Check out this post for tips on how to grow your social media following.
Nowadays, you can’t grow a personal brand or run a business without an active social media presence. However, with so many people and brands on social media, it can be difficult to get noticed and expand your audience without sophisticated ,marketing strategies.
Growth doesn’t happen overnight, so it’s important to be patient and have a healthy mindset around this goal. Take it from Amber Vittoria—artist, author and Wix user—who has more than a quarter of a million followers across her social media accounts. “It took almost a decade [to grow my following on] Instagram and X—and a few years for TikTok,” Amber says.
But the value has paid off in spades. Her socials have helped to promote her paintings of gradient ribbons of color so that now, her designs have been featured on products from Adidas, Mastercard, L’Oreal Paris and H&M Home. In 2023, Amber even published her first book, These Are My Big Girl Pants: Poetry and Paintings on Womanhood.
While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to growing a social media presence, we picked Amber’s brain to get her advice on how to grow social media followers and why doing so is vital.
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11 tips on how to grow social media followers
- Get creative with video
- Partner with others
- Cross-promote your social media profiles
- Encourage user-generated content
- Invest in ads
- Stick to the schedule
- Be authentic
- Build relationships with your followers
- Focus on analytics
- Be selective about what you share
- Remember your “why”
01. Get creative with video
TikTok has changed the game in ,social media marketing when it comes to video content. Known for its bite-sized videos, TikTok has become the platform to mimic for social media giants like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and X who’ve all adopted some type of short-form video.
Nowadays, the appetite for video is huge: 66% of consumers report short-form video to be the most engaging type of ,social media content—yet video is the most underutilized format across multiple channels, according to ,SproutSocial. Because producing videos can get time-consuming, Amber systematized her production to prevent it from distracting from her art. “With video being the priority on social, I film snippets of my process, edit them in the apps and post,” she says.
Fortunately, fewer consumers expect highly polished content than you might expect. ,Seventy-nine percent of Millennials and Gen Zers prefer less refined, more authentic content. By embracing this ,lo-fi content trend, you can make the process of making videos for social media more manageable.
02. Partner with others
Teaming up with other creators, influencers or brands can widen your sphere. By collaborating, you can tap into each other’s follower base and offer complementary content. These types of collaborations can also boost your credibility, especially when partnering with well-known brands, helping to establish trust with followers, both existing and new.
Amber is no stranger to these partnerships. Partnerships have helped her to reach niche audiences that may take an interest in her work. Her collaboration with Tilda & Moo, a baby accessory company, for instance, has introduced her art to new mothers who appreciate art in all forms—even in the form of bibs and blankets.
Collaborating doesn’t always mean launching a product line. It can be as simple as joining forces with a peer in your industry and sharing your joint activities through an Instagram Collab. (This particular Instagram feature lets you tag your collaborator so that one post conveniently appears in both your feed and your collaborator’s feed.)
Whether you’re working on a product line or a marketing collab, Amber suggests taking a storytelling approach. “My artwork is very narrative-driven, so I like when my collaborations are as well,” she says.
03. Cross-promote your social media profiles
You don’t need to reinvent the wheel on each platform—instead, develop a cross-promotion strategy to spread the wealth across your social media presence and make sure your followers on one know of your content on another.
For instance, you might post a snippet from a YouTube video on your Instagram story with a prompt directing viewers to the full video on YouTube. Alternatively, you could post behind-the-scenes pictures on X from an Instagram project, drawing your X followers to your Instagram for more content. This approach not only piques interest but also encourages followers to interact with your profiles on various platforms.
If you’re looking for lower-hanging fruit, simply linking from profile to profile in the bio section of each account can help people find the content that most appeals to them. Amber places social media icons right in the header of ,her portfolio website to ensure that they’re easily noticeable.
04. Encourage user-generated content (UGC)
Your customers are your best advocates, so invite them to help you grow your social media audience. Amber has found that much of her website traffic comes from customers sharing her work online. To encourage user-generated content (UGC), consider these approaches:
- Send a postcard: For physical products, insert a postcard into your packaging that encourages customers to post a picture with your product and tag you on social media.
- Create a photo spot: If your brand has a physical space, such as a store or pop-up, set up an attractive photo opportunity, like a vibrant mural. Include your social media handle to encourage tagging.
- Host a contest: Organize a social media contest asking participants to share a photo, video or story related to your brand with your account tagged as part of their entry. This not only engages your audience but also helps spread brand awareness through their networks.
05. Invest in ads
If your social media growth isn’t as fast as you’d like, consider using ads. While you don’t want to become over-reliant on ads, ads can give you a push in the right direction when you’re just getting started.
Social media platforms each offer their own distinctive advertising services. On some, like X, you can create follower campaigns that are specifically designed to drum up attention around your social profile. On others, you can choose between a variety of ad formats—like video, image and direct message—to get your content in front of more people.
It’s best to start with just one or two channels, where you can invest time into learning and experimenting with their ad services. Wix merchants can manage Instagram and ,Facebook ads right from their dashboards. Wix offers automation to help you quickly create, monitor and optimize your ads around the clock.
06. Stick to the schedule
According to Amber, there wasn’t a specific post that instigated a surge of new followers. “Consistently showing up is the key in my experience,” she explains.
To that end, it’s important to maintain a ,social media calendar that fits comfortably into your daily routine. Amber limits her social media activity to one or two hours a day, ensuring it supports but doesn’t overshadow her art. “I try to keep it organic and not put too much pressure on myself,” she says.
By planning and scheduling posts ahead of time, you can maintain a consistent online presence without disrupting your other tasks or responsibilities. Wix’s social media management tool ,allows you to schedule posts in advance,. It additionally offers templates for image and video posts, as well as AI to help you write engaging captions when you’re in a creative rut.
07. Be authentic
With the pressure to share online constantly, it’s easy to lose sight of your ,social media branding. You may find yourself posting something just for the sake of posting something. Avoid this trap. Doing this can lead to creating posts that aren’t authentic to your brand.
,Trendjacking (in which a brand uses trending topics, events or memes to connect with its audience) can be a valuable way of reaching new audiences. That said, Amber says it’s important to trust your instincts when trying social media trends to remain true to your brand. When your content is authentic, it can interact with people who encounter your account and might make them more likely to follow you.
“I’m not huge on following trends, but I do love experimenting with new platforms,” says Amber. “I’d say, trust your instincts. If hopping on a trend brings you joy and fulfillment, do it. If tinkering on new platforms feels too heavy of a lift, then don’t. The beauty of social is that it is up to you [to decide] how you share and engage.”
08. Build relationships with followers
Engaging with followers isn’t just a rewarding way to stay connected with your supporters—it’s also an organic way to grow your audience. “My favorite is when folks DM me,” says Amber. “It feels more personal, and it aligns with how I behave in real life since I’m much better at chatting one-on-one versus in large group settings.”
By developing relationships with followers, they’ll think of you positively and will be more likely to spread the word about your brand. They might share a screenshot of a conversation they had with you in their Stories or retweet your back-and-forth because they’re excited that you responded. Or, if they’re an active customer, they may be more likely to share about your products or services on social media after you’ve engaged with them.
“Focus on those who are already following you. Give them love, and more folks will see that and follow along as well,” says Amber. “The smartest thing I’ve done regarding following is to not focus too much on how many people follow me but to connect with those who already take the time to look at my work and follow along with my art practice.”
09. Focus on analytics
To verify that you’re creating content that engages your audience, check your ,social media analytics. Each platform has a native reporting feature that lets you track follower growth and see metrics like likes, comments, reach, impressions and more. Most ,social media platforms require you to have a business account to access reports, so switch into this mode if you’re not using it already.
Use analytics to determine when your accounts have experienced the most growth and to see which posts perform the best. Find patterns in your top-performing content, then use that to inform your content. You could also use this data to determine which posts to boost with ad money to attract new followers.
10. Be selective about what you share about yourself
Oversharing can be inevitable when you’re trying to grow your social media following. Amber recommends keeping your personal and professional lives separate online to avoid burnout.
“I have slowed down on sharing everything about my life on social,” she says. “Sometimes we forget some of our relationships on social media are parasocial, and [we] approach a stranger online as if we are friends. Because of this, I try to keep my social media about my art and the parts of myself that are connected overtly to my art.”
Another benefit: Keeping your content focused on a particular topic or theme will help attract the right kind of followers. It can help you stand out in front of the right people, rather than force you to try to be everything to everyone.
11. Remember your “why”
Mastering how to grow social media followers comes with many benefits, but it isn’t everything. Keep your “why” in mind as you create content to stay true to your big-picture goals. Even though Amber has an impressive audience on social media, her objective isn’t to make a career out of social media influencing. Her art and writing career are her top priorities, she says.
Why should you learn how to grow social media followers?
Mastering how to grow a social following is a strategic move that goes beyond personal popularity. By investing in the above strategies, you can look forward to the following benefits.
Land professional opportunities
Growing your online presence opens up doors to professional opportunities like paid partnerships, clients and even full-time work. For example, through a connection on X, Amber managed to land a commission from ,Mastercard and MLB to design a limited-edition, animated digital ticket for the 2023 All Star Game in Seattle.
Become a thought leader
Having a substantial social media following positions you as an industry thought leader or expert and makes you an attractive candidate for speaking opportunities, media interviews, collaborations, industry events and more. By amplifying her ,social media presence, Amber made a name for herself in the art world and has been a guest on more than ,two dozen podcasts and counting.
Gain more customers
A large social media following expands your reach, increasing your chances of meeting new customers. In a similar sense, by engaging with followers on social media, you can foster a sense of community around your brand. This can deepen your customers’ loyalty to you, or convince your online fans to become paying customers.
Case in point: Amber’s social media accounts are more than just a place for her to share her work; they’re a place for her to sell it. On her Instagram, Amber has multiple calls to action for followers to purchase her work. In her ,link-in-bio, Amber links to her online store and has a CTA that encourages followers to shop her prints. Her Instagram Highlights (i.e., curated collections of Instagram Stories that she pinned to her profile) feature action-oriented titles like “Shop Book” and “Shop Prints.” Amber also advertises her art in her posts and links to her online store in her Stories.
A sizable following is like a free sounding board that you can use to gather opinions. Businesses, brands and organizations can leverage their follower bases to crowdsource feedback, helping to tailor products or services to customers’ needs.
Make an impact
A larger social media following allows you to amplify your message and make a broader impact.
Whether you’re promoting a cause, sharing valuable information or advocating for a specific issue, having a massive audience enables you to reach and influence more people.
Amber uses her platform on Instagram to spread hope to others who are suffering from chronic illnesses. In a caption for a post about her piece “The Idle Shift,” she talks about her journey with migraines, allergies and anxiety and the various treatments she has tried. She hopes to reach more people who would benefit from hearing her message and feel less alone in their struggles.
Diversify your revenue streams
With a larger social media following, you have a higher chance of diversifying your income streams to include affiliate marketing, sponsored events, merchandise and even a new product line.
Moreover, higher follower counts go hand in hand with higher earning potential. Brands are willing to pay more for partnerships when they know your content can reach a larger and more engaged audience.
Stay top of mind
Your activity online can help you stay atop consumers’ minds. Put simply: The more active followers you have, the more potential impact you can make.
If you run a business, this ongoing visibility increases brand awareness and helps to keep your brand top of mind when followers are making purchasing decisions.
Build your connections
Business- and brand-building benefits aside, growing your social media following is a fantastic way to build connections and relationships online. Even though most of Amber’s freelance clients come from cold email outreach, investing time in social media is worth it for her. “I love connecting with people over my art, and social media is the best place to do that,” Amber says.