It’s far too easy to get hung up on achieving a certain number of followers on social media (we all want the 10k swipe up feature, right?!). But if those followers aren’t that interested in what you’re posting and don’t convert into sales or clients, it’s all a waste of time. Using these tips you can build an authentic social media following that feels much more like a community than just empty numbers.
1. Speak your own language.
This is going to sound like an obvious one but our social media needs to sound like us. So many people fall into the trap of thinking they need to use fancy words in order to appear to be an expert.
You are an expert.
You know your stuff.
And that will shine through through the value you offer and the incredible work that you do. But you’ll never attract the right people to you unless you speak your own language – the way you’d actually speak in real life.
Otherwise, all you’ll do is overcomplicate everything and perhaps come off as a bit boring. The quick tip here is before posting, read your caption aloud. Does it sound natural? Is it something you’d actually say in real life? Edit until it captures your tone of voice.
2. Allow yourself to be vulnerable.
This is a tricky line but one we all need to walk if we’re going to build an authentic following. People no longer want the exclusively glossy, aspirational side of social media. They want to see the hard stuff, the stuff that makes you relatable. But being vulnerable as a marketing tactic can be a bit icky. And simply sharing the awful for the sake of it runs the risk of dragging people down without offering them anything.
Before posting, check in with yourself: what is your intention with this piece of content? Will it help people feel less alone or show them how you worked through a difficult situation? Sense how it lands in your body.
If it feels like a valuable piece of the conversation, publish, publish, publish! If not, take a bit of time and see if you can rework it so that it does.
3. Hang out with your people.
Social media is not a one-way street. Make sure the love is flowing in both directions! Build 5 or 10 minutes into your day to like and comment on the posts of people who have liked and commented on yours.
Check out the hashtags you regularly post to and get involved with the conversations that are happening. At its heart, growing an authentic social media following is about community and your people will find you when you’re an active part of it.
Plus, we find a lot more fulfillment through our online spaces this way.
4. Mix real life in with your business.
People shop from small businesses because they want to support you, the person behind it all. Getting to see a behind the scenes peek into how you run things and what your life is like lets people connect with you and helps you stand apart from your competitors and from the soulless big box stores.
If you’re looking for inspiration, Carrie Anne from Mere Souer and Laura Jane Williams both do a fantastic job of this. But we all have to figure out our own social media secret sauce. Some of us will want to share a whole lot of our lives while others have tighter boundaries; both are okay.
When you sense how posting something feels in your body and are clear on your intentions for your content, you’ll know what the right balance is.
5. Have clear intentions for your content.
When you put a piece of content out into the world what do you want it to do for your audience (help them solve a problem, help them feel less alone, teach them to do something)?
What do you want it to do for you (new sales, new email sign-ups, create a connection with someone)?
Having this clarity puts a little bit of manifestation magic into your social media strategy, yes, but it also gives you some clear metrics to start measuring your results against.
Ultimately, by staying true to yourself, engaging your audience, and offering value rather than taking a formulaic approach to social media, you’ll attract people with a genuine interest in your work and your message.