Big corporations and companies that want to create a bigger audience on social media often times pay to have a “bot” go through and follow “relevant” users on social media, in hopes of those followers returning the favor. I have worked for companies that have done this, and have also paid to have a “bot” interact on social media by commenting and liking pictures that the bot thinks are “relevant.” Although this does save time and allows humans to do other things that aren’t as tedious, personally, I think it is much better to pay a human to do this job.
In the event of a mistake on the bots part (which is very common), it can make your brand look very robotic (go figure). This is not something you will want as it will immediately damage your credibility as a brand.
As I have seen with companies that use “bots,” a brand can have thousands and thousands of followers, but a number is just a number when it comes to followers on social media. Sure, it looks great for newcomers on the social site to see 16K followers. Initially that could attract new followers: “Oh, they have 16K followers…they must be worth following.”
But, how many of those followers are real customers or invested in your brand? How many of them are loyal to your brand, would advocate for your brand, or would ever be in the market for what you are selling.
When creating a following on social media that matters, here are my tips:
This is my number one tip on social media! People want to know your brand is listening and actually involved within online communities.
On Twitter: If you are a bridal company, for example, search for relevant key terms on Twitter that people might tweet relevant to your brand.
“We just got engaged,” “Need a wedding dress,” “Wedding soon…”
Reply to those tweets, favorite them, then; follow the users that tweeted relevant key terms. That shows that you are engaged and active on social media and this can create an immediate customer.
On Instagram: Search hashtags relevant to your brand or company and similar to Twitter, follow the user, or comment on the post. Make it known that your brand is listening on social media. It will make a huge impression and puts your name in front of your potential customers.
Find a twin:
Find a brand on social media that you are similar to or hope to be similar to, with a large amount of followers and interactions on their posts. See what they post, how often and the content they are sharing.
When it comes to growing your followers and seeing close to immediate results, it is important to follow the users who follow brands you want to be like. Pull up the brand you find yourself most similar to and follow their followers. The goal is to have them follow you back. If the number of people you follow gets too high, there are many apps that allow you to see who does and does not follow you, based on the people you follow (for Twitter I suggest “Friend or Follow”). Friend or Follow's website is very easy and allows you to unfollow users that do not follow you back. For Instagram, I would suggest the app, “Followers for Instagram,” which allows you to also see who does not follow you back, and then allows you to unfollow them. There is a max of 100 unfollows per hour, so you just have to spread this out over time. On Instagram, you are restricted to only follow 7,500 users, so keep that number in mind.
Laying it all out, building followers organically looks like a tedious task and to be honest, it is, but it ensures you have relevant followers that will like, support and be loyal to your brand, as long as you do not give them a reason not to.
Continue to use relevant hashtags. This is especially important if you’re trying to brand yourself or a company. Use a hashtag that is unique to your brand specifically and also use hashtags that are relevant to your industry. You want to create engagement among your posts and this is one of the best ways to do so. Use websites such as "Hashtagify.me," that allow you to search and find the most common hashtags for your brand or industry. Use those hashtags every time you post, and add additional ones specific to each post.
P.S. PLEASE remember that a large amount of followers, does not translate to success on or off of social media!