How to Grow an Online Following
Building a large and loyal audience on social media doesn’t happen overnight, or even after one viral video. Content creators with millions of followers pace themselves and don’t give up. If you’re looking to boost your online following, the...
Building a large and loyal audience on social media doesn’t happen overnight, or even after one viral video. Content creators with millions of followers pace themselves and don’t give up.
If you’re looking to boost your online following, the first step is to find a niche you can create intriguing content for. Once you have that niche, grow your following by posting regularly, engaging with your followers, and networking with fellow creators.
Finding Your Niche
If your goal is to grow an online audience, focus your content around a specific topic. In other words, find your niche and own it. Where can you offer expertise? What do you talk about effortlessly? What topics do you enjoy researching? Where do your passions naturally turn? As you answer these questions, ideas for niche topics should become fairly obvious.
As you accumulate niche content, you’ll begin to attract followers as an authority — and, hopefully, the best source of information — on the topic. For example, as a dental hygienist, I noticed an overwhelming lack of information on oral hygiene and decided to focus my social media content there. My content in this niche rapidly gained a large following. Pursue your passion, and people with an interest will follow.
Engaging Followers and Networking with Creators in Your Niche
Increasing your audience starts with engaging followers. Think of building an online audience like building a relationship. Your task is to create a back-and-forth conversation. Your content may be fascinating, but if you don’t offer people the chance to talk, they won’t stay long.
Entice your followers to share their thoughts, and when they respond with DMs and comments, answer them. When viewers see an active conversation, they’re more likely to join in on it.
Get to know other creators who post content in your niche. These people are not your competitors — they are your friends. Collaborating with them boosts your authority and excites your viewers. Making guest appearances on other channels and hosting experts on yours provides access to new audiences interested in your content.
Start networking with these creators by following their channels, liking their videos, and commenting on their posts. If you notice someone posting great content, share it and give them credit. When they reciprocate, build a relationship and make plans to collaborate. This positive atmosphere goes a long way toward attracting followers on social media platforms.
Posting Engaging Content
Posting niche information is not enough; your content has to be engaging enough to hook followers and keep them coming for more. Be an expert on your audience as well as your niche. For example, when I post to TikTok, I know I’m likely to reach followers between the ages of 16 and 24. I also know this audience is best targeted through a combination of humor and education.
I started by posting primarily comedic content in my niche. When I won a loyal audience, I began introducing more educational content by answering questions from followers and offering tips on dental hygiene.
Posting Consistent and Regular Content
If you hope to grow an online following, posting consistently is essential. Regular posts enable your content to rank higher in search engine results. Search engines index fresh content in your social media posts and display them when people search for those same keywords on search engines such as Google or Bing.
Posting regularly allows you to know your followers better. The more often you post, the easier it is to see which posts engage followers and which fall flat. You can establish patterns between the posts that attract new followers and higher views.
Designing content on a regular basis requires commitment. Success on certain social media platforms — such as Instagram or Pinterest — means posting multiple times a day. On TikTok, where I generate content, brands post an average of 1.8 videos per week, and the top 25% of active brands post content five times a week or more. Research finds a correlation between the frequency of your posts and the size of your audience. Accounts with 1,000-5,000 followers publish around one weekly video, while accounts with over 1 million followers post three or more.
When it comes to content, my advice is quality over quantity. However, quantity cannot be ignored. When you have chosen a platform, research how often the popular creators in your niche post, set a schedule for yourself, and stick to it.
Content batching is a technique that saves time, maintains consistency across your posts, and enables you to post regularly. Instead of planning your daily topic, shooting footage, creating graphics, editing, posting the content to your channel, then starting all over again the next morning, batching involves producing a week’s-worth of content at once.
Preparing a week’s worth of content at once may seem time-consuming, but it spares hours in the long run. When you engage in one task, rather than bouncing from one to another, you focus your energy and accomplish far more.
Remember, building your online audience takes commitment and dedication. Discover your niche, then post engaging and regular content. You’re in it for the long haul, so dig in, do what it takes, and don’t be discouraged.