I sent in a non-fiction book proposal to several agents this past summer and one of them gave me a number - 10,000. That's how many followers I needed on at least one social media platform. At the time I was thrilled because in about 6 weeks I had almost doubled my followers from a measly 600 (although not too bad for a stay-at-home, homeschooling mama who was marginally active on twitter) to over 1100. I felt great about my progress. I was learning a whole new aspect of marketing and connecting.
In the last 3 months since I first began working on this different form of online presence (vs. website, blogging, etc.) I have quadrupled my following! That's right, in just over 90 days I've gone from barely over 600 followers to almost 2600. And I haven't paid a dime for a single follower.
If you're an author, speaker, or other ministry or business looking for how to connect with more people online to get the word out about what you have to offer, I'd love to share that with you!
Step 1 - Get active! You don't have to be online all the time, but the more you tweet, like, retweet, and comment, the more you'll get noticed.
Step 2 - Use aids. I personally use tweetdeck. This allows me to schedule tweets (sorry, I just can't be online every 20-30 minutes every day), and keep columns up that show me who's mentioned me, retweeted me, or become a follower. Then I can more easily thank them and respond.
Step 3 - Have a plan. I get on about an hour a couple times a week to schedule my tweets. Then I get on a handful of times a day (the number depends on my schedule) to check in, thank followers, retweet and like tweets and answer DMs if necessary. (I also take 1 day off each week - of all electronics and media - to spend needed time resting from connecting.)
Step 4 - Don't focus on yourself. Give people content they want to read. Encourage people. Equip people. Engage people. Enlighten people. Edify people. Then throw in a tweet or two about your product, business, opportunity, blog, etc. Self-promotion should be no more than 1/3 of your tweets.
Step 5 - Find #hashtags that are popular with the people you want to engage. Use them often, but don't overuse them. Search for others using them and follow those people.
Step 6 - Follow, follow, follow! The more people you follow, the more followers you'll gain. (Just remember to honor your followers and be respectful to them!) Plus, don't forget to follow back those who follow you. You of course don't have to follow back everyone, but the point is connecting.
Step 7 - Send direct tweets. Send an uplifting picture, personal thank you, or some other positive message to people directly. They'll often retweet the message to their followers.
Step 8 - Send thank you for following messages to multiple followers at a time. People will often look at the other accounts referenced in a tweet they've been mentioned. Then they'll follow those people to. If you can help your followers get more followers, they'll send the love back your way.
Step 9 - Don't become obsessed with the numbers. Don't get upset if yesterday you had 50 new followers and today you only have 10. It's not a numbers game, it's a process of growing an online presence.
Step 10 - Link with other social media sites - Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. This will help you grow all your areas of platforms and make even better connections.
Step 11 - Keep consistent. The more active you are, the more you'll engage your followers, and the more followers you'll get. Don't let Twitter (or any other social media source) monopolize your time, but utilize it for what it's made for - to connect and communicate. Use it in a healthy way, and you'll reap the rewards.
This, isn't everything that could possibly be said about increasing your online presence or followers, but hopefully it's helpful and a good start as you're on your way to where you want to be.