How do I get more followers? Over the years, dozens of people have asked me how to get more followers. Friends who know I work in social ask me this, and so have most of my superiors at work. It’s come up in job interviews, and clients request it. It especially comes up for new businesses starting up a social presence from scratch.
I admit, as a social media marketer, I get a feeling of satisfaction from directly impacting follower count. It feels good! I’ve included it in most monthly and quarterly social performance reports. I’ve even remarked on how much I’ve increased a brand’s follower count on my resume. The thing is though, how do I get more followers? isn’t usually the question brands want to be asking. And oftentimes, how many followers you have ultimately doesn’t matter that much. So in this article, I’m going to break down this frequently asked question, and help you decide if actively pursuing more followers is really a goal toward which you want to work.
Breaking Down What You Are Really Asking When You Ask How To Get More Followers?
What you’re really asking when you ask how do I get more followers? might be how do I reach more people with my content and ultimately my service, product or message? Another question you might really be asking is, how do I increase my sphere of influence/market share? Or simply, how do I grow my business [using social media]? These are all great questions to be asking yourself instead of simply how to get more followers.
If you ask me how to get more followers, I’m going to come back with WHY you want to get more followers.
Is it symbolic? Having a high follower count can have a powerful psychological effect on how someone interprets the value of your brand. I don’t know about you, but when I encounter a new account on Instagram for instance, I will give a quick glance to their follower count. While this is incredibly nuanced, sometimes the follower count alone will keep me on their page long enough to scroll down to find out more. Better yet, if I’ve stumbled upon an account which 10 of my friends already follow, thus increasing its social proof, then it will further hold my attention.
Do you believe you’re positioned to convert a follower into taking another, more meaningful action? The road from passive follower to real customer is real. It can be long and winding. Social media is a great way to “warm up” and engage your prospects, however, depending on your business, it isn’t usually the best place to try to close the deal.
A follow on social can be interpreted as a signal of “intent” in the customer’s journey. It’s at least a signal that the follower is interested in you, your brand, content, product or service for one reason or another. Unfortunately, moving a social follower from awareness and intent to purchase or sign-up can be clumsy, hard to track and even a potentially costly endeavor. There can be a big difference between a social follower and a qualified lead.
There are reasons ad infinitum why it’s hard to convert followers into customers using social media, not least of which being that we all know that most followers don’t even see your brand’s posts in the first place. But let’s say that in the best case scenario your followers do see your posts. Then you’re dealing with the fact that social followers are a particularly passive bunch: CTAs on social media often fall on deaf ears. People just aren’t always in the mood to take action when they’re scrolling through their feed.
?TIP: To increase the likelihood that a follower will take the next step with you in the customer’s journey, you should set in place a re-marketing strategy based on social engagement, profile visits specifically.
➡️ A good goal would be to get your followers to tap away from the feed and over to your brand’s social profile specifically.
From here, you can create a Facebook custom audience based on profile visits and re-market to your prospects more often, in more places.
When was the last time you did, in fact, heed someone’s request to tap the link in their bio, sign their petition, or comment on their post? (No, seriously, please tell me in the comments below!)
Making the Question More Specific
Ok. You’re still convinced you want more followers, and now you can better pinpoint why. Once you’ve solved why you want more followers, consider who you want following you, where you want them to follow you, how many more followers you want, and over what period of time.
Who do you want following your social accounts? First, define your target audience. If you’ve considered buying followers, or buying an Instagram account with built-in followers, you’re not the first. This may help make your account “look” better, but in the long run, the followers you buy, if they are real at all, probably won’t match the demographic and psychographic characteristics of your ideal follower. Ask yourself, is there a more qualified place to look for new followers than where I’m currently looking?
What do you hope they will do once they follow you? Another reason not to buy followers is because – if these followers are real at all – they’re unlikely to move forward in a meaningful way with your brand along the customer journey. So ask yourself, what is the best thing your social followers can do for you? How do you want them to interact with you?
Which channel should they follow you from? YouTube? Instagram? Twitter? All of them? Why? You should emphasize acquiring followers on the channels on which your brand is the most active and shares the best content. Also remember your why and your what. If you really want to use social to cultivate community, for instance, Instagram or Facebook are better places to focus your energy than YouTube.
How many more followers do you want? And over what period of time? 100% of the social accounts I’ve worked on have grown their followers. Not one has ever lost followers absolutely. What really matters is how much your follower count is growing. This is your follower growth rate. If you grow your followers by 5% in one quarter, aim to increase that number to 6% the next quarter. This is harder to achieve and will always give you something to work towards.
What is the opportunity cost of putting effort into getting more followers? By expending energy on getting more followers, which most social pros consider a vanity metric, you’re putting less energy into something else. What else could you address in your social strategy that would either indirectly lead to more followers, or overall have the impact on your business that you desire?
By now, hopefully you aren’t just asking how do I get more followers? Instead, your question should sound more like this: How do I find 500 women, ages 35 – 50 who are interested in luxury travel to follow my social account in the next month, so that they will sign up for my luxury vacation travel deals newsletter before summertime?
Now, you have a SMART goal: a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, time-bound goal of finding followers (in other words, leads) who will likely enjoy your content and with whom you can start a meaningful relationship. With this target in mind, you will have a much better idea of where to find people who match this profile. And if you meet your goal, you will have 500 qualified followers, which in my mind, is better than acquiring even 10x as many unqualified followers.
So, Does It Matter How Many Followers You Have?
There are always going to be people who say growing your followers doesn’t matter, and people who say it does. Both camps have valid points. When I first started writing this, I wanted to present the argument for why it does NOT matter how many followers you have. But to say that it doesn’t matter and that it is just a vanity metric doesn’t tell the whole story. While I agree with Gary Vaynerchuk and many others that when it comes to your audience and to leads, it’s quality over quantity, that’s a lot easier to say when you’ve already amassed millions of followers and your engagement rate is through the roof.
But Gary V. didn’t get a ton of followers by spending all day dreaming up ways to get them. He creates valuable content that resonates with his audience, and his audience goes to work for him, spreading his messages even further. His 8 million followers (and counting) are an outcome. His goals were otherwise.
?TIP: When does increasing social follower count and growth rate actually matter?
➡️ If you or your company earn revenue based on your follower count, having a lot of followers actually matters. For example, if you’re a media company which relies on ad revenue, then more followers technically means more impressions, which technically means you can sell sponsored posts for more money.
So, for media companies, including individual influencers, having a lot of followers – and an even better engagement rate – can have a substantial impact on your business.
On the one hand, why bother amassing a following when your content isn’t even likely to continuously show up in someone’s feed? On the other hand, if you don’t even try, you’re guaranteed to fail.
So go ahead and put effort into finding more followers. But make sure you understand why. Make sure you document your strategy so you stay clear about your objectives and so it’s transparent to other involved team members. Clarify ideally who exactly is following your account, and re-evaluate this periodically as your business grows and changes.
What do YOU think? Please tell me in the comments below. I enjoy reading and responding! ??❤️?? (If you find typos or broken links, please let me know!)