Did you know that a third of all the time spent on the internet is spent consuming social media?
Your business needs to be active on social media because that’s where your customers are focusing their attention.
The larger your social media audience is, the more potential customers you can reach. With exposure to engaging content and other marketing efforts, your social media followers could become your customers.
Read on to learn how to organically grow your social media following with these methods:
- Working with other brands
- Growth hacking
- Getting your followers to do the work for you
- Connecting in real life
- Working with influencers
- Using hashtags
- Cross-promoting your social channels
- Developing a timely posting schedule
Organic vs. Paid Social Media
To most people, the term “organic” means food that is raised or grown without chemical or pesticides. To marketers, however, organic means something completely different.
What Is Organic Social Media?
Organic means free in the world of social media marketing. By “free,” we mean social media marketing efforts that don’t involve spending money on advertisements. Organic social media marketing leverage strategies like using hashtags or working with influencers to promote a brand.
But just because organic engagement is not something you have to pay for to take advantage of, you’ll still be “paying” for it in terms of time. Specifically, your time or the time of a social media professional that you hire to do it on your behalf.
Using organic growth strategies is the most effective and affordable way to gain followers on social media who will be interested in your products and services.
What Is Paid Social Media?
Paid social media means paying for advertising campaigns on social networks to achieve marketing goals like gaining followers or increasing post reach. Unlike organic social media, which requires an investment of time, paid social media requires investments of time and money.
Social media advertising can be an effective way to grow your online audience if you know what you’re doing and if you have a large enough budget to see a return on your investment. If you’re bootstrapping your business, you may not want to spend precious resources on advertising.
Another paid method for growing your social media following is buying followers. While this strategy can get you thousands of new followers, these “followers” are just fake accounts that inflate vanity metrics in a way that’s obvious to the trained eye. Fake people can’t engage with your content or become customers.
How to Organically Grow Your Social Media Following: 8 Strategies
Here are several tried and true strategies for mastering how to organically grow your social media following.
1. Partner With Other Business to Reach New Followers
Collaborate with another complementary business on a social media campaign. Create posts together and share them during the campaign period.
In order for this partnership to be a success, both businesses need to tag each other in these posts. This helps each business reach new, related audiences. Ideally, the business you collaborate with has an audience that is similar to yours.
2. Follow Your Competitors’ Followers to Grow Your Audience
Want to learn how to organically grow your social media following? Following the followers of your competitors is one of the best tricks in the growth hacking playbook. This method works best on Instagram and Twitter.
Here’s how to do it effectively:
1. Identify your competitors.
2. Go to their Instagram or Twitter accounts.
3. Click Followers to see a list of their followers.
4. Follow the accounts that look like real people (a photo of a person rather than a logo or default image is a dead giveaway!).
These people will be notified that they have a new follower. They may be intrigued to check out your profile and follow your business because your profile shows that your business is similar to something that they’re already interested in.
Let’s say you’re the social media manager for a new fast-food franchise concept. Although you should certainly focus on competitors that represent many different business sizes, you might start your competitor research with one of the top players in the space — McDonald’s:
3. Reach New People by Asking Followers to Tag Their Friends
Encourage your followers to tag their friends in your post comments. Chances are that your followers are friends with people who share their interests. Therefore, your followers’ friends will be more likely than completely random people to be interested in following your brand.
Offering an incentive is a good way to encourage your followers to engage their friends in your social media posts. Host a giveaway, create a contest, or offer a coupon code to people who tag friends in your posts.
4. Encourage Customers to Follow You Offline
One of the best tricks for how to organically grow your social media following is thinking about how to get offline customers to engage with your business online. Encourage people to follow your brand on social media when they interact with your business in real life.
If you have a brick and mortar business, put signs up around your store to tell customers about your social media presence.
If you have a direct-to-consumer business, include cards in each shipment that tell customers to follow you on social media. You can even include a call to action to encourage customers to share a picture of their purchase on social media, tag your company, and use your hashtag.
5. Work With Influencers to Grow Your Audience
Influencers have large social media followers and are often happy to tell their followers about brands in exchange for free products. How can you collaborate with influencers?
Identify influencers who may be interested in your products. Reach out and ask if they’d like to work with you. Explain what you’d offer them in return for promotion.
See how many new followers you get after your influencer collaboration to determine whether or not you should work with that influencer again.
6. Use Relevant Hashtags to Expand Your Reach
Hashtags help you grow your audience by linking your posts to trending topics. Most social media networks highlight trending hashtags and let you see other posts that use those hashtags. When you use a hashtag that is trending, people who are not yet your followers, but who are interested in the trending topic that you are posting about, will discover your posts.
A 2017 experiment by Agorapulse found that Instagram posts that used hashtags had 70% more likes and 392% more comments than posts that didn’t use hashtags.
Stay true to your brand when using hashtags. Don’t post about something that’s trending if you wouldn’t normally talk about that topic.
7. Cross-Promote Your Social Channels to Gain Followers
Someone who follows you on Instagram may not know that you’re also active on Facebook. Let followers know about your other social media channels.
Share information about your other social media accounts in the “About” section of your Facebook page, in your Twitter bio, and in your Instagram bio.
Include calls to action in posts to ask followers to connect with you on other platforms.
8. Develop a Timely Posting Schedule
Amassing a social media following is crucial to running a successful business because it exposes more people to your products and services. Growing an online audience doesn’t have to be expensive. There are many tactics that you can use to boost your audience without spending money on advertising or fake followers.
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