30 Ways to Grow Your
Following & Boost Engagement
in Just 30 Days
Hey boss! I recently asked my community what the #1 thing was that they were struggling with RIGHT NOW. The poll came back with a tie, literally. How to grow a following, AND how to boost engagement. Welp, I love a good challenge. So, I put on my thinking hat and I dove right in.
I came up with these 30 TIPS for growing a following AND driving engagement at the same time. Whoa, double whammy? Yes please!
Grab your notebook and coffee (or wine) and let's dive in. It's time to revamp your growth strategies and blow it up.
#1: Organize an Exciting Giveaway
This one works like a charm. Think about how you can generate buzz and excitement around a product or service giveaway.
Think about how you can run a similar giveaway for your niche while creating excitement and fun around it. Use targeted hashtags and geo-tags to promote, and ask your community to share the contest for you. Another option is to run paid ad traffic to your giveaway.
Bonus tip: Use an online name generator to choose the winner. I like to do this LIVE in my Mompreneur Mastermind Facebook Group. Why? It brings my followers over into my community. Win-win. No-one ever said no to free swag. Amiiright?
#2: Use a Location Sticker in Your IG Stories
When you upload your next IG story, take a second and add a location sticker! This cool feature allows potential followers to see what's happening in the chosen location. I also like to use location stickers of places I want to target (San Diego, Hawaii, and San Antonio for example)... what? I'm planning my future vacation spots around my clients mmmkay?
#3: Create a Unique, Branded Hashtag
This is a great way to grow your brand, AND zone in on the perfect target client. Why? Because chances are, if someone loves your hashtag and starts using it too, they are just. like. you.
Create a unique, un-used hash-tag that is a good fit for your brand, products and services. For example, my branded hashtag is #SaveTheMoms. Good right?! Once people start using your hashtag you can re-post their images and tag them, which creates a great sense of community. AND, let's get real... who doesn't love being recognized?!
#4: Be Crazy Consistent
People LOVE consistency and quality in the brands they follow. Not to mention, FB and IG algorithms rank accounts based on presence.
Personally, I use a content calendar to come up with my posts which helps me IMMENSELY when it comes to content strategy.
Then, I take it a step further by SCHEDULING all of my content on Instagram and Facebook (business page AND group). It takes the grunt-work out of endless 'real-time' posts because it's... well... done in advance! That leaves me with just one place to focus on real-time, IG stories. Easy-peasy.
Being consistent shows your followers you mean business, are professional, and accountable. Show up for them, and they'll show up for you.
Download the PDF above from my best-selling course, The Facebook Group Framework and see how simple it is to create a content calendar that will work for you!
#5: Engage With Your Audience
I know, I know. This seems like a no-brainer. But girl... if you're anything like me the distractions are real. I'll head into social-media-land with every intention of replying to messages, replying to comments, etc. just to forget what the heck I'm doing or get distracted seconds later. #momlifebelike
A simple solution? Time-block (in your planner) your social media focus time. Create a window of 'non-negotiable' time in your day where you intentionally go into FB and IG with one goal: ENGAGING with your community. It's as easy as leaving an emoji reply in most cases but most importantly? It creates rapport with your peeps.
Plus, it makes your followers feel special which helps them like, know, and trust you that much more. Get em' girl-boss.
#6: Use Influencers
Using influencer marketing is a simple way to grow your following faster than you could on your own. When you use the right influencer, you can gain the trust of their followers, and in turn, expand your brand reach.
Find influencers in your niche by searching hashtags or hitting up the explore page on IG. Don't immediately message them up with a shout-out request. First, focus on building a relationship. I like to leave comments, give them shout-outs in my IG stories, and send genuine compliments. After rapport has been built, you can see if they are open to collaborating!
Another great option is sponsoring a post or podcast through an influencer. If you have spend budget for this, it can grow your following and sales faster than if you're going at it alone.
#7: Market Outside of Social Media
A unique way to bring in new followers is to drive traffic from outside of social media. What the what? I know... there are OTHER ways to market. Believe it, or not.
Some ideas are: podcasting, guest blogging, creating your own blog, using Google AdWords, submitting press releases, and expanding your email campaigns. Of course, you always want to link back to your social media accounts and cross-promote them. For example, your Twitter followers might not follow you on IG and vice versa.
Arguably, hashtags are one of the most important ways to market yourself on the gram. But, it's also incredibly easy to screw this up.
How the heck can you mess up hashtags you ask?! Well my friend, lemme' lay it down for you. When you use popular hashtags like #momlife or #momboss you are competing against the millions of other people using the same ones. In turn, your posts are most likely getting buried in the results.
In contrast, by doing a little research in your niche, you can find out which hashtags are being used, but aren't saturated. When you aren't competing against everyone and their dog (that's a saying, right?), your posts are more likely to rise to the top of the search results.
For example, take a look at this visual from tailwind. The first search shows #mens which is totally over-used at over 3 million posts. Next, you can see that #mensstreet is super targeted at 3,572 posts. This is okay, but could be limiting your reach. Lastly, #mensstreetwear is right in the sweet spot at 59,612 posts. Make sense?
Bonus tip: I cash in all 30 hashtags and I post them in the first comment. You'll hear different advice on this, but that strategy has returned great results for me.
#9: Vary Your IG Username & Name
Ever notice you can have TWO searchable names on Instagram? Your username and your searchable name. Having different names allows for more people to find you. For your username, use your birth name or business name. For the account name, use keywords your avatar would be searching for.
For example, Mary Smith (who isn't famous... yet) might use 'Traveling on a Budget with Mary' as her name. This is easy to change later, and her username Mary Smith can remain timeless.
So. Freaking. Important. I used to create content based on whatever I was excited about. I'd launch it and... crickets... why is nobody buying I'd wonder. Over and over again I'd make this mistake. Until that day that goes down in history (at least in my book) when I... wait for it... created my first Facebook poll. What felt like the entire community piped in and voted. They couldn't wait to submit their input and results showed a huge demand for training on a topic I hadn't even considered!
Best part? When I started taking action on what they WANTED, I started selling more. Happy community, happy pocket-book. #winning
Now? I ask my community often what they wantand need to learn. I ask them what they are enjoying and which podcast topics are lighting them up... so I can do MORE of what is actually working for THEM. Not only does this keep my community happy, fulfilled and coming back for more, but it gives me ongoing fresh ideas for content creation!
#11: Link all of Your Social Media Accounts
Make sure your fans can find you everywhere. Okay, maybe not everywhere that could get creepy, but anywhere you want to be found, online.
Cross-posting allows you to share your amazing posts from one platform to another. If you're already doing the work on Instagram for example, simply enable the Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr share links and wa-la, you've just cross-promoted yourself on four platforms! Boom.
When I spend valuable time crafting a podcast for example, I share it across every platform I can. All the podcast distribution networks, including iTunes, plus I share it on my FB page, FB groups, IG, IG stories, YouTube, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter accounts.
Yes, it's work. But it's worth it if you're really after targeted exposure!
#12: Post Content When Engagement is Highest
You can win over the algorithm by posting when your audience is most active. As much as I'd like to tell you exactly when this is, it really varies by account. It depends on your brand, when your followers typically log on, and when they are engaging.
You can quickly figure out when your engagement is highest by going into your IG analytics and searching by 'Audience', then by 'Followers'. Look at the days and hours to gauge when your peeps are most active.
You can see an example of the IG analytics below, courtesy of buffer.com.
#13: Add a Swipe Up Link to IG Stories
Inside of Instagram stories, you can add a swipe up feature and link an external website. OMG, say what?! Yassss, girl, yassss. Before the swipe up feature, your only clickable link was in your bio. This made it confusing as you had to decide whether to change up your link every time you wanted to promote something new (like your latest blog post for example).
NOW? All ya gotta do is head over to IG stories and tell your community to swipe up. Freaking obsessed.
Only caveat is that you must have over 10,000 followers to enable this super neat feature.
#14: Use IG Stories & Categorize, Using Highlights
Okay, so I've been ranting about all the features of IG stories but I haven't flat out said... ya gotta utilize stories, OFTEN. During the week, I post in stories probably no less than 15 times... a day. Yup. A day.
Why? When people get to have an inside look at their favorite brand or person, you better believe, they be peekin'! My stories get more views than most of my feed posts. Which rocks because my stories are authentically me. They showcase a blend of your real-life vs. the pretty, often staged, filtered, and fluffy feed pictures. At least it's definitely that way for me.
I also generate more engagement through my stories than anywhere else. I ask questions, run polls, and basically have a ton of fun. I don't limit myself in stories and I allow my hot-mess-mama-self to shine. Why? Because my avatar is also a mama boss running a business, raising kids, and chasing her dreams. This works. Try it!
The next step after you get comfortable using stories is to create categories. This neat feature allows you to bundle your stories by category and saves them up at the top of your feed for all of your followers to stalk, I mean see. Such a beautiful thing. They are easy to set up and in my opinion add to the visual appeal of your profile.
Start with 3-5 categories that contribute to your brand. Make sure these categories will resonate with your target audience.
#15: Use a Call to Action
Using a call to action (or CTA) is supppper important. This is when you tell your target market to take a specific action.
Every-time you do a video or blog post, you are giving value or telling a story, right? Drawing your market in while teaching them something awesome. Helping to make their lives better... yes?
Think about what you want from your audience. Do you want them to come and join your group? Visit your website? Claim a freebie or opt-in? Without using a call to action, you are giving value without asking your audience for anything in return and... you may or may not hear from that person again. Bummer.
In contrast, when you use a specific CTA, you can capture email addresses, collect members for your groups, and continue to further the relationship.
Below is an example of a call to action I use in my blog posts. You should also check out the call to action at the bottom of this training. Wink-wink.
#16: Zone in on Your Niche and Ideal Avatar
How can you pour value into your target market and sell your products and services if you don't know WHO your ideal customer or client is? One of my favorite things to work on with my clients is defining their niche and creating their avatar because it has the power to completely shift their marketing, focus, and revenue.
Let's first talk about niche. Think about what you market and what your brand stands for. Instead of marketing to everyone, try to zone in on who your products BEST serve. Is it a certain demographic? Is it women, men, or children, specifically? WHY does this type of person need these products or relate to your brand?
Write all of this down.
Next, is to take it a step further and pull one, perfect client or customer out of that 'niche'. This exercise is fun. To identify this perfect person, craft an imaginary avatar. What is his/her name? Where do they live? What do they do? What do they eat/drink? Do for fun? How much income do they make? What are their strengths and weaknesses? Why do they love your products or services? What trigger points does your product or service solve for them?
Once you have this avatar created, you will know how to market to him/her, what they need from you, what type of value to create, and ultimately how to better SERVE your niche. I can't express how important this is for your success! And, you will bring in followers so much faster when you have consistent, specific marketing.
#17: Join Groups That Have Your 'Target Client' and Add Value
This is an easy, free way to create a bigger following. Head on over to Facebook and use the search bar to find groups with a similar niche and target market. For example, I would look for groups with the keywords 'mompreneur', 'female entrepreneur', 'mama boss', etc. I might also search by known influencers in my niche... 'Rachel Hollis' or 'Jen Sincero' are good examples of this.
Next, head into those groups and start sharing your value-added content. NOT SPAMMING. Lemme' repeat, no spam thank you ma'am.
I share my podcast episodes, free training videos, and my freebies. People have to like, know and trust you before they buy. Instead of repelling them with a freakishly pushy sales pitch, work on cultivating a real relationship. Groovy?
#18: Use Live Video
Are you thinking... no. freaking. way. I'm scared to get on camera! Ack!
Welp, that's what everyone else is thinking too, which means... this marketing method is wide open. Because video goes widely untapped, it has the MOST potential for your brand. Based on like, one trillion studies, video gets a ton more engagement than images, mkkay?
Not to mention, when you go live you appear right at the FRONT of the IG stories feed. Talk about free positioning.
I love to use live video in my FB community for webinars and trainings. It allows my girl-bosses to comment and engage with me in a new and fun way. I then save my live videos and cross-promote them on YouTube, IG TV, and my blog. Sometimes I even use them as evergreen sales webinars. Sweet right?
Remember when you were little and someone would tell a story while everyone was gathered around the cozy campfire? How enthralled everyone was? How you could almost see the story playing out as if it were really happening? That's because story-telling draws you in and opens your mind like nothing else can. It's no secret that everyone loves a good story.
So, sister-friend, it's time to start tapping into this magic on social media. Story telling is my jam. I use personal stories (and I mean personal) for blog posts, podcasts, feed posts, sales webinars, landing pages, opt ins, and everywhere else I post online.
Stories sell. They don't only sell 'stuff' and 'products', but they also sell YOU. Your authenticity shows through when you get vulnerable and gritty. The more you open up, the more people trust you. The more they can relate to you.
I have my clients write down the hardest and best moments of their lives. I mean dig in. You may feel embarrassed or shameful at first, but I can promise that you are the amazing light that you are because of those defining moments. The hard stuff shapes us, molds us, and helps us grow into our God-led potential.
The hardest and best moments ARE. THE. STORIES. Next, use those memories to create story-lines for your business, brand, and social media posts. Talk about the hard times, but don't forget to mention how you solved those problems, or how you moved forward.
#20: Get Comfy with Emojis and GIFs
Yo. Who doesn't love emojis ? and GIF's? It lightens the mood and I think, helps you look more relatable and approachable. Get comfy... they aren't going anywhere. The end.
#21: SEO is Your New BFF
I know. You've heard the term but probably aren't sure what it means or how to utilize it. At least that's how it was for me! Lemme' tell ya, SEO is super easy and it brings in the bacon when it comes to external followers and leads.
Search engine optimization (or SEO) is the simple activity of ensuring your content and website can be found in search engines based on words and phrases relevant to what you're offering. I totally had to look that definition up, btw.
So, plain English please.
Be sure to fill out the descriptions and titles of all of your content (blog posts, videos, podcasts, ads, etc). Use phrases and keywords that your avatar would be entering into search engines. Be as complete as possible. Now, there are some other ways to utilize SEO through agencies such as, paid search engine rankings or SEO optimization. However, simply having targeted keywords, searchable phrases, and sharable links makes you.... believe it or not... SEO approved. Check!
#22: Create Engagement Memes
One of the easiest ways to build engagement in your FB or membership groups is to create engagement memes. Not only is this super effective, but it takes such a small amount of time as you can schedule these posts (basically copy/pasting) many months in advance.
What is an engagement meme? It is a fun, interactive way to get your community involved. You can use questions, themes, or directives for each day. Be creative and remember your avatar when creating your memes.
For example, my avatar is a faith-based, female entrepreneur who is also a mama. Thus, my engagement memes focus on these areas. You can see some examples of the ones I use below for my Mompreneur Mastermind Group.
#23: Switch to a Business IG Profile so you Can Tap into Analytics
I semi-touched on this one before when we talked about optimal posting times, but there is so much more to analytics! First of all, ya gotta swap out your personal IG account for a business one so you can start seeing your account insights.
Next up, click the three lines at the top right of your home profile page. The insights will show you activity, content, and audience stats. You can use these stats to your advantage, big time.
I like to check out which of my posts have the highest engagement, the most comments and likes etc. That way I know what my community wants MORE OF. I create new content based on what's working. I also post at optimal times, as discussed in tip #12.
You can also use insights for location details. Where in the world is Carmen San Diego? No, but forreal... where in the world are YOUR followers? This can help you zone in and utilize geo-tagging to further your reach.
Believe it or not, over 90% of my website traffic comes from this one source. YEP, over 17,000 monthly site viewers... most of which come from Pinterest. No joke. The crazy part is that it takes less focus and attention than any other social media platform.
I literally post up a picture on Pinterest, share it across my personal boards as well as a handful of group boards. I link the picture to my blog or podcast episode (all of which have specific calls to action on them). I take care to use SEO in the picture descriptions, i.e. words that my avatar would be searching for, or problems she might have that my content solves.
One of the quickest ways to grow your following and tap into the elusive cold-market (without much hustle) is paid traffic. Running ads on FB and IG is easier than ever, but alas it takes money.
Now hear me out. With as little as $3-$5 a day, you can set up a targeted ad that brings in niche followers to your lead magnets, blog posts, or other value-add offers. As long as you have an entry level product (like an e-book or a low-priced affiliate product) you can EASILY offset the cost of running ads.
Wait, ready for the best thing ever? Once someone clicks your add, visits your website, or checks out your free content, you can set up a re-target ad where the conversion is gang-busters! Yassss!
This may sound over-whelming, but it's worth looking into. Paid ads have been a wonderful source of new community members (and customers) for me.
Need help? Consider my Facebook Ad Masterclass. In less than 2 hours you could have some ads up and running!
#26: Use Attraction Marketing
Attraction marketing is the art of selling and marketing using storytelling, results, pain points and solutions. Most often, without saying the specific name of the products, goods or services you are selling. This rule holds true especially if you are an affiliate marketer or network marketer.
Now, if you own all of your products and services, you can disregard that rule since the only place to buy is typically from you directly, and regardless or where they buy all profits end up back in your pocket (yay!).
So, why the heck would we NOT tell people the names of our products?! Have you ever been given a link to go purchase something and immediately you Google it? What is it, where can you get it for the best price... read allllll the reviews, etc.? I know that's what I do. Everytime. And embarrassingly, most often I buy based on the lowest price vs. the original link I found or was sent. Bad... I know. But I'm sharing that with you because your consumers are probably doing the same thing.
The beauty of attraction marketing is that people have to ASK YOU what the products or services are that created the solutions and testimonies you are sharing. It opens the doors to a private conversation and puts the ball in your court. You have a much higher chance of closing the sale when you find out the pain points of your potential customer or client and in a non-pushy, relatable way, offer up some ideas for solving those problems.
Engagement driver secret numero uno... let your audience give you feedback, ideas, options, and tell ya what they WANT. Seriously, who doesn't love giving their two cents? I know I do!
When I put up a poll or ask a question in my community I get TONS of engagement. AND, it gives me insight into what they are loving, what's working, and what they want more of. When I'm giving my avatar what she wants, she keeps coming back for more.
Take this poll for example... I was ready to create a new freebie and wasn't sure what my community really wanted. Welp, turns out they wanted BOTH how to drive engagement AND build a following. Thus, this training was born.
Side note: This training has been my most successful one, to date! I think we are onto something here, don't you?
#28: Add Video Subtitles and Captions
Are you a visual or audible person, or would you rather read? For me, it depends on where I am, how loud my kids are being (haha), and other extenuating circumstances. I prefer visual and audible, if possible.
If you ask around, you're going to find that not everyone consumes information in the same way. That's why you want to cover all your bases. When I create a video ad, not only do I add subtitles, but I also paraphrase the video content in the description. Why? Because I don't want to miss out on capturing my avatar simply because she's a reader, not a watcher.
This is a simple hack to cast your net just that much wider. Wink.
#29: Convert your Social Media Followers into Email Followers and Vice Versa
This one is easy. When you are sending out an email to your list, simply add a call to action at the end asking your peeps to come and join your Facebook community, or subscribe to your YouTube channel, or wherever else you have a presence.
You are the crossing guard, direct traffic, babe! Same goes for social media. Simply tell your community you have an insider list where they can get __________ (insert awesome content ideas here)! This works like a charm and allows your audience to see more of YOU which builds trust faster. High trust creates repeat clients and customers.
I can't tell you how many super hot car selfies I've thrown up as my profile picture in the past 10 years, but there came a day when, alas... I turned a new leaf (yes, even amidst the amazing lighting) and opted for something more professional. When you discover that the caliber of your branding attracts the caliber of your client, you'll level up.
Personal branding is an entirely separate beast, which you can dig into here, or here.... but let me give you some tips to get started:
Define your brand style. This includes a consistent color scheme, logo, style, and voice. Next, create a mission statement paragraph and lay out your personal brand's intention. You'll also need to craft an avatar description which I talked about in tip #16. Lastly, make sure ALLLLLLL of your social media platforms, website, blogs, ads, etc. are within brand. This means new banners, cohesive posts, consistent messaging that is targeted to the RIGHT client while using a voice that is yours and yours alone.
When you create branding that lights you up, your passion shines through... bringing all the customers to the yard.
Before you go, I wanted to say thank you for being a part of my girl-tribe. Each and every one of you was led to me for a purpose. I hope that you open your heart to God's call on your life, and leap into your greatest potential. I pray that you find balance in the 5 holy-grail areas of your best life... spirituality, mindset, health, family, and business.
I believe in you. I'm cheering for you. I'm here for you.
Love and light, Stef