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Slow and Steady: Why It Takes Time to Build a Social Media Following

Building a social media following doesn't happen overnight. It takes consistent effort and time to see growth and engagement on your accounts.

When you’re launching your business’s social media accounts, it’s natural to want to grow immediately and get a big following right away. Social media allows you instant access to eyes on your content and products. That type of attention is valuable, yet hard to grow quickly.

Think of social media as building a relationship with your clients and followers. Like any relationship, it takes time to build trust and a rapport with social media users. While there are things you can do to boost organic follower growth, it can take months (or longer) of consistent activity to build up a solid, steady, engaged audience on your social channels.

How long does building a social media following take?

Short answer: It depends on the effort and resources you put in.

For example, NichePursuits reported that they were able to go from 0 to over 10,000 likes on Facebook in just over two weeks. However, they also spent almost $1,000 on a “like campaign” which put their page in the news feeds of users, giving them the visibility to have others like the page.

A few factors that can impact your growth rate:

  • Strategy – How often are you posting? Who is the audience you’re trying to target? These questions may seem obvious but having specific answers to them puts you in the right direction to start building a following.
  • Budget – It is more than possible to build your social media following for no cost; it’s just going to take longer. Ad campaigns like the one NichePursuits did can help boost your visibility to people outside your circle, for a price.
  • Engagement – Social media is about being social. Engage with your audience by asking them questions and talking to them in your comments and DMs. If people see you have a consistent flow of interactions, they’ll be more likely to follow you and join the conversation.
  • Consistency – Followers like to know how often they can expect content from you. Having a steady flow of content means you’re appearing in feeds more often and makes it more likely your followers will engage. If you only post once in a while, or when you feel there’s something important to say your followers may not remember what your page is.

Your following will grow faster as you accumulate more followers and they share your content.

According to Statista, accounts with less than 1,000 followers grow about 9.4% over a six-month period on average, while accounts with 10,000 to 1 million followers grow at a rate of 16%.

Can’t I just buy followers?

Sure. In life if you have a lot of money you can buy friends. But that doesn’t mean you have any sort of relationship with them. The number of followers you have means nothing, if they’re not engaging with you or supporting your business.

The accounts you buy are either bots or inactive accounts. They won’t interact with your posts and will dilutes the accuracy of your engagement analytics.  Instagram’s algorithm displays accounts with more engagement over accounts with more followers, so the number doesn’t really matter.

You could also lose your account. Buying followers is against Twitter and Instagram’s policy, which could subject them to banning or suspending your account, leaving you with no business at all.

Overall, it’s better to have 1,000 followers who are interacting with your content than 100,000 who do not.

Tips for growing your account organically

  • Complete your profiles. When writing your social media page, don’t just paste links to your main site. Put some personality into it! Your page will be easier to search for and makes it original. As time goes on be sure to update your profiles, if your hours, location, logo or any general information changes.
  • Connect with other industry leaders. You can start a dialogue and making relationships by sharing and posting about other industry leader’s content. This can bridge your two audiences as well as start beneficial connections for your business.
  • Use hashtags. Hashtags make it easier for your posts to be searchable and therefore exposes you to an audience having a larger conversation.
  • Share unique content. Not everything on your page needs to be directly related in your business. See a funny meme? Retweet it! Have a video that always makes you laugh? Share it! Posting different types of content makes you more memorable to your followers.

Building a social media following from scratch can be a frustrating experience, but with patience and consistent content, it’s worth it in the long run.

Need a hand with social media? Check out our social media management packages or contact us to learn more about how Lightning Media Partners can help you organically grow your followers and engagement.

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Dan Casarella

Dan Casarella

Dan Casarella is a freelance writer who formerly worked in late-night television. He’s produced many celebrity segments and once had a dove thrown in his face. Dan studied Media Studies and Production at Temple University also enjoys running, reading, and the highs and lows of Philadelphia’s sports teams.