What would 1,000 more followers on social media mean to you?
Gaining followers could establish you as a credible member of your brand’s field. Or, followers could translate to sales. There might be plenty of more benefits specific to your goals.
Not all followers are equal, though. The type of follower your brand should chase after is an organic follower who engages with your content. These followers are more likely to convert to a customer and attract even more followers.
How can you connect with organic followers and social media – and what should you avoid doing at all costs? The key is to use precision, and we’ve explained how below.
Followers on Social Media: The Basics
Social media accounts typically have a ‘follower count,’ or a number that indicates how many other accounts follow it. Within that follower count, there are two types of followers: artificial and organic.
Artificial followers are, essentially, fake: they often operate as bots, and are usually mass-produced for the purpose of inflating follower counts. Many social media users choose to ‘buy’ these followers for an instant follower count upgrade.
Organic followers, meanwhile, are real accounts operated by real people. They can have sincere interactions with you and become authentic supporters of your brand.
You won’t be able to tell what ratio of organic to artificial followers an account has by looking at their follower count – but the distinction still matters.
Fake Followers are Bad News – Here’s Why
It might be tempting to buy fake followers. Imagine how impressive your profile would look with a few thousand more followers – and all you’d have to do is make a quick transaction.
Unfortunately, fake followers aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Nothing worth having comes that easy – and fake followers come with a lot of hidden drawbacks that aren’t worth dealing with.
First, these followers can’t engage with your content. Sure, you’ll have a high follower account, but your posts won’t get more likes, shares, or comments – and you won’t gain more customers from having inactive bots filling up your follower count.
Second, social media accounts often crack down on fake followers. You may find a note about these in a social media site’s terms and conditions (we know what you’re thinking: people actually read the terms and conditions?!)
Usually, sites reserve the right to delete fake accounts, meaning all of your money would go down the drain. They may even penalize your account for having bought them.
Another thing worth considering is that the average social media user is getting smarter by the second. When your follower count is full of phony accounts, your real followers can probably tell. Having a high follower count and low engagement rate looks suspicious, and you run the risk of damaging your reputation by buying fakes – it looks as desperate as it is.
Beyond these issues, fake followers mess up your account insights. Social networks usually provide analytical data about your account and your posts. This data can help you determine what content connects with your audience – but fake followers throw these numbers off.
Target Your Way To an Organic Following
Organic followers are far more valuable to your brand – but also more challenging to win over than fake bots.
If you’re hoping to build a following of organic social media users, DON’T do this: aimlessly post content from time to time, hoping it will connect with users.
You won’t gain followers with a passive approach. You need to be ACTIVE – and that means you need to ‘target’ users who you think could turn into followers.
How, exactly, can you target users on social media? Read below for some of the best strategies around.
Find Your Niche, and Target Accordingly
There’s an expression in marketing that rings particularly true for gaining followers: “when you market to everyone, you market to no one.”
Let that sink in. If you market to everyone – or, if you try to appeal to everyone at once – you’ll likely connect with very few people. That’s because “marketing to everyone” usually means posting bland, generic content with no real identity.
It’s more likely that you’ll gain organic followers if you establish your target audience, and market directly to them. Consider what kind of person you would want to have as a follower, and what those people would want to see on their timeline – that’s what you should be posting.
You may also choose to target users that use hashtags that are relevant to your niche – this popular strategy is a modern classic.
Target By Engagement
The most plainly obvious way to target users is to interact with them directly – yet many brands choose not to do this! Don’t make the same mistake.
Like and comment on posts from users that match the profile of your ideal follower or customer. A simple interaction can be the beginning of a long-standing customer-brand relationship. Of course, it’s up to you to take the first step.
The Ultimate Hidden Method of Targeting
There’s one approach to targeting social media users that produces terrific results, but it hasn’t caught on throughout the entire digital marketing community yet. Take advantage of this tip now.
Target within the ‘likes’ of other posts.
What we’re suggesting is, find posts that are similar to yours, or posts that belong to an account that likely has a similar target audience. On many social networking sites, you can see a list of users that liked a post publicly. These are the users you want in your follower count – they actually engage with content!
You may choose to follow these users first, or comment on their posts – whatever works for you!
More Hot Tips for Gaining Organic Followers
Content Quality Matters
There’s one trap that many brands seem to fall into often: they treat content like an obligation rather than an opportunity.
With content, you get out of it what you put into it. If you make content with the mindset that it only exists to fill space on the web, your content will do just that – and only that.
If, instead, you make engaging content that urges users to connect with it, you’ll have a better shot of increasing engagement and gaining followers that interact with your content in the future.
The golden rule is: when making content, ask yourself, “what does my audience WANT and NEED to see?”
Optimize Your Profile
Did you know that SEO strategies can be applied to social media accounts?
It’s true. You can optimize your profiles to maximize engagement.
How? It’s easy to do, and takes little time. Fill out all possible boxes on your profile’s settings – this means having a brand name outside of your account’s username. Make sure your profile’s bio is simple and easy to understand, as users will be more likely to follow if they have a clear understanding of who or what they’re following.
Check Your Insights Regularly
Most social media sites offer analytical tools for marketers. On many platforms, these are called ‘insights.’
Check these regularly. You’ll learn more about the audience you’re targeting, as well as how your content is performing. Whether you’re doing the right or wrong things to gain organic followers, insights offer plenty of hints.
We’ve shared plenty of effective targeting strategies that can land you more organic followers. The great thing about these strategies is that there is no ‘passing’ or ‘failing.’ You can always adjust and add to your growth campaign.