[Podcast] How to Grow Your Social Media Following

“Why do I need a social media following?”

The simple answer: Because agents and publishers want you to have an established following. They want to know how you will reach your audience when it’s time to promote your book.

We recently spoke with Natalie Papier, owner of Home Ec.-Op and soon-to-be author, about how she grew her Instagram following from a few thousand to over 130,000 in a few short years.

Natalie shared four tips on how to grow your social media following that you can immediately start using to grow your own following today. 

Establish Your Content

To grow your social media following, find your tribe—and understand the content they’ll gobble up.

Snoop around Natalie’s IG account, and you’ll see that she serves up exactly what her audience wants: delicious images with plenty of behind-the-scenes details and tips on how to design from the heart.

Not to mention she seasons all her posts with a dash of authenticity—making her approachablesomeone with whom you’d want to have a coffee date with. (We all know that social media is called “social” for a reason.)

Your expertise may not be design, like it is for Natalie, but you can learn from her strategy.

First, determine what your audience wants and lean into your experiences and hard-earned wisdom. Provide some inspiration, along with some how-tos, and maybe even a thought-provoking question to engage your audience.

Natalie speaks about what she knows best and shares her triumphs while also not being afraid to share her failures. This is where the magic happens on social media: when you show your humanity. It gives followers something to connect with on an emotional level. And connection is the key to getting people to share your content and come back for more.

Post Regularly

Natalie built her following by posting regularly, posting to her IG Stories daily and her account a few times a week. Of course, “regular” is different for each person. The important thing to remember is that if you’re not posting regularly, your content is buried by those nasty algorithms.

Content is prioritized that is liked and shared. And the only way to get likes and shares is to post engaging content regularly. It’s a virtuous circle.

It can be scary committing to regular posting (we recommend three to five times a week at the least). You might wonder if you have enough to say. Some people tackle this problem by creating an editorial calendar. Plan ahead (even write the posts in advance) if you fear you won’t be able to come up with the content in the moment, like Natalie does.

There are plenty of online resources (such as Hootsuite) that provide calendars with prompts on what to share. That way you’re never stumped.
 

Get the Conversation Going 

Natalie’s great strength is her ability to connect with her audience. One of the primary ways she does this is by asking questions at the end of the post.

You might start out a post with an issue you faced that you haven’t resolved, and ask for input. Or maybe share an experience and ask others to share their own.  Each response the algorithm counts as engagement, which means your post is perceived as “gotta-read-content.” 

But that’s only one benefit. Your followers feel like you care, and you might find some fresh content based on the experiences (and pains) shared by your audience.

Asking questions is a simple but effective strategy for super-boosting your engagement.

Be More Than a Bot

Everyone wants people to comment on their posts, but if you don’t respond, you’re no better than a bot.

Natalie’s tried-and-true practice of responding to every single comment is a best practice for every person trying to build a platform. If a person takes the time to comment, says Natalie, the decent thing to do is respond.

Bots can’t do that. Humans do. And humans connect with humans.

Also, do as Natalie does by sharing the work of other people. Who inspires you?  What is special out in the world that others need to hear about?

When you are a cheerleader of others, they become your cheerleader in advance. The goodness returns to you. Don’t make social media all about you. Make it social. Make it about others.

Here’s a Glance at the Episode

[3:08] Meet Natalie, owner of Home Ec. and soon-to-be author!

[4:08] Learn about Natalie’s use of Instagram, how she grew her following, and how she uses social media for partnerships.

[15:39] Natalie talks about the genesis of how she started writing and how she landed a book deal.

[28:26] Listen to our discussion about the Imposter Syndrome.

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