They say that the rich get richer while the poor just keep on getting poorer and nowhere is this more accurate than on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. The algorithms that these sites use tend to favor profiles with lots of existing followers so while popular accounts keep growing by themselves, gaining an initial toe-hold can be a struggle.
Factor into this equation the fact that displaying on your site that five people like your page on Facebook or you have seven Twitter followers hardly helps you to stand out.
Indeed, studies have shown that the concept of social proof can work both ways – not only can social profiles with lots of existing followers more easily attract new followers, but accounts with little activity can struggle to attract new followers.
It’s clear therefore that we need a short-cut – a way to go from zero to hero – to create hundreds or even thousands of followers in a short space of time.
This will not only allow the social media algorithms to kick in and start driving new followers for you on autopilot but also as a form of social proof on your own website.
But what are the most effective ways to really kick-start your social media following?
If your website has been around long enough to attract something of a following then kick-starting your social media following can be as simple cross-promoting your social profiles to your existing contacts.
Perhaps you already run a newsletter that has thousands of engaged subscribers receiving regular content from you. Perhaps you’re already active on one social network like Facebook but you want to scale out to cover Twitter, LinkedIn and Google Plus. Perhaps you get thousands of high quality visitors to your site each day.
If so, then planning a social media content schedule that ties into your existing inbound marketing strategies can be a very effective way to get your social media profiles plenty of followers and engagement straight from the get-go.
Examples I have used in the past include adding follow buttons to my newsletter confirmation page and/or adding an email into my autoresponder series that not only promotes my social media profiles but also provides a reason to follow you (discounts, unique content, interesting discussion with like-minded people etc.)
Another powerful technique if you already have an existing audience involves creating a fangate on Facebook or setting up an automatic response on Twitter so that whenever someone follows you there, they’ll gain instant access to a valuable free gift that you can promote on your site.
If your existing audience is either small or non-existent then you may need to take a slightly different tack to rapidly reach a respectable number of followers. And investing some money into advertising can lead to a near-instant social following.
I’m not suggesting you necessarily need to keep on investing for the long term – just a few weeks of advertising can drive hundreds of social followers to your profiles, instantly giving you the social credibility you need to start growing organically.
For considerably less than $100 for example I’ve been able to take a brand new Facebook fan page from zero to hundreds of fans in a matter of days. This is all down to using Facebook’s own advertising platform which is simple to learn, cost-effective to advertise on and puts your page infront of an audience that you can carefully target.
Thanks to the viral nature of Facebook, it’s common to find that assuming you’re posting engaging content then once your page reaches 1000 fans or so then it will start to grow on it’s own as your existing fans like, comment and share your posts.
Twitter provides all manner of opportunities to advertise your profile if you’re willing to spend a little money. For example networks like Featured Users and Twitter’s own promoted profiles feature will promote your Twitter account to thousands of other people who use their high-traffic Twitter services.
It’s also possible to buy promoted tweets whereby other Twitter accounts with a large following will tweet out a message of your choice – including your Twitter handle – that can not only lead to increased social media traffic to your website but can instantly build you a list of quality followers.
The final option is probably the slowest of these three techniques for getting your social media following started. Quite simply keep your social profiles “quarantined” from your main website and instead spend time gently posting, contributing and sharing until you feel your accounts have reached the necessary threshold and you now have enough followers and interaction to start promoting them on your main website.
This article was written by Mike, a passionate tech blogger, who writes about ecommerce topics over at TechToucan.com