How to get (real) social media followers

Digital and innovation

13 September 2016

Nobody can deny that social media is a huge source of potential customer engagement. The tricky part is using it properly – to gather real followers, build on your brand and gain new clients.

Here are some tips to help you make the most of your online presence.

Follow first

Find out who the influencers are in your industry and follow them. If you're not sure where to begin, services like Buzzsumo allow you to search for content and brands that perform strongly within a particular sector. Interact with this content and, over time, you’ll attract your own industry followers.


Social media is designed to be a two-way street. So don’t just post and hope for the best – in addition to asking questions and sparking conversations, actively search for similar content and get involved with the user comments.

Engagement on your own content can be improved by posting when your audience is most likely to be online, which is where a scheduling tool like Hootsuite comes in handy.

Use precise hashtags

The more specific the hashtag, the better – they’re central to the mechanics of Instagram and Twitter, so it’s vital that their potential is exploited. Specific doesn’t mean long; snappy and unique is the way to go. Get it right and you’ll reach a more targeted audience, which generally leads to better engagement.

Develop a personality

A user will be more likely to follow your brand if they buy into its personality. Instagram is particularly useful when it comes to humanising a company, whether it’s by offering sneak peaks behind the scenes or posting real-time product updates.

Shout about your online presence

Loyal customers may love your brand, but not be aware of your social media presence. Let them know about your Instagram, Twitter and Facebook pages on your website, print ads, e-newsletters, business cards – in fact, pretty much everywhere.

Post often – but not too often

It almost goes without saying that nobody will notice you if you don’t post regularly. But while regular updates are crucial, don’t be active just for the sake of it and risk annoying followers. Devise a content strategy that outlines how and when to target your audience. The more genuinely useful your content is, the better positioned you'll be to attract followers.

Need some inspiration on what to post? Read our guide on tapping into trending topics with topical marketing. And if you want to put these skills to use, find out how to create your own Instagram tutorials in our step-by-step guide.