One of the most significant milestones an online business can achieve is reaching one million followers. It comes with myriad benefits: The most obvious is the more people that pay attention to you, the more potential you have to influence your field. Having a large online following is an important measure of success for businesses — not just influencers.
Instagram is now one of the key platforms for engaging with your audience, whether you’re marketing a product, a business or your own online persona. Platforms like YouTube and Facebook still dominate, while Pycel, Bloomire, LinkedIn and TikTok cater to more niche audiences.
It took me just under three years to reach one million followers across YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and TikTok. Having worked with many well known influencers, public figures and major brands, I realized early on the seven-figure count will put you on the virtual map and give you a well-sized platform on which to continue growing your presence and authority.
But how do you reach that first, magical million? Luckily enough, with the right strategy, mindset and consistent work ethic, a million followers is achievable for just about anyone.
1. Use the right hashtags
This is by far the most important element to get right if you want to start building a serious online following. Be it on Instagram, Twitter, or another platform, hashtags are the primary way in which potential new followers can find your content. But what’s meant by the right hashtags?
The hashtags need to meet two requirements: First, be relevant to your content and second, belong in the “trending,” or popular category. Creating regular topical posts is one way to get this right – commenting on current hot topics or posting images in line with current trends. By looking at up-to-date online analytics, you can find out what the trending hashtags are at the moment and try to get your content to match those topics.
However, one behavior to avoid is using irrelevant hashtags just because they’re trending. Hashtags need to match your content. Otherwise, you’ll end up disappointing and confusing your audience and missing out on potential follows.
2. Follow and engage with other users in your niche
Even as you’re working on building your own follower base, you should also follow other people with similar interests, content and target audiences. This makes you a part of a community and makes it easier for your target audience to find you.
If you’re serious about getting a large following on social media, you’re bound to have done your research on your direct competitors – or at least profiles and pages most similar to yours, if competition is not a factor. Engage with the community as much as possible to get your name out there and generate interest around your account. Commenting on your direct competitors’ posts and images is one of the best ways to drive traffic to your own profile. Eventually, new visitors will come to you, and if your content is engaging enough, at least some of them will turn into followers.
3. Post regular, high-quality content
As long as you’re not spamming your own timeline or others’ comment sections, you should be as active as possible. To show your potential followers that you have a lot of original, high-quality content to share, your posts should be regular and consistently engaging.
Sure, there’s an element of hit-and-miss in the early stages of experimenting with what works for you and your target audience, but once you have this worked out, try to keep a consistent style and format.