As a blogger and social media-type person, the followers and engagement inevitably come into play. You cannot measure how well your content resonates with others if you don’t know how many you’re reaching, who keeps coming back to your site and profile, and how your outreach might be changing over time.
Obviously the goal is to continue growing followers and subscribers, continually receiving the same and more engagement with everything you do. Easier said than done, let me tell you. Not only are you constantly surrounded by others always vying for attention, but you’re also concerning yourself with where any attention is coming from.
We can all find easy ways to see our numbers increase momentarily, but what’s to the secret to finding authentic followers? The people who will stick around for the long haul and who truly are interested in you and your content? The people who actually want to build a relationship with you and hear what you have to say? I myself am still learning how to find those authentic followers, but I have some tips for at least starting the process.
Authentic engagement takes time.
We expect a venture into the world of blogging and social media is pretty easy. If you can master the world of trending posts and algorithms, then you’re a viral success, right?
Authentic followers don’t immediately come flooding in overnight. Even if you do have a very successful post that attracts a wide audience, that doesn’t mean those people are truly sticking around for everything else you’re sharing. You cannot always replicate that same “success” for every photo and blog post. It’s not a sustainable approach.
Instead, give yourself grace and patience. Everyone has to start out somewhere. Everyone starts with a blank slate, and what you do with it is up to you. Some people might feel drawn to try and “buy” followers, or take rash measures to gain negative attention for the sake of any attention. However, neither of these tactics generate organic engagement and authentic followers.
Make everything you do matter. It’s so easy to post something online, but it’s not so easy to post something meaningful, that will resonate with people past a finger swipe on a home page. We’re constantly bombarded with content, so you might feel that urge to pull all the stops and try to stand out. If you’re passionate and are doing (and posting) what you enjoy, people will come. Give it time. Accept the process as a journey. In your time, you’ll get there.
Plus, it takes a lot of time and hard work to continually engage with others and get your name out there. If you want to gain authentic followers, you have to really try. That means I’m on Instagram (probably more often than is healthy) exploring related profiles to mine, liking content, leaving meaningful comments on others’ posts and reaching out. You never know how people might stumble across you, whether it be from a shout-out, trending post or the comment section. Consistency and patience work together to help you find your niche.
Don’t get too hung up on numbers.
There will always be people with more or fewer followers than you do. Some people grow faster than others. Some are pretty stagnant. You can spend all your time comparing yourself to others’ success and performance, or you can motivate yourself to pursue your own goals.
Personally, my followers are constantly coming and going. This means that I’ve been on the cusp of 1,000 Instagram followers for a few weeks now, breaking that four-digit threshold a couple of times only to frustratingly lose some and feel like I’m starting from scratch all over again. It feels like I’m taking a step forward only to take two steps back.
Rather than comparing your follower count to other users, try finding similar accounts to yours in content and message. Don’t copy them completely, but take their work as inspiration for what users might enjoy seeing. See how they interact with their followers. See how they utilize certain aspects of blogging and social media to their advantage. This might include using hashtags, locations, tagging people and products, using different media platforms, and even doing some outside research on new ways to make content and connect with others.
Be realistic in goal-setting, but it helps to have certain milestones you want to reach without having strict time restraints. For me, that’s maintaining at least 1,000 followers, and that might still take some time to accomplish, and that’s okay. It’s not worth beating myself up over users that may come and go because, in the end, it’s the people who stick around that matter.
Authenticity is a two-way street.
People want to follow real people. To have authentic followers, you also need to be authentic, and you need to reciprocate what you want from others. This includes engaging with other people, reaching out to them in messages and comments and liking their posts, just as you want others to do for you. Maybe it’s a bit of karma at work, but what you put into the universe (and internet) should eventually come back to you.
Welcome the people who find your posts with open arms. Those who are authentic followers are real people, establishing a connection that even a few years ago wouldn’t have been possible…how cool is that? I’m all for making online friendships and even networking to collaborate with others who share similar messages and missions that you do. That will only help you get your name out more to people who are looking certain content.
There may be a ton of people who are on social media and who want to blog for a living (because how amazing would it be to work for yourself and be your own boss?), but there’s always room for fresh faces and perspectives. You shouldn’t be pursuing social media if all you care about is gaining “fame” and growing followers. Again, it’s not sustainable, nor is it healthy or worthwhile. Find that purpose, that spark you have for doing what you do. Are you discussing an important topic? Do want to spread awareness about a passion? Do you want to help others, inspire them, make one less person feel alone and lost? Follow that, and authentic followers will, too.
Cliche as it sounds, be yourself, understand that not everyone will like that, but also understand that some people will. Those are the people to focus on. Do it for the followers who take your content to heart, who genuinely admire what you do. It’s likely a long, tedious process, but from my experience, it’s been well worth it. Take it a day at a time, a post at a time, put in the hard work, and it will pay off.
Do you have any other tips to share to find authentic followers? How do you distinguish an authentic follower from a less-than-genuine one?
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie