Many people are frustrated when they are starting out in Social Media. They are stuck in a circle: No Followers – No shares and retweets – no social audience – no new followers.
No matter how great the information is which you share on your social accounts without an initial audience, it is like a well-hidden secret which no one knows exists. You need to get on other peoples’ radar before your fame can spread via social sharing.
Many people refrain from growing their social audience because they have no money for advertising and shy away from becoming a spammer. No need for either, if you know what you are doing. There are other options to grow a social audience and once you figured them out your following will grow, without paying for it – well you might consider paying for some tools to make your activity more efficient. But to the most part it depends on your own commitment, willingness to learn and time you can invest.
However the first step towards more followers in any social network is always to make your account worth being followed. Do not neglect the basics like uploading a picture and filling out your bio. And never forget to really provide value with your social account: Simply share great information, continually. Why should anyone follow you if they do not get anything out of it? Whatever you try to gain more followers will not work as it was supposed to, if you do not provide enough value.
To give you an idea for how much is possible without paying people to follow you, here are 7 ideas to grow your social accounts without advertising:
1. Comment on blogs
This works best if the commenting system allows you to add your social accounts. To expect people to search for your social account and then follow you is most often too much.
Also, your comments need to add value to the discussion – otherwise, they only serve to start getting on peoples’ radar, but the chances are low that people will start following you because of them.
However I have seen such great comments that I visited blogs and social profiles simply out of curiosity who that great person with the helpful comments is.
2. Add your Social accounts to bios for guest posts
This is one of the most efficient ways of growing an audience without advertising. The advantage of Guest posting is that you have the chance of getting in front of an already existing audience. With adding your Social Accounts to your Author bio you give this audience a chance to follow you.
This works even better if you write more than on guest post – especially if you write more than once for the same audience. The more great content see from you, the more likely they will be to follow you in order not to miss any more content of yours.
You should also make sure that the bio includes a real call to action like “You can also follow her on Twitter”. This works much better than simply saying “She is also on Twitter”
I have had guest posts running so well that they gave me a couple of hundred new followers on Twitter.
3. Join conversations
The closer the conversation is to the social network where you are looking to grow your account the better this works. It is usually harder to find new followers for Twitter through a conversation in a LinkedIn Group.
So, you should join the conversations on the network where you are looking for an audience:
A great discussion on LinkedIn might give you new contacts on LinkedIn.
A conversation on Twitter can give you some followers on Twitter
A heated debate in a Google+ group can result in people circling you on G+
Comments on a great pin can get you on the radar o other pinners.
4. Follow some people first
If you want people to follow you – why not make the first step and follow them first. It is a great way to show you exist. That is basically what all of these strategies are about: Find a way to get yourself (or your social account) in front of some other people. Following them is a legitimate way of getting your social account in front of them by showing interest in them.
(On a slightly smaller scale this also works with sharing other peoples’ updates or liking/favoriting them).
You can grow a social audience, too. Learn how with “The Social Traffic Code!”
5. Start conversations and ask for opinions
Once you already have some followers you can even start conversations yourself (it is rather hard to start a conversation if no one knows you exist). A good way is to ask for opinions on a topic where you have to add an opinion of your own. Make sure to answer people if you get responses. The best conversations are the ones that really spread. But in some networks a simple conversation shows the algorithm of the network (i.e. Facebook) that people like to engage with you.
6. Provoke and dare to be different
I am not talking about attacking or trolling people. But a well-done provocation usually inspires much more conversation than a statement everybody else could have made.
And let us be honest: If I only get from you what I can get everywhere else, why should I follow you? In social media you need a voice, a voice that is unique and stands out. A little provocation once in a while serves well to show your own special voice.
7. Show your social accounts on your website
I intentionally put this one last. If you have an audience to your website this can work wonders. But usually it is the other way round: You have a website without an audience, you grow a social following, this following gives you traffic (and an audience) for your website.
However, if you have an audience, you can transfer this to your social accounts and keep them interested there.
Grow your social audience
The basic idea behind all of these ideas is to get yourself in front of people. Posting gets you in front of your existing social audience. Retweets and shares from your audience help you spread the word. But there is nothing wrong with coming up with other ways of getting in front of people who might be interested in you and what you have to say. You can spread this concept away from the internet: Why not adding your social accounts to your speaker bio for a conference or other speaking event? Or include your Twitter handle on your business card or your email signature?
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