I want to start this post by saying, for most people I probably have a small following. Some may even consider it tiny, but you know what, I’m okay with that. I may not be a huge viral sensation or be blowing people out of the water each and every day, but I’m still growing, and I’m still getting business, and most importantly I’m PROUD of this little business of mine because I built it myself. That’s pretty awesome, right?
I don’t think a small following is something to be ashamed of. In fact I think it gives us a whole ton of opportunities that bigger accounts may not be able to do, like:
1. Small followings allow you to really know your followers
You have the opportunity to really know each of your followers on a more personal level. There’s no way that the blogger with 500,000 followers knows each and every one of them, and that’s okay, she’s not expected to. But what an awesome opportunity you may have to help generate a community with a smaller group of people and form some very real friendships. You’ll see the same people showing up for you everyday and genuinely taking interest in your content and they will start to be the foundation for your following in general. You can set a precedent from the beginning on how you treat followers and how you engage with others on social media, and this will continue as your following grows.
2. Small followings allow you to try out different ideas
You may still be finding your voice or style for your content and how wonderful that you don’t have to worry about messing up or doing something that doesn’t quite work in front of a whole slew of people. Instead you can test out different things, find what YOU like and don’t like, and really start to nail down what your business and brand is going to look and sound like from here on out. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there for fear of judgement, but rather embrace this chance to find out what’s going to work for you in the long run.
3. Small followings allow you to NOT focus on social media
I’m over here trying to up my Instagram strategy this year and yet I keep seeing all of these larger accounts talking about how their business resolution is to use the app less. It’s no secret that some of these accounts have a large following because they’ve put many hours everyday into their social media accounts .Because of this, some of them are starting to regret not going out and doing things away from their phones more often. They are constantly getting messages, comments, likes, and follows and I’m sure their app is sometimes chaos. I like that I can turn off Instagram, go do something else with my day, and not worry about if people are trying to reach me constantly.
But I get it, there is appeal in the larger number of followers showing up beside your name. So I do have some tips for getting a few more names added to your list.
1. Engage, Engage, Engage
I say this all the time, but engagement is king. The main issue with social media these days is that your posts are only getting onto the feeds of a fraction of your followers, so if you already have a smaller number of followers that can hurt quite a bit. To combat this, engage with people in your industry that you look up to, people you would absolutely love to work with, and with other creatives that you admire. These three types of people are going to be the most beneficial to you in my opinion. Engaging with others in your industry helps you start getting associated with others and helps you start building your network. Engaging with people you’d like to work with helps introduce you to potential clients in the future. And engaging with other creatives may help bring you other followers outside of your typical circle.
When I talk about engagement, let me make myself a little more clear. I don’t mean just liking photos and moving on to the next post. I also don’t mean going through their feed and spamming them with 10 likes in a row. I tend to find that super intense when people do that to me and I usually don’t follow them back. And I also don’t mean leaving comments that are things like “Awesome” or “Cool” or just an emoji of some sort. When I talk about engagement I mean that you should be reading their captions, liking the posts you connect with, and commenting genuine comments that help start or further the conversation. People take notice of this sort of thing and the effort that has gone into it. Yes, it takes longer I suppose, but the point of social media is to make real connections, not to just speed through each other’s posts.
2. Take note of posts that gain attention
I find this to be super important when you have a small following. If you have a business account with Instagram you can easily see what posts are getting the most engagement, views, you name it. This can be a super useful tool in determining what your current followers are loving and what you should be posting more of in the future.
It’s also a good way to determine if you are attracting the right kind of followers. If you are posting several different types of content, like some fashion posts, a few beauty posts, and a few vacation posts, and you see that your beauty posts are getting the most attention but maybe you want your vacation posts to be the focus because you really want to be a successful travel blogger, then you could do 1 of 2 things. You could either put more attention on the beauty posts that are already taking traction because maybe you just have a gift for that and your followers can tell. OR, if you REALLY want the travel blogging to take off, it could mean that you should post a lot more travel content and less of the other categories.
People like to know what they can expect from your feed before they follow you, so help make your purpose clearer to them.
3. Reach out to people in your industry
This is something I truly believe in and I’ve heard it from other sources as well, so it must be true. Reaching out to other people in your industry can be a godsend. Building a network of like minded bloggers and entrepreneurs can not only empower you but they can also be a lifeline for your blog or business. If you are having genuine connections with people you can quickly make friends within your industry which makes this whole thing a lot less lonely. On the flip side of that, they can also be great resources to have when you are first starting out because they may refer followers or clients your way. Networking is always a positive, no matter what line of work you are in, so don’t be afraid to reach out to even bigger name people in your industry and suggest a virtual coffee date with them!
4. Focus on content creation
Okay so maybe you feel like you’ve already done all of the above. That’s awesome and I think you’ll start growing in no time. But even if you don’t grow HUGE, remember that’s totally okay. Take this time while you have a small following and really focus on the content you are creating and making sure it’s the best that it can be. Maybe this is the point in time in your business or blog where you really find your voice and brand. Maybe you really have to find your niche audience before you start growing. If you are a blogger, I think this is the best stage to really start putting out content and plumping up your blog posts so that you have a solid backbone of content when traffic starts coming to your site. If you are a business owner, start creating personal content that you would love to be booked for in the future. Flesh out your portfolio with the work that just makes your heart sing. If nothing else, I think this is the best stage to really find what makes you happy.
All this to say, having a small following is not the end of the world and having a large following is not the end goal. There are bonuses to both and, just like with any stage in life, embrace where you are in this moment and try to make the most out of it. Keep in mind, we all start with 0 followers, not everyone is a viral sensation, and slow growth is still growth.
What other tips have you come across that have helped you grow your following?