Social media marketing is currently the fastest growing segment of marketing in the world. Estimated to reach $20 billion in total market value in the near future, businesses large and small are looking to capitalize on the ever-growing social media user-base. Since not everybody has the budget to pay a service like Social Media Pros to run their social media marketing, many businesses and individuals need to understand how to execute a bootstrapped, do it yourself social media marketing campaign.
This article will discuss the following related to social media marketing:
- How to get more social media followers by:
- Creating engaging content.
- Targeting potential followers.
- Interacting with potential followers.
- Do it yourself social media marketing best practices.
While standard marketing techniques have been deigned to try and help buyers find product or service providers, social media marketing helps businesses target and connect with potential buyers. This shift toward targeted marketing is huge for many reasons – the primary one being that, for every dollar spent, you are more likely to connect with someone who actually wants what you have to offer. This paradigm shift in marketing has driven many companies of all sizes into the social media marketing world. Despite the potential fruits of successful social media marketing, it is quite easy to get lost in the mix and never have your profiles seen. To ensure that you get seen by the right eyes, you need to find the social media users who have interest in what you have to offer.
How do I get more social media followers?
Gaining new followers with a do it yourself social media marketing approach is a combination of the following factors:
- Creating engaging social media content
- Finding your target audience on social media and interacting with them
- Continuing to post high quality content and interact with other users
I know a lot of people who have spent money on products and services that are built to build your following, only to be disappointed by a strikingly low success rate. Why? Content (or lack thereof).
1. Create engaging content.
Content is king in the social media marketing world. This should be obvious – why would you follow someone who has no quality content? Quality content is niche dependent, meaning that high quality content for one niche is not indicative of what will be deemed quality elsewhere. World Star’s niche will consider content to be quality if it includes booty shaking and people getting hurt doing stupid stuff, while your knitting niche might not. As such, you should have some idea of what types of content people in your niche engage with. As an example, let’s use my profile ATHLETE.X, which is focused on sprint training, speed training, and other workout related topics.
This account went from 0 followers and views to 22k followers and 100k weekly impressions over the past year, all thanks to quality content. I created a lot of free content that was engaging enough for people to want more. If people want more, they will come back for it if it is cheap (read free) and easy. By easy, I mean easy to identify as something of interest, easy to access, and easy to understand. This concept of cheap and easy is applicable to social media marketing, as well as the marketing of your paid products or services.
Content creation framework.
Say you make informative posts on a particular subject. If so, you should follow this basic framework:
- Interesting visual content (picture, video, infographic) which is directly related to your caption (written content)
- Caption intro which gets the gist of your caption across in an easy to read and comprehend sentence or two
- A detailed caption which is broken into digestible chunks of information
By following this framework, you can ensure that:
- People will be interested in your post before they read anything, because the image or video is visually engaging
- People will have an idea of what your posts is about without having to read your full caption
- People will want to read the full caption, and will be able to take in the info because it is broken down into nice little chunks
Stick to this framework when you post, and I guarantee you will see an immediate increase in engagement from your do it yourself social media marketing campaign. In the event that you are having trouble designing and editing your images, check out Canva or Fotor for some simple platforms which allow you to produce and edit engaging images for your social media accounts, website, or whatever you want. These help a lot with do it yourself social media marketing.
2. Find influencers and potential followers.
Now that you’ve got your content production on point, you need to find people who want to see your stuff! Great content is no fun if nobody is looking at it. To find potential followers, you need to first identify the influencers in your niche. In case this term is new to you, an influencer is someone with a large following who people go to for the content in a given niche.
To find influencers, the best place to start would be with some hashtag research. On Instagram for example, you can search hashtags and see a grouping of the most popular posts for that hashtag, as well as a list of recent posts with that tag. In the case of @athlete.x, I would look for hashtags like:
- #sprinttraining, #speedtraining, #strengthtraining
- #trackandfield, #tracknation, #accelerationation
- #strengthtraining, #olympiclifting, #plyometrics
From there, I would go ahead and look at the most popular posts which are listed at the top, and take a look at the profiles who posted them. After some poking around, it would become apparent whether or not their content is relevant to yours. If it is, take note of their username in a text or excel document. You’ll want to do this for the top accounts in your top 10 hashtags, allowing you to generate a nice list of influencers for your given niche.
From this list of influencers, you can then go on to see which followers are most engaged with their content. Looking at their posts, you can see who has been commenting or liking their posts. Since there are way more people liking posts than commenting on them, start with the commenters. Looking at the people making comments on a given influencer’s social media accounts, you can start to build a list of potential followers who might be interested in what you have to offer. In making your list of potential followers to target, be sure to skip people who make generic or single-character comments, as these are often automated comments from people who don’t actually care about your account or anything you’re going to post.
Once you have your list of potential followers who you intend to target, then it is time to move onto the next stage of your do it yourself social media marketing campaign – interacting with potential followers. For extra help on finding influencers, check out a free trial of Iconosquare.
3. Interacting with potential social media followers.
Now before you go blasting everyone with “COME CHECK OUT MY PROFILE,” think about a few factors:
- It is easy to sniff out disingenuous people
- It is annoying to receive spam comments
- It is counterproductive to your account if your interactions with people fall into the above two bullet points
So, what to do? Be genuine! If you are going to like pictures, like the pictures that a potential follower has which you actually think is cool. If you are commenting, make a comment which is relevant to the profile and isn’t simply a sales pitch. If you are following people in hopes of them following you back, don’t spitefully unfollow them the next day in the event that they haven’t returned the favor. Not everybody is active on a daily basis on social media, and as such it may take some time to get a response.
If you do want to pitch sales in your comments, be sly and courteous with it. If someone posted a video about block starts, I might refer them to one of my posts for tips on improving their block starts. If someone is making cookies and you put out recipes, you might post on some cookie posts with something like,
“Wow those look delicious! I’d like to try making these. Check out my cookie recipes for some other fun ideas.”
Yeah its a pitch, but at least it is relevant, courteous, and unobtrusive. While we don’t ever want to be annoying with our interactions, we still need to interact with people and try to drive views to our profiles. As such, some soft selling will be needed to get the ball rolling, and to get people to look at your page.
Over time, if you continue to post quality content and engage with users, people will start to follow your accounts. If you’re
lucky doing a good job, people will share your posts and tag friends, growing your following for you. Once you get to this point, you will see accelerated growth as people tend to like what their friends like, and will follow the people their friends are following.
4. Best practices when using social media.
Wrapping things up, there is some level of etiquette you need to exhibit to ensure that you are not being an annoying spammer who nobody wants to follow. Here are some best practices when implementing a do it yourself social media marketing campaign:
- Post content your followers want to see, not what you want your followers to see
- If selling, keep the ratio to at least 80% non-sales posts and 20% sales posts
- Provide information that is useful and interesting, free of charge
- Be a human – respond to comments, messages, and thank people when they share your post
- Do not blast people with generic comments
- Do not blast people with blatant sales pitches
- Do not follow and unfollow people with a short turnaround time
- Do not make posts which are solely focused on selling
While you can go out and spend thousands of dollars to get your profiles started, I suggest you try a do it yourself social media marketing campaign before paying for any products or services. By creating high quality content, you can attract people to your profile. By targeting and interacting with potential followers, you can increase your follower count and get your content seen by interested people from around the world. By following social media best practices, you can avoid being the annoying spammer that nobody wants to follow.
Remember that, on the internet, you and your reputation never die. Focus on slower, higher quality growth, and you can build a long term following which will help support your goals and passions for years to come. Ditch the idea that there is any quick scheme to building a high quality following, and instead spend your time and energy building social media quality content, interacting with people who are likely interested in what you have to offer, and operating in a respectful and respectable fashion. If you do all of this and stick with it, you will eventually have the following you want and deserve.