Last month I started an experiment to test whether the $1.80 strategy works for small business owners. Since my relevant hashtags are marketing-related, my feeds have been in marketing overload. I have seen a lot of questionable advice and bad strategies for growing social media followers. People may think more followers equals more money, but this isn’t true.
Kevin Jackson, the creator behind Payday Pursuit on TikTok and YouTube, reports getting three million monetized views on TikTok with 100,000 followers. He estimates this led to around $92.00 earnings in one month. So there isn’t a direct line between lots of followers and lots of money; then how do you get paid for having more followers? By having the right followers.
Are there ‘wrong’ followers?
There are definitely bad followers. There are many ways to boost your follower count quickly, but the quality of the followers will be bad if they fall into one of these categories:
- Not in your niche and unlikely to even see your content, let alone interact with it
- Lurkers who rarely interact with content
- Competitors who are only following you for inspiration or to rip off your ideas
- Bots, or non-human automated accounts coded to create and interact with content. Comments like, “Ask me how I made a million dollars in 30 days” are bot-generated. It is easy for software to detect bots. Many social platforms limit your reach if a large percentage of your following is bots
- Trolls whose sole purpose is scouring the internet for creators to harass. Posting provocative content to get views attracts trolls. But, exposure to more trolls is also an unfortunate side effect of growing your following. A good rule of thumb is “Don’t feed the trolls,” meaning don’t give them publicity or argue with them. There are a few notable exceptions to this rule.*
* When a troll threatens violence, impersonates an account, or posts private information online creators often notify their followers.
Who are the ‘right’ followers and where can I find them?
Good followers are real people with similar likes and interests, who actively engage with content and are genuinely interested in your brand. Attract more good followers by following these guidelines:
- Avoid “follow trains” unless they are related to your niche at a super-specific level (ex., “Atlanta-based, women-owned businesses in the film and entertainment industry” vs. “Women-owned businesses”)
- Use relevant keywords and hashtags. These should be relevant to your posts, your brand, and your audience, not just popular or trending topics
- Interact within your niche. Go where your customers are. Comment, like, and share posts within your niche communities. Follow influencers who are not competitors
- Don’t buy followers or pay someone to grow your following. This almost always involves bots, so Heismann the spammers who offer it and keep it moving. They’re bad news
- Create interactive content. Sometimes lurkers can be lured out of passivity by the right type of interaction. Create shareable and interactive posts like quotes, checklists, or “This or That” questions. This is where controversial content comes in handy, but use it mildly and sparingly (ex. Best Wings: Drums or Flats? Best Batman: Kilmer or Bale? It isn’t winter until you smell: Chestnuts Roasting or Douglas Fir?)
- Post quality content and engage on a regular basis. I have struggled to find time to create content while running my own business. A structured content strategy, repurposed content, and weekly time dedicated to creating content have all helped immensely. Within the last six months, I have doubled the amount of content I created and posted each week. I also doubled my followers. The practice of creating tons of content has also made the process easier and faster over time. (You can follow me as I document my quest to grow a following while running a business. IG: @krs_consulting)
Unfortunately, even good followers don’t simply hand you money. The great news is they’re already more than halfway down the customer journey. This means you won’t need to work as hard convincing them to visit your site, buy your product, or tell their friends about you, all things that are proven to lead directly to the exchange of “real” money. As you hear advice about growing your following ask yourself, “Will this attract good followers?” You don’t actually need a million followers to sell a million products (although it doesn’t hurt.) Plan to do more with less; go after high-quality followers to get loyal fans, good customers, and great advocates.
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