Gaining followers takes patience and a lot of work. Of course, you can pay for them through giveaways and other online marketing tactics, but there are consequences — such as lack of engagement. I have seen it myself whenever I host a giveaway on Facebook to gain a couple of followers. Numbers are nice, but I rather have 10 people on my Facebook who interact with my posts than 10 million who are just there.
During a recent HubSpot webcast, two of my favorite social media gurus — Guy Kawasaki and Peg Fitzpatrick — shared their thoughts on how to gain a large following. Brace yourself, it takes hard work and dedication and a lot of experimenting.
“There are two types of people on social media,” explained Kawasaki. “Those that want followers and those that are lying.”
For those interested in an honest way to gaining a following, both Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick suggest these 10 steps:
Be valuable. Kawasaki discussed the importance of providing tweets or information that assists or entertains your audience. “Try the re-share test,” he said. “That means, ask yourself if the people who see [these tweets] are willing to share it. Re-sharing someone else’s post if the ultimate form of flattering.”
Social media users should “embrace the NPR model,” according to Kawasaki. Which means to “earn the right to use social media as a marketing platform.”
Be clever. For Fitzpatrick, this means to find valuable content online, share what is already trending on social media and curate that information. “Use lists on Twitter, circles on Google+ and other online communities,” suggested Fitzpatrick. “It is a great way to connect with people you genuinely want to keep up with.”
If you could do one good blog post a week, I think you’re doing quite well – Guy Kawasaki
Be gracious. Whenever you share someone else’s content online it is important to acknowledge where it was found. This shows you are not only accrediting the source, but also giving the other person the opportunity to shine as well. Remember, we rise by lifting others.
Be organized. Having the proper tool is critical to your success. “If you are curating good content, you want to schedule posts to go out throughout the day,” said Fitzpatrick. Scheduling tools such as Buffer and Hootsuite are great if you are looking to use free versions. These companies also offer paid versions. Free free to check out these options on Buffer and Hootsuite.
Be dramatic. Give life to your social media websites by adding visuals to each post, adding text on top of visuals and adding user-generated content. According to Fitzpatrick, “being dramatic gets more interaction, so take the time to use the best photos.”
Be optimal. Being optimal starts with creating a perfect profile. This means, you use an image that is about your face, explained Kawasaki.
If you are looking to add images to each post on social media, Kawasaki offered this chart on how to optimize graphics on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest:
Be bold. Standing out from the crowd is key to success, and on social media it helps to be bold. “Don’t be afraid to express your personality online,” noted Fitzpatrick. Whenever you share content on social media, make sure it is topical and timely. She added: “If you share news a week later, it is pointless.”
Be tough. This step goes along with the previous one because whenever you are bold you will encounter issues, said Kawasaki. He then added: “If you’re not pissing a few people off, then you’re not using social media well.”
A quick tip on dealing with trolls:“Ignore them.” – Guy Kawasaki “But if you must react, go three rounds — it shows you’re engaged. That’s the way to be tough and bold.” – Guy Kawasaki Be active. If you are going to build a following, you need to keep your social feed active. It keeps your followers engaged and coming back for more. “Keep calm and post often,” said Fitzpatrick. “Tweet things more than once to get more engagement.”
The life span of each post on social media, according to Fitzpatrick is: Twitter – Half life of 24 mins. Facebook – 90 mins. Pinterest – MONTHS!
If you are looking to extend the life of your content, you will need to get on Pinterest.
Be curious. The fun thing about social media is being able to experiment. According to Kawasaki, no one truly knows how social media works. He suggested Twitter users repeat their tweets eight hours apart.
For both Kawasaki and Fitzpatrick, video is something they will be experimenting more with this year. “People like to see real-life events,” noted Fitzpatrick. “With video, you have to be willing to take risks…It seems that the shorter the video, the better the content. “
Do you have any tips to gaining followers you would like to share? Share them below!
Catch the ondemand session of this webcast on HubSpot.
Former B2B editor and marketing manager turned Family & Lifestyle blogger. Fatima is passionate about life and being social.
When she isn't running around with her husband, three kids, and two pups, Fatima helps other bloggers and local businesses with their online marketing strategy.
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