In our noisy, fast-paced, digital world, social media is the megaphone that amplifies everything.
Good thing, too, because today, brands are struggling to gain followers who respond to their content and offers.Think about it, hundreds of thousands of new business start up each month, and nearly all of them are trying to carve their own social presences. And even if only a few are in your specific market, you’ve still got A LOT to compete against.
But having a successful social media strategy can mean the difference between your business succeeding or not.
With a strong social media presence, you’ve got a warm audience that’s primed to click.
So it makes sense that one of the most important parts of your organic social media strategy is building and nurturing your social following (after all, if nobody knows who you are, then nobody will buy from you).
How do you do that? Here are 9 ways to boost your social media following fast—and grow your business while you’re at it.
1. Be Human
I’m not just talking about passing those “I am not a robot” tests.
Social media is about human connection.
It’s where people go when they’re lonely or bored—to find encouragement, inspiration, or a good laugh. Which is why you need a social strategy that’s more human than corporate.
And yes, that’s important even if you’re a B2B business. Businesses are run by people, after all.
Being human is about being real. It’s about being personal. It’s about engaging with your followers as people rather than targets for your next campaign.
Take Red Bull, for example. They don’t talk much about their energy drinks, but they don’t have to. By telling stories about their partner athletes, their message comes across loud and clear: Red Bull will help you do the incredible things other people only dream about.
Check out any of their content, and you’ll see real people having adventures, experiencing life, and overcoming the odds. Their energy drink is almost an after-thought. But dang… don’t you want one?
Red Bull’s YouTube channel motivates, inspires, and entertains by showing you what real people are doing.
TIP: Find creative ways to promote people on your social media accounts—both the people behind your brand and those who use your products.
2. Stop Being So Perfect
Ryan Deiss recently posted on LinkedIn, “Don’t deny your failures, don’t spin them; linger in them and learn from them.”
Most people don’t care if you make a mistake. They do care about how you respond to those mistakes. Do you try to pretend they didn’t happen, or do you own them?
KFC decided to own their mistake. In early 2018, a new delivery provider didn’t do their job, leaving hundreds of UK locations short on their primary offer: chicken. There was nothing they could do to fix the situation and all of the restaurants were forced to shut down for a few days.
Pretty embarrassing, right?
Fans were livid. Competitors were laughing. And some jumped on the opportunity to win over unhappy KFC customers.
In response, KFC ran a full-page ad, apologizing for the mistake by rearranging the letters of their name—probably expressing everyone’s feelings to a tee.
KFC ran a full-page ad in The Sun and Metro acknowledging their mistake.
This is a great example of not being perfect… and running with it. KFC proved they have a sense of humor and a willingness to acknowledge everything they do, the good, bad, and the ugly.
TIP: You will mess up. Royally, at times. When it happens, you will help boost your social media following if you call it as it is: You screwed up. You failed. You’re sorry. Then wipe up the mess and move on—most likely with fans who admire your honesty.
3. Share Better Content
The winners in social media marketing aren’t just scheduling posts and curating information. They’re sharing professional-quality content developed specifically to boost social media.
This content is funny, fascinating, and emotionally charged. It leaves people wanting more, not scrolling faster to avoid “branded” content—because let’s be honest, it’s more interesting than the political posts their friends are sharing.
The key is understanding “better.”
“Better” content is designed for the channel where it’s posted. But regardless of the format—text, graphics, or videos—it aims for quality over quantity. It’s personal and unique. It’s social.
Take White House Black Market. Their Facebook page is as simple and stylish as the boutique.
Instead of one picture of this season’s dress, it gives you a montage of the dress, letting you see it in several settings.
And when appropriate, it mentions a current event. As it does here, paying tribute to a fashion icon.
The point is to be intentional—engaging with and entertaining your fans, so they eagerly come back for more.
TIP: To create better content, make sure it “looks” like your brand. Use the highest quality imagery and your best writing. Create campaigns where a series of posts all follow the same theme.
4. Use Live Videos
One of the best things about social media is its immediacy. If something’s on your mind, you can share it right here and now using live videos.
Done right, this can have a huge impact on your brand, attracting new fans and cementing your relationship with existing ones.
Chris Brogan is the perfect example of this. He’s a master of using media and community to attract customers.
Chris’s Facebook Lives range from 53 seconds to 8 minutes, but most are in the 2-minute range. Some are recorded on his phone as he takes out the trash. Others are done at his desk. All of them have profoundly helpful tips for his fans.
TIP: Think of your live videos as a channel within a channel. Create a show with a specific value offer—like 3-minute tips to solve your audience’s biggest problems. The key is to be in-the-moment and share something valuable.
5. Do Something Worth Talking About
Going viral can be good or bad. United Airlines lost customers when the “United Breaks Guitars” video went live. But if you’re smart and creative, you can get people talking in a way that’s good for your public perception—and hopefully for sales too.
Dove’s Real Beauty campaign is an example of an emotionally charged social media campaign that got people talking about body shame and beauty.
You can also do something silly to get people talking. KFC created a Colonel Sanders cat climber and aired 4 hours of livestreamed cat action.
The key is to understand your audience. You can aim for tears or laughs or both—as long as you’re relevant.
TIP: To create a unique campaign for your brand, think of the #1 expectation people have of your brand. It might be entertainment, beauty, health, profits… or something else entirely. Once you’ve identified that quality, think of a message or event you could put together to get people’s attention. Make sure it’s shareworthy and gets people talking.
And remember, a viral campaign may repel as many people as it attracts. But that’s okay. Your biggest fans will find you. Think Nike’s “Believe in Something” campaign with Colin Kaepernick.
6. Do a Giveaway
Giveaways are an easy way to get people’s attention. You can give away:
- Tickets to an event
- Product bundles
- Gift cards
- Or anything else you know your fans would love
You can ask for entries to sign up, have your followers share a hashtag, leave a comment on a blog post, or send you an email. Whatever helps you reach your goals and grow your social strategy.
And you don’t even have to have the details figured out before you run with it. This giveaway by Bert’s Barracuda Harley-Davidson is a great example of that:
The key is to design your campaign to achieve a specific business goal.
TIP: Identify your goal for the giveaway, then decide what you can give away. Consider using an app like KingSumo to run the campaign. Then reward entrants for sharing the giveaway so you get as much reach as possible.
7. Offer Free 1-on-1s
Free consultations could qualify as a giveaway, but they’re unique enough to warrant a separate discussion.
While giveaways work well as lead-generation campaigns by bringing new prospects into your funnels, free consultations help you move prospects further along their Customer Journey—often leading to conversions.
Consider offering an audit or a chat about your follower’s #1 challenge. You can take unlimited responses (especially if you have a team to do the calls), or you could limit it to the first 20 responders.
Then ask people to do something to qualify—like sharing a post on their social media, promoting your brand with a unique hashtag, or answering a question.
People perceive an expert’s time and advice as more valuable than a high-ticket product. So simply offering your time can build a huge social following fast—especially if you build in a reward for sharing the offer like you would with a classic giveaway.
TIP: Be sure to ask winners to post a “thank you” in social media, telling their followers what they learned from you.
8. Do Q&As
If you’ve got a well-engaged community, consider doing regular Q&A sessions.
You can offer “office hours,” a specific time set aside each week for people to write in their questions. Or you can ask people to submit their questions when you announce an upcoming Q&A session.
Regardless of how you structure them, Q&As can build your community, boost engagement, and quickly establish you as a thought leader.
This live stream with Steady Horse’s Noah Tillman-Young is a good example.
TIP: In addition to asking your fans for their questions, brainstorm your own list. That way, if you don’t have a lot of participation, you can keep the Q&A going between live questions.
9. Ask Their Opinion
You don’t always have to answer questions to build a strong community. You can ask questions instead.
No one does this better than copywriter Bob Bly. Every day, he shares something he’s seen, read, or thought. Sometimes he shares his own opinion, but he almost always asks for yours.
With this approach, Bob’s Facebook profile has essentially become a daily newsletter. It’s also grown his following faster than average—from zero to 5,000 in just a few short years.
Here’s a typical query:
He may also ask for input, as he does here:
TIP: As you read your emails and browse the web each day, look for interesting factoids that are worth sharing. Then follow up by asking your followers what they think, what their experience has been, or how they’d respond.
Being social isn’t an afterthought. It’s how you attract and engage with your best customers. So it pays to have a strategy for attracting new fans and building engagement.