Tips to Improve Your Business’s Social Media Following (Without Buying Followers)

It is no secret that social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have revolutionized digital marketing. These platforms allow anyone to reach a global audience with a few clicks of a mouse. Better yet, social media is cost-effective, returning positive results at a fraction of the expenses associated with print and television advertising. Modern Internet marketing strategies must incorporate a broad and robust social media presence; to do without is a recipe for failure in today’s connected world. The temptation exists to buy followers on the most popular platforms, but smart digital marketers know there is a better way forward. In this guide to social media marketing, we will explore ways to attract followers organically, skipping the ineffective and potentially expensive practice of buying those followers.

Buying Social Media Followers?

Social media platforms make it easy to create a brand or company profile and get it in front of potential followers. There are many ways of attracting followers, but many companies – especially at first launch on social media – are tempted by the opportunity to purchase some of those initial followers. Numerous third-party service providers offer this option to buy followers, often for just a few dollars per thousand followers. Is this one of the legitimate internet marketing strategies, or are there significant drawbacks to this practice?

Pros of follower-buying include:

  • Low relative cost
  • Fast engagement
  • Impressive performance metrics

The drawbacks, however, outweigh any potential benefits. There are many drawbacks to the practice of buying followers, including:

  • Most purchased followers are fake accounts created by bots or by users who are simply interested in gaining followers of their own.
  • While early engagement is strong, that engagement falls off quickly.
  • Purchased followers, if they are real accounts, are not likely to remain loyal or active for long.
  • Performance metrics can become skewed, especially as dummy or bot accounts are purged by the social media platforms. 
  • It is a practice that is frowned upon and may run afoul of community guidelines which can result in a ban on that platform. 

Authenticity: the Key to Organic Engagement

Success in social media depends on audience engagement. The number of followers a given company has is far less important than the likes, comments, and shares those followers generate. While this activity has no direct influence on search engine ranking, it has been demonstrated that companies with active social media followings tend to rank higher in search results. Audience engagement, then, can have powerful and long-term positive effects on the prospects of a company’s online presence. How can a company leverage this tool in the Internet marketing strategies toolkit?

The key is authenticity. A company can create posts, share images, and upload video content to most social media platforms with ease. In each of these posts, the company can engage in brand-building efforts that showcase that company’s strengths, personality, and uniqueness. These attributes resonate with followers, giving them a better understanding of what a company is and what it stands for. When target audiences see a given company as authentic, it builds trust, and those followers are more likely to share information about that company with their friends. 

A personalized approach goes a long way toward building trust and authenticity into your social media presence. What does that personalized approach entail? There are several components, including:

  • Responding to followers – it is critical that companies speak directly to their followers by responding to questions or comments. By doing so, one can forge connections with followers, letting them know your company values their opinions. Other followers see this direct and personal engagement and are influenced positively by the experience.
  • Being active – to get the most out of social media, companies must post regularly – even daily if possible. A constant stream of new content keeps audiences engaged and gives them the chance to learn something new about the company and its products and services. Dormant social media profiles lose followers, while those perceived as active tend to be view as more authentic and more trustworthy, bringing in new followers.
  • Being creative – people respond to creative social media posts, regardless of the type of content being posted. Injecting humor into posts is a great way to boost engagement, as is including high-quality images and text-based details about company news, new products, or the services your followers may wish to learn about.
  • Leveraging video content – video content typically provides the best engagement among social media followers. Videos are appealing to the eye, and more and more successful companies are seeing big returns on investment when they include videos as part of their social media presence. Live videos are even more impactful; in several studies, it has been shown that people spend about three times longer watching a live video stream than they would a pre-recorded video segment. 

Final Thoughts on Social Media Following

Among Internet marketing strategies, social media currently holds a powerful position. Social media has transformed digital marketing, bringing companies and customers together in myriad ways. Building an audience doesn’t have to be difficult, nor does it have to be expensive. By creating and sharing engaging content and making personal connections with followers, companies can see dramatic improvements in their social media presences. Buying followers may seem like a good idea on the surface, but for long-term success on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook, smart companies can use the tips above to bring in followers organically – the hallmark of an authentic, trustworthy business operation. 

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