How To Grow Your Social Media Following (Fully Clothed)

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Growing your social media following can seem daunting if you aren't a celebrity, a reality show cast member, or an IG model. You probably don't have an ass like Serena, Trina or Gina-fer Lopez. (If you don't know this reference, refer to Kanye West, Gold Digger) Even if you did, you probably don't plan on propping it up on a sink anytime soon and if you are, reconsider. I can't wait until being like Ayesha Curry is back in style. Phew! Now that I got that out my system, let’s get to the tea. In a world where likes and follows can largely be a result of your sex appeal or fame, what can you do to build your own following? There are two easy ways to grow your social media following: increase exposure and optimize for engagement. This means you need to get more eyes on your profile and do it at the right time. There are many things that you can do on platforms like Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest to increase exposure. Some things include giveaways, collaborations and features, advertising, twitter chats, hashtags, and post optimization. Let's dive into each one and how you can use it for your brand.

Strategies to Grow Your Social Media Following

Giveaways

You need to provide giveaways and contests to engage your audience to buy into what you are sharing with them. For example, you know when you’re on Instagram and you see posts like “repost this photo and follow me for a chance to win a Macbook Pro”? That’s one of the fastest ways to grow your audience on any social media platform. It doesn’t have to be as extravagant as a MacBook, but a giveaway that includes something your audience really wants or needs is a great start. Now, be mindful that this isn't the best long-term strategy because you risk losing many of those followers after the contest period is over. This is why your content needs to be on point so that they stay around. Collaborating with another brand on a giveaway results in even more exposure. This is where the power of collaboration is very important.

Collaborations and Features

In case it isn’t obvious, collaborating with other brands and influencers will get your brand, product, and/or service seen by more eyes. For example, I recently collaborated with The Single Wives Club. As you know, I recently came out with my book Make Yourself Marketable, and the Founder, Koereyelle, recently came out with her book Werk 101. Since we have similar audiences, we decided to swap posts on Instagram for Black Friday. She posted my book on her page and I returned the favor. Both our books were seen by different pairs of eyes and were purchased. Yasss for them coins!

When there’s a brand that has a similar audience as you do, you need to make them your new best friend. You can help each other tap into different audiences and increase exposure for your products, services and offerings. However, please do not be foolish and collaborate with someone just because they have a large following. One of my good friends is a makeup artist for VH1 and has over 40K followers. Does that mean that the women that follow her care about my personal branding advice? Nah.

@@Remember, popularity doesn’t equal profitability.@@

Advertising

Yes, you heard me, advertise! Stop being cheap, ma. Instead of spending your coins on Kylie's Lip Kit or another highlight and contour palette,  you may need to put some money aside to advertise your brand. Scared money don’t make money - #thestruggle. You can easily find brands or influencers with large followings and pay to advertise on their page or even pay to promote your Pinterest pins. But my favorite way to advertise is through Twitter ads. They’re cheap and easy to use. I have grown my Twitter following by a few hundred with $20. Don't sleep on them ads. If you aren’t ready to take that step yet, use the next best thing: Twitter chats!

@@6 ways to increase your exposure on social media@@

Twitter Chats

Twitter chats are EVERYTHING! They’re the best way to showcase yourself as an expert as well as gain more followers. For example, I participated in a Black Enterprise Chat in 2012 on entrepreneurship and gained 150 followers in one hour! You would be surprised at how easy it is to gain new followers if you are at the right place at the right time. The best way to rock a Twitter Chat is to tweet in sound bites or short quotes that are free flowing in conversation and evoke emotion in people. Too many times, y'all are on Twitter chats yapping but providing no real substance.

For example, let’s say they tweet the question: “How do you grow your audience?” Instead of tweeting “Participate in twitter chats so you can be in the same room with like-minded people.”Say something like “Twitter chats put you in the right room with the right people. Don't sleep on these.” Here are a few twitter chats that are my favs:

Hashtags

Although Twitter chats are only used on Twitter, hashtags can be used on virtually all social media platforms. Use hashtags that are popular and relevant to your brand. I have ten hashtags I rotate around depending on day and the social media post such as #womeninbusiness #personalbranding, #bossbabe, #girlboss, #womenentrepreneurs, #lifeofaserialentrepreneur, #socialmedia, #purposefulbranding, #marketing and #entrepreneurlife.  You can also create your own hashtags that can be associated with your brand like #TBMClass and #HustleHackCo which I use. (I created a whole guide with the top 100+ Instagram hashtags for business as part of the Squad Goals Challenge, by the way. You should check it out.)

Another easy way to use hashtags is to live-tweet. I live tweet during Love and Hip Hop and the shade takes my engagement through the roof. Exhibit A.

Waiting for Amina to find out about Tara. #lhhnypic.twitter.com/IoAHYFy7cP

— Emmelie De La Cruz (@EmmelieDeLaCruz) January 26, 2016

You don't need to change who you are to be successful. Use the things that already entertain you to relate to others and make yourself more relatable. Using the hashtags for TV shows you are watching, events you are at and communities that you are a part of is the fastest way to get in front of a large group that has the same interests as you.

Substance

People follow those they like, admire and trust. If your page has as much substance as Stacey Dash and Raven Symone, you might as well pack it up. What do I mean? Social media is about emotion and curiosity. Your followers connect with you because they know you can teach them something, you entertain them, or quite frankly they want to be like you. You have something that they want, but when you are reposting memes and tweeting about foolishness they can’t relate too, you will quickly be ignored, forgotten or worse - unfollowed. Be mindful that all of your posts do one of these three things: inspire, inform, or involve people. 

No matter what hashtag, Twitter chat, or advertising tools you use, the key to success is optimization.

@@How to grow your following without resorting to thottery. Yep I said it.@@

On average, most people have a few hundred followers on their social media channels. Growing your social media is as much art as it is science. You can ask any social media influencer, and no one would be able to tell you exactly how they grew their following because it is a combination of tangible and intangibles like content, posting times and reach. I want you to build smarter routines and habits that they will carry you through the rest of the year.