Here it is: the post to help you grow more fans and followers. You should know that I preach quality over quantity. I’d rather you have an engaged audience of 50 who devour your every post than 50,000 people who don’t give a $h!t.
Truth is, there are tons of people selling fake fans and followers online. I compare them to merchants selling magic weight loss pills or get rich quick schemes—there aren't too many shortcuts to success. I care more that you learn and understand the fundamentals of sustainable success with social media. Thus, the only real “growth hack” here is Step 5.
1. Start with why
This is business advice from Simon Sinek's TED talk and subsequent book. People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. So…
Why are you using social media?
Why did you become an artist?
We love to subscribe to a cause or movement (#IceBucketChallenge). People (especially millennials) are much more apt to follow if you’re purpose-driven versus using social media for attention, vanity, or fame. Your “why” for using social media could be “to best stay in touch by instantly sharing updates” or “to reach and impact the most amount of people.”
Funnel your artistic calling into your social media. For example, a recent client’s “why” for becoming a comedian was “to heal the world through laughter.” You can actually heal the world using social media. Twitter, Vine, and YouTube are great platforms for rising comedians.
Define your why ASAP. It’s a big ongoing job, but a huge life compass and people magnet.
2. Get your s#!t together
I'm so tired of seeing terrible DIY websites. I recommend Do YOU (Your Own Updates) instead. Unless you know branding and website development, hire a pro to package your product!
Your website should be your dream home. You website presents your best self—even when you're sleeping. Invest in a website like you do in headshots. It’s working for you 24/7.
In the same way, design your social and industry channels. I've heard firsthand that casting is Googling you and leveraging YouTube. Designed social channels should lead people to your website, and vice versa. Each channel is a different room in your growing online empire.
3. Share great content
This is most important. Your daily posts make a huge impact and impression on your existing connections. Don't forget your daily posts also have the potential to be seen by the world!
Content is king! To create great content, focus on adding value and creating share-worthy posts. Aim for the retweet. “Share” is the new “like”!
Honestly, content is the best way to win fans (and/or influence casting).
By this point you may be overwhelmed. “Oh my God, Tony! You're asking me to build a website, clean up my profiles, and create share-worthy content?!” Yes. I am. The Internet is your new global stage. Are you ready?
However, it’s social. You have to interact and engage, not just broadcast. Think of this as a blessing! Take some of the pressure off of yourself to create share-worthy content. Let other people create it for you!
Like acting, start by listening and reacting. I’d encourage you to be generous with your likes and comments. Give out lots of red hearts, blue thumbs up, and gold stars—but don't be obsequious (or kiss anyone’s @$$). Do you.
Be choosy and gracious with your shares. Remember how content is king? When sharing someone else’s content, always credit the source. When reposting something you're tagged in, always share some gratitude. Be the awesome and relatable human that you are!
One additional way you can gain followers through engagement is to search relevant hashtags or tagged locations and join the conversation. (You're on Broadway and liked my photo?! #BigFan!)
5. Follow + unfollow
OK...this is my least favorite. However, it is slowly effective.
Using a tool like Crowdfire, you follow a group of potential new fans. Using the same tool, you then unfollow those people a few days later. Statistics show that 33 percent of people follow back when followed. (Your percentage will depend on how well you've designed your channels in Step 2 and created content in Step 3.)
Now you may be asking who should you follow and then (maybe) unfollow? I’d suggest you start with your address book. You have more friends and fans than you know. If you want to continue, I’d copy the followers of a similar colleague. Finally, you can also use Twitter analytics to find out more about your existing followers. What celebrities/brands are the majority of your tweople following? Copy their followers.
Hopefully that helps set you up in ways beyond buying fans and followers. A key takeaway from Steps 3–5 is that you have to give in order to get (#SocialKarma).
This modern casting factor of social following/influence is nothing new. My friend Julian Franklin said it best: “Entertainers have always had their worth determined by the crowds they draw. The crowds they draw stems, in large part, by the level of their talent. It is not one or the other. It is a self-reinforcing circle.”
How do you attract new fans and followers? Comment below!
Tony Howell is a digital strategist dedicated to helping you design your future—creating offline success from your online presence.