While large businesses already have a strong brand image, smaller and newer businesses, or individuals have to build it.

And social media being personalized, cost-effective, engaging, and trackable medium is one of the best ways to do it.

In its recent survey, Econsultancy found that social media is one of the top five digital channels to generate marketing ROI.

Now you want to tap into this opportunity and use social media to build a sustainable sales channel.

But first, what you’ll need is—followers.

And you want ‘real followers’ who are genuinely interested in your product, service, or content.

You don’t want followers acquired via shady means (click farms). You may get the volume but these followers will neither engage with your content nor make a purchase—ever.

You need ‘real followers’ who believe in you and will become loyal customers in the long run.

And in this article, we’ll show you to get these followers on social media platforms that are important to you. But first, here are three things that you must know:

A. Target audience—who do you want to engage?

By target audience, we mean people who you can help, entertain, or inspire. People who will eventually buy your product, subscribe to your service, watch your movie, listen to your song, or vote for you.

First thing you need to do is—define your audience. Who is a typical user?

For example—say your little handicraft facility creates high-quality leather bags for working professionals. Then your typical buyer is—a male working professional, aged between 25-50, earning USD 50,000-150,000 per year, and interest in classic fashion.

Try and get down to the last detail of your buyer—what do they like to do, what are their challenges, where do they hang out, where else do they like to spend their money, and so on.

In marketing jargon, this is called creating ‘user personas’.

Action Item A: If you already have customers, try and create a user persona in as much detail as possible. Write this down on a blank paper. If possible, talk to your customers and learn more about them.

B. Buying Process—when do you want to engage?

Let’s say you have understood who your target audience is. Now you need to figure out why you need them as social media followers and where does social media fit in the buying process.

If your reason to acquire social media followers is—because everyone’s doing it—then go back to the drawing board.

Do you want to acquire your target audience as social media followers so that you can promote your products and they make a purchase in the future?

Or you want to acquire your existing customers so that you can influence them to become repeat customers.  

For example—a new cosmetics company will probably want their target audience as social media followers. The brand will engage these followers with engaging content—such as beauty tips, etc.—and influence them to purchase their products after a series of 10-15 posts.

On the other hand, a well-known brand like Coca-cola will try and engage their customer base with entertaining (funny ads) or inspiring content (CSR initiatives) to maintain brand loyalty and ensure repeat business.

Understanding the buying process and the role of social media will also help with content ideation. For example—if you are acquiring potential customers, your content will probably be helpful/entertaining content related to the follower’s interests. On the other hand, if you are acquiring customers as followers, you can engage them with tips on how to use the product better.

C. Audience Pool—where do they hang out?

Broadly, we will assume that your target audience hangs out on social media. But there are so many popular sites—Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, and so on. Which one should you target?

For example—if you sell cosmetics, you’re more likely to find your target audience on Instagram. Because interested customers are more likely to be influenced via visuals. And Instagram focuses on images and videos.

Similarly, if you’re a politician and want to share your thoughts with citizens, Twitter is where you should be. Because Twitter is where people read opinions and thoughts, and get text-based updates. Unlike Instagram, Twitter is a micro-blogging platform focusing on text-based content.

Choosing a relevant platform doesn’t mean that you cannot be on more than one social media site. For example, Facebook allows you to post photos, videos, text, and even events. You can be on both Instagram and Youtube if you have video-based content.

But choose your primary platform and maybe have presence on others.

Action Item C: Identify the top three social media platforms where your target audience is active.

Now that you understand the who, where, and where of your target audience, it’s time to know the ‘how’—how to acquire real followers on social media.

We have compiled a list 15 latest tactics to help you:

1. Keep profile handle simple and easy-to-remember

This tip applies when setting up. Make sure your username or profile name or handle is simple and easy to understand. This will make it easy for people to remember you and find you online.

For example—‘IndependentMelvin’ is much better than ‘[email protected]’.

real followers social media: simple username


If you’re planning to become famous by acquiring millions of followers, your profile ID should be a brand name. Not a combination of your name, birthday, special characters, and dog’s name.

Second—be consistent. Use the same or at least similar usernames across all your social media profiles.

For example—if your Instagram handle is ‘TechnologyTrends’ keep your Twitter and Facebook usernames similar. They shouldn’t be distinct such as ‘TechnoWizards’.

Third—make sure your profile ID is unique and not similar to other accounts. Copying popular accounts might get you a few ‘mistaken’ followers. But if you want to be a real brand with real followers—think of a unique brand name.

Action Item D: Think of a brand name suitable to your product. If you are your brand, then the profile handle should be your name. If you have a long name, use a recognizable nickname.

2. 360-degree presence of your profile handle

This is probably the most important tip.

Now that you have a good profile handle. Put it—everywhere.

If another account uses your content, ask them to mention you.

If you meet someone in person, say ‘Hey! Follow @_____ on Instagram’. This is where the simple handle will come handy.

If you write emails, make sure the social media links are in your signature.

If you’re the brand, put your profile handle on one of your t-shirts.

If you do printed promotions—product packaging, flyers, business cards, posters, magazine ads, etc.—print your handle.

Or better yet add a Social Media QR Code. When scanned, this QR Code will give the user a choice to follow you on their favorite social media site. Scanning a QR Code is now easier than typing the entire URL or profile handle.

real followers social media: QR Code

Or better yet add a Social Media QR Code. When scanned, this QR Code will give the user a choice to follow you on their favorite social media site. Scanning a QR Code is now easier than typing the entire URL or profile handle.

The point is—in all customer touch-points, make sure they get a way to reach your social media profile and follow you. Including print media.  

Besides online promotions, make optimal use of print media.

3. Balance informational and promotional content

Maintaining a balance between informational and promotional content is important. Why?

It is a fact that businesses or brands that share information (informers) have a higher following than the ones who only post promotional content (meformers).

real followers social media: balance promotional and informational content

Here’s how you can do it—

Say you’re a cosmetic brand. Rather than adding 10 promotional posts every day, add 8 informational posts on how to apply makeup. Or how to maintain a good skin-care routine.

It will help the audience know that you’re good at what you’re doing.

Then use the two remaining posts, for promotional content.

Further, besides creating original content, consider sharing other’s content (obviously after giving them credits).

Talking only about yourself on social media can be a turn-off for the audience. So give them varying yet relevant content.

They can then see that it’s not only about you but about their interests too.

4. Schedule the messages at the right time

For every social media network, there are hours when users are most active. Sharing your posts/messages during these hours increases the likelihood of engaging the audience.

For example—if your target audience is B2B working professionals, post majority content during working hours. Because that’s when they’ll look for relevant products/services and take a decision.

On the other hand, if you’re targeting consumers (for products such as clothing), post between say 8 PM to 10 PM. Why? Because these are leisure hours when they’re likely to engage with your products.

5. Mind the hashtags

You know what a hashtag is and have used one on social media posts.

Hashtags is what makes you discoverable. Even if you have no followers, hashtags can put you in front of the right audience.

So spend time finding relevant hashtags. You can use online services such as Best Hastags to find a list of popular hashtags relevant to your product, service, or topic.

Simply enter the words you need hashtags for. Copy the result and paste it in your posts.

Also, consider creating customized hashtags while promoting a new product or service. These hashtags are specific enough to boost your brand visibility and acquire loyal followers.

6. Be responsive

When people engage with a post and take efforts to comment, reciprocate.

Say you buy a hair dryer and it stops working in a week. You shared a product review highlighting the issue.

An hour later, a customer-care executive responds to the issue and helps you get the product replaced. Will you then want to make a purchase with the brand in the future? Yes, you will. Because now you know that the brand cares.

It is a fact that customer’s intent to make a purchase increases manifold when the brand is responsive.

Politicians and celebrities who respond to fans are more likely to get more followers than those who don’t.

7. Run ads to boost your reach

If you have a business, you need customers. And these ads take your products and services to a huge crowd.

Now ads need you to put money. But if you’re making five times more than expenditure, ads make sense.

And once people make a purchase, make sure they come back again. How?

Link your social media account to product packagings and carry bags.

8. Get influencers to promote your products

Social media influencers have a lot of relevant followers. Even getting mentioned by an influencer can help you get many followers.

Find out influencers relevant to your industry using tools such as Discover.ly.

Follow these influencers, share their posts, engage with them, and try to get them to promote your product. How?

Send them free product samples and ask them to share their reviews on social media.

Though some of them might charge you a fee, the ones who really like the product might do it for free.

9. Host competitions

Say you’re a cosmetic brand looking forward to acquiring followers and decide on running an online competition amongst the customers.

You ask them to follow your social media profile to be eligible to participate in the competition. And they need to post a selfie with the product and use your unique hashtag (say—#BelleCosmetics). Top 5 pictures with maximum likes and comments win.

What will happen next is—customers willing to participate in the competition will start following you.

People who’re not your customers yet but are interested in cosmetics will see the products. And even they might end up following you.

Many brands such as Dove are already doing it. Dove hosted ‘Real Beuty Must Be Shared’ contest on Facebook.

Participants had to post a friend’s picture stating what makes her beautiful.

The winners got to be the next faces of Dove. This did not only give real and genuine brand faces to Dove but also helped them their existing customers to follow them.

10. Offer an incentive to the followers

Say you’re an apparel store. And want people coming to the store to follow you on social media.

Now whoever comes to the store wants to buy clothes. And if you give them a discount, their chances of making a purchase will increase.

Tap into this opportunity and put up a poster in the store. A poster that encourages customers to follow you on social media and get discount coupons in return.

And just like other print media promotions mentioned in point 5, make your poster actionable.

11. Optimize your website and blog

Do you already have a website where you get decent traffic? Great!

Add social media buttons to it with a CTA such as—Connect with us on Twitter! Users willing to stay updated will follow you on social media.

real followers social media: webpage

You can even add social sharing buttons to your blog. Why?

Say a reader likes your content and wants to share it with her friends. She’ll have to copy the webpage link, open the social media app, paste the link, and finally share it.

It’s a tedious process. And the user might skip doing it.

But social sharing buttons will make it easier for her to share your content online. Though it will not earn you real followers directly, people who genuinely like your content will eventually follow you.

12. Reach out to the subscribers

Do you have a list of subscribers whom you regularly send content (such as newsletters) to?

Help them know about your social media presence.

Add all the social media links to your newsletters. And ask people to follow you there.

If they open the emails to read the content, they’ll probably follow you on social media too.

13. Analyze your posts

Analyzing your posts helps you monitor which of them performed well and which didn’t.

Use tools such as Google Analytics to analyze your traffic.

See which posts have been successful. That means which ones attracted the most likes, comments, shares, and clicks.

See what do these posts have in-common and replicate them in the future.

Similarly, see which posts did not perform well and avoid them in the future.

14. Cross-pollinate your accounts

You’re probably handling multiple social media accounts together. And you would’ve seen that the rate of getting new followers varies across different social media platforms.

Cross-pollinate your accounts. It will ensure that people following you on one social media follow you on others as well.

There are multiple ways to do it.

For example—if you’re on Instagram, take a screenshot of your Instagram handle. And post it on Facebook with caption—On Facebook? Us too!! Let’s connect (Instagram profile URL).

15. Add pictures of people

People love seeing other people. Posts with real faces have a personal touch and are better at attracting engagement.

So post pictures of real users wherever possible.

For example—rather than adding standalone pictures of your products, add the ones wherein people are using them.

Or share pictures of people gathered at your office party.

It will make your profile look more personal and not stuffed with ‘markety’ material.

These are fifteen ways you can get real followers on social media.

Besides acquiring new followers, keep the existing ones engaged. It will help you keep your audience satisfied and build the brand reputation.

Try these and let us know which one worked the best for you!


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