Want to know how to grow a social media following for your business?
I mean, who doesn’t right?
When you’re first starting out, there’s NOTHING more frustrating than watching that little page like/follower number on your business’ Facebook or Instagram account refuse to budge… regardless of how much you stare at it!
I know we’re not supposed to focus on the numbers.
Hell, I even wrote an article telling you exactly that.
Why? Because there’s TONS of BIG accounts with bought followers, or people who have followed just to win some competition, or ‘like ladder’ followers that never engage, or.. the list goes on.
These accounts have high numbers of the WRONG type of followers – ones that will never actually do business with them. In which case, what’s the point? And if that’s your focus, you’re doing it wrong.
Growing a big social media following of the RIGHT people, though – aka, the ones that are potential customers and that will one day do business with you – is a really smart move.
More of the RIGHT followers equals more people that will potentially one day do business with you. That’s just basic maths.
It’s also a bit of a unicorn, right?
So, how on earth do you do it?
Well, you’re in luck, because that’s what I’m about to tell you.
Every couple of months I document the growth in my social media following honestly and transparently via social media growth reports.
And this month, it’s a special edition because I’ve hit 3000 on Instagram and YES – they’re ALL THE RIGHT KIND OF FOLLOWERS!
So to celebrate, I’m going to show you step-by-step every single thing that I did to get there.
Let’s kick off with Facebook.
Here’s a summary of my growth each month for the past three months.
** December isn’t over yet so I will update this post and include December statistics in early Jan**
So, can we just start by addressing the big stand out point here.
I GAINED ALMOST 1000 NEW LIKES IN ONE DAY IN NOVEMBER.
Errrrmmmm… yep. That happened.
It pretty much overshadows October’s 118 new page likes even though that’s not exactly to be sneezed at either!
So, how did it happen?
Do you want the secret?
Well, HERE’S WHAT YOU SHOULD DO BECAUSE IT’S WHAT WORKED FOR ME.
PREPARE SOMETHING REALLY, REALLY VALUABLE. LIKE, SO VALUABLE THAT YOU CAN’T QUITE BELIEVE THAT YOU’RE ACTUALLY GIVING IT AWAY FOR FREE.
In my case, I had painstakingly put together a REALLY DETAILED 20 page eBook with over 100 social media tips in it.
This wasn’t one of those eBooks with about 5 lines of writing on every page.
This was COMPREHENSIVE.
And in fact, I had intended to put it up for sale on my website.
But first, I wanted to give it to a select few for feedback.
Now, here’s the second thing you should do.
2. POST THE REALLY, REALLY VALUABLE THING IN YOUR FAVOURITE FACEBOOK GROUP AND TELL PEOPLE THEY CAN HAVE IT FOR FREE IF THEY LIKE YOUR SOCIAL CHANNELS.
Okay, so this is THE COMPLETELY OPPOSITE OF A LIKE LADDER or another one of those kinda annoying Facebook group social media thingies that go on.
(Side note: I join in on like ladders in Facebook groups because I work in social media, and the people posting on them clearly need social media help and want to know how to grow their social media following and therefore are my ideal client! I wouldn’t recommend it for any other business though, unless you know they’re your target audience).
Instead, it’s the ultimate value exchange.
You give away something awesome, in exchange for something awesome back – aka a like on your page to grow your social media following! 😉
People were happy to like my socials in exchange for a detailed and value packed eBook, and the freebie fits in perfectly with what I actually do for a living which meant that the people who did like my page to get it were 100% my target audience.
And that’s how to grow your social media following by close to 1K in a DAY.
Win, win. WIN.
Another side note: I never ended up selling the eBook. It’s too valuable as a means of growing my social media and email numbers and that is what I continue to use it for.
Anyway, so now we’ve addressed THAT, let’s dive into the other key Facebook takeaways from the past couple of months:
- Consistent growth:
Aside from the crazy growth on that one day in November, my regular page like growth was consistent – and it also consistently exceeded the weekly growth targets in my social media strategy.Honestly, this was a result of word of mouth.More people are starting to refer my blog onto others, and it’s having the happy side of effect of more people discovering and liking my page.
2. Collaborations:I guest posted on three different sites in October, and each time new followers would trickle through and discover the Stevie Says Social Facebook page.
Here’s one I featured on for Owners Collective:
And one with OrigamiGlobe:
And one with the Two Girls and Laptop gals:
The key here?
Collab with people in similar but non-competing industries. It’s a great way to get exposure people in your target demographic that might not know about you just yet!
3. Random viral posts
I spend SO MUCH TIME painstakingly putting together posts and articles to grow my reach and my business, and a lot of the time they do really well.
Do you know what’s funny, though?
This QUICK link share performed better than anything else I’ve created, with crazy reach and engagement. Sigh… ha!
You could say people thought it was.. finger lickin’ good
(AHA HAHA. I crack myself up. And also don’t blame you if you stop reading right now on the grounds of extremely bad jokes).
4. Quality content
The highest performing posts for me overall are the ones where I put together quality blog posts and then link through to them on Facebook.
See the two posts with the most engagement below?
They’re the blog posts I’ve created and shared.
Sure, they’re time consuming to put together, but they are ultimately what people want.
And rather than spending time scrolling through Facebook wondering why your social media following isn’t growing, isn’t it better to knuckle down for a couple of hours and bang out a post on a topic that people are genuinely interested in knowing more about?
Do the work and share your knowledge!
And don’t be scared that you’re giving your best stuff away for free.
It only serves to build your authority, and show that you are someone that knows what they’re talking about.
Which ultimately means more people interested in hearing it (aka more followers) and even more importantly, more people will want to do business with you and have you implement the stuff you’ve talked about for THEM!
THINGS TO WORK ON:
I know, you know it, we all know it.
Video is so important and is really where Facebook’s focus is. Only, the volume of video content on my page is limited.
I know from my stats that the video content that I DO post gets far (like, significantly) better reach than non video content.
And yet, I still don’t do it enough.
That needs to change in 2018 if I want to achieve the organic reach I need to continue to grow my social media following.
Watch this space!
I don’t post enough on Facebook.
I need to be consistently posting at least once a day.
I seem to easily manage it on Instagram, and that’s because the engagement is so great and it just feels so nice to get that immediate interaction.
It’s where the CONVERSIONS are, and it’s SO SO SO important that I build it as I move into 2018 with big plans for my business.
So yeah, more content and video content in particular on Facey in the new year.
I recommend that you do the same if you want to grow your social media following in 2018.
Hot tip? I’m gonna be BATCHING my posts – so trying to do a week or a fortnights worth of content in one go so I’m not constantly worrying about it.
** December isn’t over yet so I will update this post and include December statistics in early Jan.. but it’s at 3010 for likes presently. **
I’ve gotta say, I was pretty stoked when I reached 2000 Instagram followers in mid-November.
I watched my numbers hover for a little while and then.. bam.. I was over 2000.
And THEN, thanks to the eBook/Facebook Group thing about, I grew my social media following by another 1000 in about 24 hours.
Didn’t see THAT coming.
The best bit was logging on and constantly seeing the little red Instagram updates (um, how good does that Moet cabinet look too, by the way!)
Yes, that’s vacuous and I don’t mind admitting it – ha ha!
That aside, the biggest win for me came from hosting a free Instagram Challenge to coincide with the official launch of my business (which I will be documenting separately in an upcoming post).
The objective was to run a 5 day free course to warm people up and get them to book my services.
Which they DID – but again, that’s a story for another post.
If you’re a social media person and want to know how to grow your social media following in the quickest, most effective way though – run a challenge. I had three hundred people in the challenge, around 150 of whom were not previously followers until they signed up.
Those two BIG highlights aside, here’s a round up of the positives from the past few months and the things to improve upon.
- Creating connection grew my following
Here’s a screenshot of my five most liked and commented on posts between October and December.
And because my content is in the captions, here are screenshots of some of the captions that made up my most liked posts.
The common theme?
ALL bar one (which I didn’t include) were posts which were designed to create connection with my audience.
They were personal posts, or posts where I shared and celebrated wins.
As a service provider, that’s why I think it’s so important to share the personal stuff.
It’s what makes you YOU, and it gives your followers an opportunity to get to know you and like you.
You can bang on about your services until the cows come home, but you’re not going to grow your social media following unless people have an opportunity to connect with you.
So, in every nine posts on Instagram, I make sure three are personal enough to create connection.
2. Invite people to do something
Did you notice the most commented on post?
It’s a post where I EXPRESSLY ASKED PEOPLE TO COMMENT.
If you want to know how to grow your social media following and you’re tearing your hair out because nothing is working, think about ASKING people to engage with your page.
I simply asked people to tag their fave small business account, and because there was something in it for them (they got to promote an account and potentially give a mate a few more followers) it went gangbusters.
It’s a tactic I would highly recommend.
But remember – people won’t do it if there isn’t anything in it for THEM.
THINGS TO WORK ON.
I know how to grow my social media following MORE. Literally, know it.
And it’s guaranteed.
And yet, I’m not doing it.
What is it?
SOCIALISING WITH OTHER INSTAGRAM ACCOUNTS.
And, by that I mean strategically connecting with the right people and following them, liking their stuff and getting them to see that I exist and that I’m an account that they should follow!
Doing this for 15 minutes twice a day would have significantly grown my account.
I spend enough time on my phone as it is, and it really hasn’t been a priority for me.
And so, I haven’t done it.
I reply to all comments and I’m a good human that way, but proactively reaching out?
It hasn’t happened.
So, email isn’t technically social media but I wanted to include it.
Because, ultimately, social media is a conversation starter, not a deal closer.
The objective of social media is to get people to know, to like you and to trust you enough to want to one day do business with you.
It’s where the relationship with your future clients STARTS.
You produce great content, and if they like what they see they’ll give your socials a ‘like’ or a follow to continue to see more.
In marketing speak, that’s the TOP of your funnel.
Here’s a diagram to show you what I mean.
After they’ve liked your page though, your next job is to get them OFF social media and into a platform that you own – ie your website – so that you can further develop the relationship.
This is the middle of the funnel.
You do this by giving them a reason to do so.
Writing blog posts and linking through to your website from your socials is one way to do this (hint hint – that’s exactly what I do with articles just like these!)
Then, once they’re on your website, you should be trying to move the relationship further along again, by getting them off your website and into their inbox – which is the most intimate of all.
It is the bottom of the sales funnel, where you convert your prospects.
Email is proven to convert prospects into sales far more than social media ever will.
And, with the launch of my business and given that I have now reached my initial social media goals of 2000 followers on both platforms by December, converting them into clients and customers is exactly what I wanted!
So, growing my email list has been a priority.
And I’m SO happy to report that it’s now at 3000! Whoo hoo.
So, how did I do it? Well, two things.
- I optimised my website for email sign ups.
When you first land on my website, the first thing you see is this:
There’s TWO invitations to join my free Instagram course.
Both require an email address, and it’s this that has grown my list more than anything else.
I also installed a pop up offering people a DIFFERENT freebie – my eBook, which I decided NOT to sell in the end and to continue to use as a way to grow my social media following and my email list.
- I moved from MailChimp to ConvertKit.
ConvertKit is costing me $63 per month Australian, so my decision to move over from my $20 a month Mailchimp account isn’t one that I made lightly.
But, when I decided to go all in with my email list, I wanted to make sure that I was set up properly from the very start.
And for me, that meant moving over to ConvertKit.
The biggest benefit of ConvertKit for me is the ability to segment. Whereas Mailchimp is a ‘list centric’ system, ConvertKit is subscriber centric.
WTF does that mean, I hear you ask?
Well, it allows me to separate my subscribers and segment them easily into different lists depending on their interests.
Because my articles cover three things – social media, business and personal development/life posts – I wanted to make sure that subscribers only receive the content that they are interested in.
In the end, that means less unsubscribes and better open rates.
It also means that in the long run it end up being cheaper than MailChimp, because with MailChimp you pay based on lists, not subscribers.
So if I had the one subscriber in three lists so I could split my three post topics up, I would be paying three times.
With ConvertKit, I pay per subscriber.
The other benefit of ConvertKit is improved deliverability.
Because the email are text based, they are delivered into more inboxes and the open rates are better too.
So, that’s the update for the past few months.
I thought I would finish up by imparting to you my top five learnings around how to build a social media following, based on my own experiences in reaching 3000 (on every platform except Facebook – help a sister OUT!)
If you’re just starting out and wanting to know how to grow, THIS is what I would suggest are the three most important things to implement, like, yesterday.
1. COLLABORATE AND GUEST POST.
This is one that applies not just in relation to how to grow a social media following but also how to grow exposure for your business more generally.
Find similar but non competing businesses and/or publications, and do whatever you can to be featured on them!
Then (if your goal is to grow your social media following), include a call to action on the post/interview for readers/listeners/viewers to like one of your social media channels.
The more of this you do, the more that you will notice that your following will begin to organically grow as audiences of people that didn’t previously know about start to find out that you exist.
And, if they hit your page and like what they see, they’re gonna follow you!
I’ve done this with a heap of publications – Business Chicks, SmartCompany and Social Media Examiner to name a few – and the cumulative effects are starting to show.
2. CONTENT MARKETING
Create amazing content.
Think of social media likes and follows as a value exchange. People aren’t gonna give you a like if you aren’t giving them something damn good in return.
For me, it was an eBook – but not just any eBook.
This was one so good I was originally gonna sell it, and it took me a good solid week of work to get done.
Once you have your amazing thing, promote the hell out of it and offer it FREE in exchange for a follow or a like.
Yes, it’s hard to do. No, you can’t cut corners and dodgy up a one page ‘5 things you need to know’ style freebie. The whole point is that the content needs to be EPIC.
But if you’re willing to do the work, it’s one of the very best ways to grow.
3. Have a strategy
I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again.
Crossing your fingers is not a social media strategy.
To learn how to grow your social media following, you’ve gotta first learn how to put together a killer social media strategy.
Because, if you don’t know where you’re going, you’re never gonna get there.
My goals were very well documented when I started out – to grow my social media following to 2000 on Instagram and Facebook by December 31 2017.
I checked back in every week to make sure that I was on track (and I used this series of blog posts to make sure that I actually did it!)
And guess what?
I smashed it out of the ballpark.
If that’s not proof that a social media strategy works, I don’t know what is.
And so there you have it.
That’s how I grew my social media following on Instagram to 3000+ and how I reached 3000+ email subscribers.
Did you find this valuable?
If so, for the love of all things holy – please like my goddamn Facebook page.