How do I get more followers on social media? This is a question I get frequently from software developers. The thinking behind this is: If I have more followers on social media, more people will read my content.
I don’t have tens of thousands of followers on social media, but I experienced a huge uptick in followers over the last eleven months (in early December 2019, I had a little over 4,000 followers on Twitter; today, I have over 7,300). I’ve seen higher engagements on social media, higher levels of traffic coming from social media to my website, and a majority of people who have purchased my eBooks came from social channels.
In this short blog post, I’ll share my approach for increasing my social media audience.
Become an active participant. The main reason why people follow others on social media is because they like the content others produce. If you’re a passive observer, primarily like or retweet to show your approval, don’t share enough of your own perspective, and don’t post regularly, it’ll be very hard to grow your audience. You have to be social; contribute to existing conversations, share your perspective on a topic, share resources, and start new conversations. Do this regularly.
Don’t post and then disappear. I made this mistake for a few years (although, I did not want to grow my audience): I would post something and then...nothing. I wouldn’t respond to people who commented on my posts (I only acknowledged that I read their replies with a “like”), and I didn’t comment on other people’s content, even if I followed them. You have to be comfort with the prospect of interacting with others. Respond to people who comment on your posts, and leave comments on other people’s posts. Remember to be polite and courteous even if you’re disagreeing, and especially if you’re commenting on a post from someone you have not interacted with before.
Offer your perspective whenever possible. You don’t need permission to share your opinions, perspectives, and insights. You just need to have something you want to talk about. Not sure what to talk about? Talk about things you’ve learned and share resources. Share what you’re comfortable with; you set the rules for what you tweet.
Audit your timeline. When you look at your timeline, what do you see? What do you think someone who happens on your profile for the first time sees? You want your timeline to communicate whatever it is you want your audience to know about you. If you’re on Twitter, use a pinned tweet to serve as your audience’s introduction or entry point to your timeline. Craft a descriptive bio and link out to a page on your site that provides the most relevant information.
Have an engagement strategy in mind. Social media can get really overwhelming if you jump in without a strategy. Follow accounts you like and unfollow accounts that you no longer engage with. Mute words and accounts as needed. Use lists to curate your timeline even further. Harassment is real on social media and heated arguments are not uncommon. You can always disengage or refuse not to participate in conversations if you feel unsafe or disrespected.
In summary, be open to participating in conversations and sparking discussions of your own. You don’t have to wait until you have a blog or a product to start building a following. It takes time to establish oneself on social media platforms, but consistency is key.
Looking for more practical guidance around content creation? Purchase The Developer's Guide to Content Creation for content-related tips, exercises, and templates.