profile shows that you engage directly with followers and users on social media that you’re more likely to get more new followers. This is opposed to if you only share your own content and treat your social profiles as a broadcast channel.
4. Keep Updates Positive
The same study above found that for getting new followers that it’s best to keep your updates positive especially on Twitter. Sharing bad news on sites like Facebook can help build relationships with existing users, but it can be a challenge to turn negative updates into new followers.
5. Share User-Focused Information
Just a few more from the study above. It found that you’re most likely to get followers if you share information that your potential followers or users of the social site will find useful for them. That’s usually not information about yourself or general statements. It could be answering a question or sharing an inspirational quote.
6. Re-Share Inspiring Or Useful Content
This was shown in the study to have a positive correlation with getting new followers. If you find content really inspiring or useful it will likely be useful for others and the person that you’re re-sharing might follow you.
7. Use Well-Written Updates
I’m an offender of this sometimes, but the same study from above found that people seem to seek out well-written content. It can show that you’re smart and informed and worth following.
8. Write A Blog Post About Potential Followers
I do this on a number of blogs I write for. You can do a post about a potential follower. So on this site it would be an analysis of someone with great social media images. When you share the content mention that person so they can see the content. They’re likely to follow you to see what else you might write about them.
9. Write A Blog Post Featuring Individuals
Another type of post I write once in a while is one that includes things that industry experts have said, written or shared on social media or on their websites. Or maybe they said something at a conference. Share your post and mention the people you included.
10. Create List Posts With Individuals And Brands
Anytime you create a list blog post always share it on social media and mention those that you include in the list. Like the tips above this will alert the people to your post. And people generally like to be written about on blogs and they’ll likely re-share, favorite and sometimes follow.
11. Share Conference Content And Mention The Speaker
If you’re at an event and someone is speaking take down notes on the best content they share while speaking. Then share their quotes on social media and mention them. They’ll often see it, re-share, favorite and follow.
12. Use Hashtags
It took me way too long to discover that this really works. Use the best hashtags for your type of business and industry and you’ll expand the reach of your updates.
13. Share Content Influencers Will Like
This one is a little tricky, but it can work well. Influencers are one of the keys to social media. They have the followers. You want the followers. One way to get them is to share content influencers will re-share. That could be their own content or it could be something they find interesting.
For example, I follow golf coach Hank Haney on Twitter. He’s been talking about how golfers get better with 100 practice swings per day. One day I read an article about how Padraig Harrington said he was going to try to get 100,000 practice swings done in 6 weeks or something. It was like 2,000 swings a day. I shared the quote and cc’ed Haney and he retweeted it.
14. Create Lists
This is one of my favorite tools within Twitter. Create lists of influencers, potential clients and more. You can segment them with the lists and pay better attention to what they’re sharing. Then you can re-share their content, which can encourage them to follow you, but I’ve found that just adding someone to a list can make them see it and some will follow you if your profile and updates look interesting.
15. Add The Follow Buttons To Your Website
This one is Social Media 101. Add the follow buttons or links to your website. The common places are in the footer and in the sidebar on your blog and also with your author bio on blog posts. I would also add them to your about page.
16. Add Follow Buttons To Confirmation Pages
If you’re an ecommerce company add the pages to the checkout confirmation page. Someone just bought something and they’re leaving your site anyway. They might as well go to social media and follow you.
The same thing works for contact form and email signup confirmation pages.
17. Post Consistently (Use Buffer)
Quality is obviously important, but I don’t like that term. Interesting, useful and things like that are better ways to think about the content you share. And quantity isn’t a good word either for social media. But I do think consistency is very important. People like when you’re consistent with your updates including how often you update. Use Buffer to help become more consistent with how often you post.
I take one day a week and add 35 updates to post throughout the week. Then I supplement during the week with other replies, re-shares and more.
18. Follow Influencers
I mentioned this in creating lists, but you’ll also want to follow influencers. I would follow the ones, though, that tend to follow people back. This gives you a better chance of getting them as a new follower.
19. Follow Potential Clients
Again, look for people that tend to follow people back or that have a lot of followers. Don’t overdo these last two tips. You don’t want to follow just anyone.
20. Don’t Update In Bursts
A study found that if you share content in bursts that it can make followers leave you and will likely deter potential new followers. People don’t want to logon and have their entire feed full of only your updates. This is another good reason to use Buffer to space out your updates.
21. Share Occasional Personal Stories
In general I would say that this will be 1-3% of your total updates. Share personal stories. It could be a struggle. It could be something that happened to you. People do relate to people that share similar attributes and lives and adding some personal element to your social media can attract followers that share a similar life.
22. Ask Email Subscribers To Follow You
Do you have an email list? Ask them to follow you on social media. Simple, but effective. Do it regularly like every quarter.
23. Guest Blog Post
Guest blogging is a great strategy for building your overall profile. It’s not so much about SEO anymore, but it can bring in direct traffic to your site and it can increase your social followers. Most blogs let you put your social profile links in your author bio. In fact, most blogs require that you do so.
24. Answer Questions
See a question that someone is asking on social media? Answer it. The more helpful you are the more followers you’ll get.
25. Answer Questions On Competitor Pages
This one is kind of sneaky and you have to make sure you don’t promote yourself. Say you’re on a Facebook page and you see that a follower asked a question of a brand, but the brand didn’t answer. Step in and answer the question. You can do the same on LinkedIn if you see someone comment on an update without getting a reply.
26. Answer Forum Questions
Industry forums are great for finding potential people to connect with. If you find good questions, provide the answers and include a link to your best social profile in your bio area. You’ll get some followers.
27. Respond To Blog Comments
Respond to blog comments on your own blog, but also on other popular blogs. Use your full name or the username you use on popular social networking sites. This makes it likely that someone will follow you on social media. You could even share the update on social media like, “I answered a question on this popular blog…”
28. Follow The People Influencers Follow
When you identify influencers in your industry look at who they follow. These are likely other influencers. Look for the ones that tend to follow people back and follow those people.
29. Follow All Your Personal Friends
I can’t believe I forgot to add this one earlier. It’s the simplest one. Follow the people you know in real life. They’ll likely do the same. It’s good to keep up with friends anyway.
30. Connect With Old Friends
Remember those people you used to know back in high school? See if they’re on your networks. See what they’re up to and build the relationship again.
31. Connect With Old Business Associates
All the people from a job you had back in the ’90s or early ’00s can make great connections on social media. You might not have a connection now because social media really didn’t get rolling until the late ’00s.
32. Manage A Social Group
Start a group on LinkedIn or Facebook. These are becoming very popular. It’s a place where people with similar interests and expertise can ask and answer questions. You’ll need to moderate and keep out all links to articles except for the very best. Ask current connections to be a part of it and when they answer a question share that on other networks.
For example, if someone leaves a great response to a question in a LinkedIn group then share that response on Twitter and mention the person. They’ll likely re-share it.
33. Connect With Guest Post Moderators
I should have mentioned this earlier, but when you guest post you’ll be in touch with at least one person that moderates the guest posts. It might be the site owner. Obviously you’ll want to connect with them on all your social channels.
34. Connect With Blog Commenters
Anytime someone comments on your blog connect with them on social media. Most will do the same. If, after some time, they don’t share useful information you can unfollow them.
35. Connect With Guest Post Commenters
If you guest post on a really popular blog you’ll naturally get some followers like I mentioned above, but you’ll also get some comments on the post. Respond to those comments and follow the people on social media just like in the previous tip.
36. Guest On Podcasts
This one has been great for me for getting traffic to my website, but it gets you followers too. There are likely podcasts in your industry. Search on Google for “Your Industry Podcast”. Create a big list and reach out one by one with pitches. Focus on what you can share that will be valuable for the listeners. I try to contact 3-5 podcasts each month.
When the episodes are published the podcast owner will likely include your social info.
37. Create Webinars And Co-Webinars
Webinars have really become popular with people. They seem to have steadily grown in numbers and attendees. You can create webinars for your industry. Ask your clients and contacts what they would want to see included. Then build your content around those ideas and answer. Ask them to come and to spread the word to anyone they think would like to join.
38. Create Co-Branded Content
This would be creating a co-post or co-guide with someone. Look for an influencer that has a big audience. Offer to co-create an outline for what should be included and then offer to do most of the work. Then share the content on social media and mention the person. They’ll do the same and you’ll get more followers.
39. Create Your Own Podcast
It’s growing and growing right now.
40. Participate In #FollowFriday
This goes way back, but it works well still. You’re paying it forward with this one. Make suggestions about who your followers should follow. People appreciate it and you’ll build good rapport and over time people will return the favor. Here’s a post I did five years ago that’s still relevant today for using #FollowFriday.
41. Local Media Coverage
Now we’re getting into some interesting ones. Don’t laugh this one off. It can work. Our local media – TV and newspapers – do stories from time to time on professionals for a variety of reasons. Think about what you can offer their audiences. Come up with a pitch. For example, a nutritionist in our area went on the news and talked about eating healthy during the holidays. Very helpful and at the end they shared her social media profile info.
42. Local Business And Professional Groups
It could be the chamber of commerce, a group of startup founders, SaaS creators or whatever. We have a group for young professionals where I live and you can all follow each other on social media.
43. Connect With Conference Attendees
If you attend a conference talk to the people that are there. Participate in the roundtables and make connections in person and then on social media.
44. Give A Talk At A Conference
See if you can speak at a conference. You could start out locally and build up to bigger and bigger conferences. It’s great exposure for yourself and always add your social handles on your slide decks so people can follow you.
45. Publish Slide Decks On SlideShare
SlideShare is a huge site. So put your presentations on there and include the follow information. You might be surprised how many views the deck will get.
46. Connect With Salespeople
If you’re in business you’ll get sales calls and emails from people that sell to businesses. These are good relationships to build even if you don’t buy what they’re selling. When they first make contact check them out and connect. They may even do the same for you, but they’re very likely to follow you back.
47. Speak At Your Alma Mater
Sarah is good at this one. She’s spoken in the classroom where she was formerly a student. It’s good for many reasons and one is that the students and even professors will likely follow you on social media.
48. Follow Local Businesses
The local movement seems to be popular all over the world. I know it’s popular here in Wisconsin. Pay it forward and follow the local businesses you like in your area. Restaurants, bars, agencies, whatever. Follow the ones you really like. Paying it forward will lead to follows back from those folks and others.
Pretty straightforward. You put a contest together and give people something. It can get a little iffy if you require them to follow you, but most will follow you anyway. The thing with this one is that you’ll get a certain kind of person that looks for discounts and contests and that might not be the customer you want. And it can discount your product when you may not want to.
I’m kind of putting my least favorite ones here at the end, but they can be effective. Giveaways are like contests, but you’re just giving something away. You might pick someone randomly on a social site and give them something. It can build some buzz. I know the Green Bay Packers give away tickets and apparel randomly on Twitter occasionally.
51. Advertise On Social Sites
This is one that most social networks want you to use and it can be effective. I’ve tinkered with it on Facebook and it does work really well. You’re paying for followers, but if you want to grow faster than you might with organic methods then you can supplement with advertising to gain followers.
I hope this list helps you gain more social media followers. It doesn’t matter if you have great content to share. You need people to share it with and I believe you can increase that number with all the strategies above. You don’t have to try them all right away. Try a few, see if they work for you and keep experimenting while sticking with the best methods.