Increase social media followers

When you look at most social media wisdom, it essentially boils down to a handful of main points:

  • Write good content.
  • Write interesting headlines.
  • Use compelling photos to enhance shareability.
  • Post frequently.

These are good recommendations, but newspapers and magazines have been using these same tactics for decades - and now they’re declining rapidly. So that’s not all of the answer.

What you put out doesn’t matter if the right people don’t see it

You can have the best, most compelling content around, and if your audience isn’t correct, it’s probably going to flop. To improve your effectiveness on social media, you need to increase the number of your followers - and do it strategically.

If you’re selling hearing aids to people over 50, there’s no point growing your followers in the 20-30 age range… unless your new marketing campaign is aimed at their adult children.

Paid or organic follower increase

There are two basic options for follower campaigns. You can aim for organic growth, where existing followers engage with or share your content so that their followers see and potentially choose to follow you. Or you can aim for paid growth, where you reach out to new audiences through targeted advertising and encourage them to follow you. Organic works best when your followers are solidly in your target market; if your followers are more diverse, you might need a strategy that relies heavily on paid advertising instead.


Build customer personas that match your target audiences, so you know who you’re trying to attract.

Research your target audience and pick out key characteristics that set them apart from other people. Turn these characteristics into a sketch of a persona with a name and personality that you can use to build a better connection.

More detailed playbooks about creating buyer personas

Carry out effective persona research
Create customer personas with real data
Build data-driven user personas
Create customer personas with real data
Use Make My Persona to define your audience

Pick social media channels to focus on, based on the platforms that your target audience frequent.

List the platforms you currently use, see how they match with the platforms that your target audience prefers, and analyze where you can achieve the best results.

More playbooks about choosing social media channels

Optimize your effort on social media

Optimize your social media profiles and content. Gain verification for your brand page, fill out your profile, and audit your content.

Check that your profile and posts adhere to your branding guidelines, use hashtags, and optimize your profile text for search engines.

Playbooks about growing your audience organically on specific social media platforms

Grow your followers on Instagram
Increase Facebook followers
Increase Twitter followers organically
Increase LinkedIn followers

Brainstorm ideas for your social media content with your team and use research to find out what your target audience cares about.

Follow trending topics in the news and on social media, gather common questions and topics of conversation from internal teams, audit competitor and industry sites, and use search tools to find new ideas.

More Playbooks about finding ideas for new content

Get marketing ideas from audience research
Research competitors' top performing content
Analyze competitor content
Audit industry content

Put together a content calendar that references your broader digital marketing strategy, including podcasts, blogs, and email.

Choose a calendar platform, pick a posting frequency, identify supporting tasks for each piece of content, assign responsibilities, and track the performance of each piece of content.

Be aware that scheduling can greatly affect the performance of your content. Put some resources into tracking the consumption behavior of followers in your target audience, so that you can identify the best times to post.

Consider automating your social media posting and marketing with a tool like CoSchedule, so that you have more time for making genuine personal conversation.

Produce content that’s interesting, useful, or entertaining to your target audience.

Share proprietary research, write case studies, and encourage customers to create their own content.

More Playbooks about creating content for social media

Use Canva to create branded content
Produce thought leadership content
Hire content writers
Create content briefs
Create content for your product
Create an infographic
Livestream on LinkedIn
Create evergreen content for Facebook
Create non-evergreen content
Co-create content for influencer marketing
Repurpose virtual summit content
Create charts for your content
Source user-generated content

Set up a social media listening tool. Actively respond to comments on your posts and mentions of your brand.

Encourage responses from existing followers, and draw them into conversations that can pull in more people.

Use advertising to promote social media posts that are most likely to appeal to your target audience.

Analyze the content that got the highest engagement, create an ad campaign, use your learnings to put together the creative, and include the benefits of following your brand. Run A/B tests for different ad types.

Playbooks about running ad campaigns on Instagram

Increase Instagram followers with ads
Choose the right Instagram ad format

Playbooks about running ad campaigns on Facebook

Use Facebook for Marketing
Choose the right Facebook ad format

Playbooks about running ad campaigns on Twitter

Increase Twitter followers with ads

Playbooks about running ad campaigns on LinkedIn

Create ad campaign in LinkedIn
Create sponsored InMail ads in LinkedIn
Create successful LinkedIn video ads
Connect LinkedIn insights tag with Google Tag Manager

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@hesh_fekry I added these two steps.

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5 posts were split to a new topic: Tips on hashtag research

Building a following on social media is a huge subject, and although this playbook is an excellent starting point, there are many areas that are not really covered, and it would be worth exploring.

A few thoughts off the top of my head include:

  • The difference between different social media channels. Which channels you should use for what kind of content and audience? Do you opt to target many channels, or should you focus on one or two but customize the content for each? How do you even judge if a channel is worth investing your time in?
  • The subject of engagement is really important too. The clue is in the name; social media. If you want to grow your following, you want to start connecting with your audience, which involves two-way communication. Exploring that as a subject would be valuable.
  • What about building an editorial calendar? Social media doesn’t stand in isolation. It needs to be integrated into a broader digital marketing strategy, including podcasts, blogs, and email. All of these elements need to work together, and you need a calendar to manage them all.
  • Some suggestions around tools for managing all of this would be useful. For example, I use Coschedule to manage my editorial calendar and automate a lot of my activities, allowing me to focus on replying to people rather than posting.
  • Finally, how about coming up with ideas? Coming up with the content on social media is tough, especially over the long term.

This is true. We have had several discussions about this at CXL and the main conclusion is always that idea generation is the biggest blocker for people to post regularly.

Thanks @boagworld – these are some really good points.


Maybe we can see whats relevant to increasing social media followers and have a look in the library to see if we can edit some of the above into the playbooks and find relevant Playbooks?

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@hesh_fekry Yes, I’ve added it to my list.

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