The amount of followers you have isn’t exactly a vanity metric. When your brand has a strong social media presence (ie. followers and engagement), you’ll increase your brand affinity and convert more organic social followers into lifelong customers.
Social media marketing can also help you move your audience down the buyer funnel to make a conversion. Eye-catching posts, behind-the-scenes shots, and product features all help your fans and followers go from awareness of your brand to actively promoting your products.
But how do you get enough social media reach to translate an Instagram or Facebook post to a direct sale? And can organic social media growth really help you hit those essential KPIs?
With focused persona-driven content, using your email list, and coordinating your paid and organic efforts, you can get the most out of your social media and grow your followers into customers.
Let’s break down all the ways you can expand reach through organic social, and get a few more Instagram followers in the process.
Developing a Cross-Channel Strategy
It might be surprising to hear this, but you can beat social media algorithms with tactics that lie outside of the social platforms themselves.
Think about it this way: the easiest way to sell something is word-of-mouth, right? That’s about as organic a method as you can get (and the most effective and long-lasting).
These channels aren’t successful as silos, either. To get the most out of your brand’s marketing, you’ll have to take a holistic approach and use these tactics in conjunction with each other.
Content Is (Still) King
People may like to consume goods and services, but they don’t really want to be marketed to as consumers.
When you give meaningful content to your organic social followers, you provide your current and future customers value, entertainment, and education. Not every post needs to be a TED Talk, but you should strive to have a mix of content that meets varying intents: engage, educate, inspire, and convert.
But before you post any content on your social media, you need to know who you’re posting to. Enter audience personas, the fictional characters that bring your marketing strategy to life.
Using the analytics tools from your social media platforms, you can quickly figure out the age range, gender, and general demographics of your audience members. From here, you can carve out a persona’s interests, hobbies, and even pain points as a consumer.
This information is truly the difference between shouting into the void of social media and reaching your most engaged target audiences with the types of content that speaks to their interests and challenges.
When you leverage data-driven personas and work to build steady and engaging content, your following will notice. Especially the ones that don’t follow you yet!
Email Is the Gateway to Followers
If you’ve spent time developing your email list, this is a great place to start to find social media followers.
In 2021 alone, over 319 billion emails have been sent around the world. So it’s not surprising that email marketing remains one of the most powerful tools in your arsenal.
Along with keeping your newsletters and email automations full of great content (blogs, customer reviews, and new products or deals), you can add organic social callouts to get your list to follow you on your social media platforms.
Easier still, you can add clickable links to each one of your social accounts at the header or footer of your email.
If you’ve put in the work for email marketing optimization, you’ll increase your open rate and get your brand (and your brand’s social accounts) in front of more people.
We Get By With a Little Help From Paid Ads
Your paid and organic strategies on social media go hand in hand.
While you want to build a base of organic content that speaks to your targeted audience, you also need to get your posts ahead of the pack. This means boosting organically successful posts (giveaways are a great example), and building a budget for paid ads.
Keep in mind that not all paid advertisements are created equal in the eyes of your personas. If only a small portion of your followers are on Pinterest, you might want to save your ads for platforms where more of your followers interact, like Facebook and Instagram.
It’s important for marketing teams on either side of social media (paid and organic) to collaborate with each other to align goals. Your social media marketer can work with your paid advertisers on the best assets and copy to use for ads that will appeal to your consumers.
Also be mindful of brand guidelines. If you’ve gotten your social media followers used to one style of image, font, or layout, just be sure to follow those same parameters in your social media ads.
Bolster Your Social With Giveaways
Organic social media growth takes time. But one great way to quickly grow followers on platforms like Instagram is through consistent giveaways of your products or services.
As with the last point about paid ads, much of the posts on users’ Instagram feeds are advertisements these days — 20.6%, in fact.
This means that users are being asked to buy products more frequently than before. It’s a nice gesture to offer a giveaway to stand out from the constant stream of ads.
Giveaways are also magnets for engagement, especially if you ask followers to tag their friends or comment to answer a question to enter the giveaway. This boosts your reach in their feed, getting more eyes on your profile and consequently, more followers.
You can measure ROI by tracking followers and engagement before and after a giveaway, then continue to tweak your approach monthly.
This is also an excellent opportunity to partner with like-minded brands who can offer their products or services for the giveaway. With access to their audiences, you can get more followers and improve your social media reach.
Don’t forget to feature giveaways in emails and customer newsletters, too, as this can lead to more people leaving one place to come follow you on your social channels.
See? It’s all connected.
Engage, Engage, Engage
While social media marketing can sometimes feel impersonal, the people viewing your feeds are real people. And they’re looking to interact with real people, too.
You can beat the social media algorithms all day with paid ads, but it’s always important to connect authentically with your audience through personal, ongoing engagement.
Don’t skip organic social engagement, or you might be missing out on some massive opportunities to reach more people in an authentic way.