While the number of followers you have online isn’t as important as the level of engagement and buy-in you have from them (it’s truly a quality over quantity game), it’s true that the more people you can get in front of, the more people you have the ability to potentially sell to.
So, let’s go over a few ways to start building your online presence! This ties in well with our post on best social media practises, which might be an even better place to start if you’re fairly new to the online world.
If you’ve already had some success online and are looking to get in front of more eyes, here are a few ways to make that happen.
Know your niche
A niche describes the group of people you want to attract to your page, and ultimately those who you hope will become customers. A niche is focused — it’s a specific group of people or an area of the industry that you serve very well.
It’s important to get really clear on who these people are, because they’ll form the foundation of your followers!
When someone stumbles upon your page, you have just a few seconds to convince them that you’re worth a follow, so you need to make it clear that you are.
Consider: Who is your book for? Who is your ideal reader? What do they love? What do they hate? What language are they using? What problems are they facing? What are they searching for? How can you help alleviate those problems?
You want to get so clear on this audience that you can speak directly to them. Generally, the more specific, the better.
For example, we produce content specifically for relatively new or aspiring authors who are looking to self-publish their books. They need support and guidance on best practises for writing and publishing their book, but still want to DIY parts of the process and have their say in the final product. This is what most of our content is focused on!
There can be a tendency to want to serve everyone, but that’s simply not realistic! In order to really serve people well, you need to really target your efforts and content.
Although it might seem backwards to reduce the number of people you’re speaking to in order to gain more followers, you’ll end up attracting more of the right people which is really the goal anyways.
Show up consistently
Doing the initial social media page and profile set-up is a great first step. However, if you set up the profile and then post inconsistently on it, two things will happen:
- The people who follow you initially are going to forget about you and/or unfollow you because of perceived lack of value, and
- New potential followers who stumble upon your page won’t bother following you because they want to learn from people who are committed and showing up regularly.
As the name suggests, social media needs to be social. Think of your online audience like any other relationship in your life: you need to check in with them regularly!
If you were in a relationship that seemed very one-sided, how would you feel? Probably not great! If your followers are supporting you with a follow (and especially if they’re engaging with the content you put out there), you owe it to them to be consistent in the value you’re reciprocating with.
Now, that consistency can look different to everyone and there’s no set standard of how often you need to show up. But, in general if you can commit to sharing and showing up a couple of times a week your audience will likely thank you for it.
Plus, the more you post, the more opportunity you have to get in front of new audiences! Your content might end up on a discover page, or a piece of content might strike a chord with followers and they might share it with their audience.
Build the KLT factor
KLT stands for the ‘know, like and trust’ factor, and this is something that’s really important to be aware of when you’re in the online space.
People want to connect and purchase from people they (you guessed it) know, like and trust. For someone to go from a stranger on social media to a loyal fan, they need to:
- Get to know you
- Start to like you
- Build trust with you
Think about this in your own life. How often do you purchase from a company whose values don’t align with yours? Or purchase from someone you’ve never heard anything about? Or buy a book from an author you don’t enjoy reading or don’t resonate with? Probably not very often!
If you want to gain a following, you need to establish that sense of alignment and trust with your audience.
We’ve already talked about a few of the ways you can start to develop the KLT factor online, including showing up consistently, and getting clear on messaging so those that resonate immediately feel heard and seen. You’ll also want to engage with your audience by asking them questions, and responding back to their comments.
Another great way to develop rapport online is showing your face, which yes, means posting images of yourself and not just your book!
Challenge yourself to share snippets of your personal life so people can see the behind the scenes and get to know you more, or to share videos of yourself where you read parts of your book, or share about the writing process.
The more people see your face, the more they’ll be able to get a sense of your personality, and the more they’ll be able to connect with you (which will lead to more followers and again, potentially more sales).
You can also develop trust by sharing reviews and testimonials, which act as social proof that you’re already helping people (whether it’s by educating them, entertaining them, or inspiring them).
Share valuable content that others want to re-share
Serving your current audience will do wonders for you, but you want to ensure that some of the content you’re posting is “shareable” so that you have the opportunity to get in front of new audiences as well.
Think about what makes you hit the share button on Facebook, the retweet button on Twitter, or what makes you want to send an Instagram post to a friend or family member.
Likely, this post offered you value in some way. It inspired, or entertained, or educated you in a way that really resonated and made you want to share with others.
There are a variety of ways you can add this value into your own content strategy, but here are a few examples:
- Quotes that are relevant to your audience or ideal reader
- Tips that have helped you on your journey
- A sneak peek into your book or writing process
- An inspirational thought
- Something funny to brighten someone’s day (still keeping it relevant to your audience)
- Sharing another book, podcast episode, or resource that you found valuable
- Re-sharing content that has done well for your competitors but with your own spin or take (not copying, unless you’re asking permission and giving them credit)
- Telling a relatable story or about part of your journey that might help someone else
This is a great infographic from HubSpot with more tips from experts on how to create shareable content.
The bottom line in creating shareable content is that if you produce something that someone else wants to share, you’re now not only getting in front of the eyes of your current followers, but their followers as well.
Up until now we’ve only discussed ways to grow your following organically, meaning through your own efforts and resources alone.
However, if you feel like you’ve exhausted those efforts and aren’t having much luck, it may be worth it to look into the paid opportunities for exposure that you have available.
Most social media platforms including Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest offer the ability for you to pay to have your posts “boosted” or “promoted.” This means that for a generally low fee (which you can set based on your budget), you can have your content pushed out in front of more audiences.
If you decide to go this route, ensure that you do some testing first with low dollar amounts and see what the results are before you put too much money into it! (As well, be sure to read the fine print and decide for yourself if this is right for you.)
It’s important to recognize that while this will definitely get your content in front of new eyes, it doesn’t guarantee that those new eyes will become followers.
This can however be particularly helpful during a launch as it will expand the awareness around your book and may capture the attention of more people than you could organically.
As we said at the beginning, it’s important not to put too much weight behind your follower number – instead focusing on nurturing the audience you already have so that they want to support, connect, and purchase from you.
However, if you feel you’ve already exhausted your current followers and are looking to get in front of new people these strategies may assist you in doing so.0