Organically Growing Your Social Media

The dos and don’ts of getting noticed.

I’m sure you’ve gotten ads, DMs, or even emails from companies promising thousands of followers, hundreds of fans, and a ton of friends on your social channels for only a few bucks. And most of them deliver, if you’re simply looking to increase your number of followers to seem as though you have a strong following. But this follower-purchasing game removes the true goal–and the power–behind social media.

Never before have we had the ability to reach like-minded individuals in such an organic way so easily. You can now simply search for people, even lists of people, who are interested in topics you’re interested in, or in the case of this post, more likely interested in the types of services your company provides. But what’s the best way to engage individuals who are likely to be interested in your offerings? How do you get these people to follow you, friend you, or fan you? You already know their value is high since they’re interested in what you’re offering. But you need to grow a following. How does this happen?

Here are some do’s and don’ts of of growing your following that are simple, organic, and natural tactics. And they work.

Get a Following

Don’t: There’s a little game out there known as the follow and unfollow game. It involves finding potential fans/followers, following them, then unfollowing them and following them again if they don’t follow you. This can work–though sometimes people aren’t paying attention to social all the time, and they may have simply missed when you initially followed them. But overall, this strategy should be used sparingly.

Do: Engage. If you want someone to follow you, engage with them. Quote them. Share their content. This is the most honest way to gain a following. It’s time consuming, sure. And the above stated follow/unfollow game can work to an extent for a larger mass of people. But if you’ve identified someone who you think would find value from your social channels, or even more importantly, from whom you find value, engage with them.

Target Fans

Don’t: Join every group and constantly post about your services. You’ll likely get kicked out of the group. A smarter way to work around this (and is particularly useful in LinkedIn groups) is to post and share content you’ve created, starting a conversation. This is far more effective than asking for someone to fan or follow you.

Do: Spend a few dollars and carefully target potential users through Facebook ads. You can easily target users based on a number of precise profile details–including other companies they like. Use content to reel them in, making them click onto a blog or video that would speak to them. You can often get new fans for a few pennies, which is far more effective than the mass buying fans/followers strategy.


Don’t: Shove your way into a conversation. Dropping into places where genuine connections are happening on social and injecting your brand is the fastest way to earn a bad reputation. If you see a conversation happening that’s of value, try to engage. But don’t interject and interrupt. If you were at a coffee shop and overheard two people having a conversation relevant to your company and you wanted to join in, would you just shout over to them and interject? (Because if you would, then you probably need to revisit your manners.) Take this same approach online. People love engaging conversations, and if you show genuine interest, they’ll be happy to include you.

Do: I like to call this the weight loss tip. People spend so much time and money trying to find a shortcut or a work-around, that had they invested a little time each day just sharing, engaging, and interacting, they would have been more successful. Set aside 20-30 minutes several times per day to engage on Twitter. If you have gotten new followers who look like great prospects, give them a shout and ask them what piqued their interest. RT influential people. Join #twitterchats, Facebook group Q&As, LinkedIn discussions, etc. There is a lot you can do in the time of a coffee break that can begin to engage a handful of new fans.

Looking for a list of tools to help you manage your social media? We put a few great ones on our list of (Tools Every Startup Needs](].

This can seem like a lot of work–and at times it will be. But it pays off in the end. The more you engage, share, and interact with others in a genuine way online (and offline for that matter), the more you get noticed.