This is the question we all want the answer to: how do you get your first 1000 followers, of 10k, or 100k. As I said above – creating good content is key. What I’ve found is that the times my follower numbers have leapt up is when I’ve had mentions from people with big followings, who work in my field. They’ve been posting about me and my work either because I’ve interviewed them for my website (or book) or because I’ve written something they like and so they’ve wanted to share it with their followers.
To get influencers to notice you, it doesn’t work to DM them saying: THIS IS ME. I’M IMPORTANT. SHARE MY CONTENT. They get that all the time. Instead, get creative. If they’re working on a campaign that you’re also involved with, tag them in a post saying: ‘I love what @Jen_B is doing about X issue. This is also close to my heart. In fact, I recently went on a march/wrote a blog’ etc. If they see your post and think it’s good/relevant, they may well share.
Also engage with their posts. If you’re not supporting them, why should they support you? Read their stuff, respond, make yours a familiar handle on their feed. They may well eventually follow you back and then without tagging/mentioning them, if they think your content is good, they’ll give you a shoutout.
Ultimately, be true to yourself. Don’t set out with the intention of posting for more followers; set out with the intention of adding value. I write about parenting and like to post about the challenging stuff. So when I had mastitis – with both babies – I wrote about it. I let people in to something private and showed my vulnerability. I didn’t set out to get likes or followers but it resonated and so women tagged other friends in a similar position and they started following.
Be open about some of the hard stuff (related to work, or private life, if you’re comfortable with that). It doesn’t make you look like you’re failing; it makes you look like a real person. But also share your wins. When something goes right – you get a pitch, win an award, get a big new client: tell the world. You’re not bragging, you’re sharing your journey. I found this really hard at first – a lot of women do – but now I don’t even think about it.
Another way to reach people and add value is giveaways and competitions. Team up with some other freelancers/brands and offer a big package including an hour of your consultancy time, a class or cake you’ve baked… depending on your work. If you each post it and to enter people have to follow each of the prize-givers, you’ll all potentially reach a new audience. Or just do a giveaway on your own. People love them and if they have to tag friends to enter, you’ll grow a nice new following through this.
Also collaborate. Working with other people is a great way to grow your network, if you each promote it on social media. If you have a product, could you get a new designer to add their twist? Or if you’re a baker, how about working with another baker on a new creation (Meringue Girls are good at doing this). If you run events, bring in speakers and people who can add more value. They’ll want people to see they’re involved in something; you’ll reach their audience.
When I spoke about blogging, I mentioned that it can be great to interview people as they will then often share on their channels. You can also do this on social media – do an Instagram or Facebook Live with someone who your audience will also like (Sarah Akwisombe does this with her money and manifesting coach and tens of thousands of people tune in). Double the reach.