Many marketers will (correctly) tell you not to focus on the numbers. ‘Vanity numbers’ they’re affectionately referred to. And while you shouldn’t get caught up in your number of followers just for the sake of bragging about said number, there is value in followers if they are genuine – meaning no bots!
We’re talking about these types of followers to name a few:
- Email subscribers
- Instagram followers
- Facebook Group members
- Pixeled audiences (that can be retargeted with ads)
- Podcast listeners
These are the ones you can nurture and move them towards a sale. These are the ones that can increase your reach and add engagement to social posts, etc. And while an email subscriber is the most desired follower type as it’s in your own system, don’t discount your social media or podcast followers.
What do followers do?
This is the hazy part. Most of their contributions you cannot measure or track with any closed loop. Often these things are dismissed by marketers because of this. If you cannot measure it or attribute it then it can be tough to convince budget to be spent on it. Your followers, if engaged, will do a myriad of things to help you.
Your followers will:
- Add social proof to your brand and its value
- Support your marketing campaigns through clicks, likes, comments
- Become advocates that sing your praise to others and share your message
- Move through your pipeline until they’re ready to reach out/purchase
It’s not really about the number
Engagement rates are key. You should be looking at least a 2% engagement rate. Of course, these are industry specific (as all benchmarks are) and you may be looking at less than that for industries that are known for their silence.
When marketers tell you not to focus on the numbers it means we don’t want you to buy, bribe, trick or woo them for the sake of a large following (this means those ‘follow loops’ or ‘follow for follow’ DMs). I would prefer that you attract new followers based on your incredible content and your unique ‘voice’.
So, how do you build followers? It takes time. You want to gain a few new (real) followers every day. But here are a few tips to speed things up:
Follow your target market. Look for your prospects on social channels and follow them. This action may spark some curiosity about you and you may gain a follow-back. Another benefit is that you can learn more about them based on their content. Don’t be afraid to add a comment too! But don’t follow in order to *get* a follow-back. That just showcases you as shallow.
Offer unique content. If you want people to follow *all* your channels then you should offer different types of content on different channels.
Options to consider would be:
- Different persona/avatar content
- Behind the scenes vs. public facing
- How-to & tips
- Different parts of the buyer process (general information/education vs. case studies)
By doubling down you make your posts attractive to those interested and they’ll keep coming back. Do some research before attempting this strategy as not all businesses would work.
Create messaging that resonates. Putting time and effort into what your posts say and mean are important parts of building a following that genuinely likes and listens to what you’re putting out. A good tactic is to look at other accounts that have good engagement and followers and take note of what they’re doing. Don’t just copy what you see. Their content, tone or voice may be very different to yours and may not land with the same impact. But you can adapt or gain inspiration!
Use hashtags. There are entire blog posts around this subject and I won’t attempt to summarize it all here. However, using hashtags strategically and thoughtfully on each post can definitely help you get found by the right audience. Do some homework here and cull a list you can pull from until you get the hang of it. Just remember not to use the same hashtags for everything. They should be unique to the topic of the post and your target audience.
How do you engage?
Once you start picking up speed with attracting new followers you need to engage (with) them. Remember that the point of building a following is to nurture towards a sale. And even though this won’t happen with a large percentage of them, you should be posting with this in mind.
Engagement works best when you can ‘personalize’ the content. I used quotes there because you’re not really personalizing it. You’re just making it feel personal by the tactic you’re using:
- Polls (anything that requires participation works)
Just to name a few. These tactics are great to engage people who are already following you. With engagement tactics you want to get to know your followers. Let them get to know you too!
So, while we don’t want you to get hung up on your number of followers, we definitely want you to pay attention to them.