In the past few articles I have focused on the wider perspective of things, from the scam of a dream our countries sell us to not paying for stupidity tax, from understanding how the black market works to seeing through the deceit of the experts. While having a wide perspective and knowledge over many topics certainly helps in achieving financial freedom, some times we will have to come back to what we can do on an everyday basis. Today this article will touch on the more concrete things which one can apply on a more immediate basis. This can also be taken as a side extension of the dropshipping series which I wrote some time ago. We will talk about increasing your following in the various social media.
When we set up shop to start a business, one of the core resources that determines how far we go is our customer base. Building a loyal customer base on top of a wider but maybe not that loyal customer network is important, and the most straightforward way to do it is through advertising. McDonald’s, despite achieving such a size of operations and popularity, still did not neglect in their advertisements. When children think of eating burgers, they think of McDonald’s instead of Burger King. When people want fizzy drinks, it is usually Coca Cola over Pepsi. Nike over Reebok, Samsung over Xiaomi and the list goes on.
Big companies have the budget to plaster their names everywhere, from train stations to televisions, from Youtube advertisements to celebrity endorsements. But for us commoners, we have very limited budget, so we go on a low cost or even free methods to get things done. Afterall, advertisements serve 2 main purpose – first to remind people of your existence and second to showcase your product offerings to them. For us, we will use a list of free online tools at our disposal to build a network of customers. In this world of technology, online tools are often times the most efficient and cheapest methods.
Not only can we use it for business, but also for other content creation such as blogging, live-streaming, Youtube and TikTok videos and so on, which we will explore more later.
From this list we can see which platforms are the more popular ones, and choose one accordingly. Of course when deciding, traffic is one important but not necessary critical factor. Afterall, the circumstances for everyone is different. We can categorise the above platforms into 2 portions.
The first category are platforms with high traffic but the platforms retain the biggest control. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Youtube, TikTok etc have many users interacting with each other. It is easier to like, comment and share a particular post to the wider community. The platforms themselves draw huge traffic and allows complete strangers to interact with each other easily. However the issue with these platforms are that the companies retain a high level of control on your accounts. Their algorithms decide if your posts get pushed up or down in terms of visibility. There have been cases where if you start paying for ads to promote your page or account, but stop doing so halfway, your visibility will drop a lot. In my experience, which may somehow be different from others, unless you do something really catchy such as using sexy photographs or videos, it is much more difficult (but still doable) to get the attention you need. Your content will need to have a very unique selling point which others do not. Furthermore, censorship and copyright issues weigh heavily in these platforms. For example, you are not allowed to sell a Dyson hairdryer on your Facebook page due to copyright issues. They will take it down. Censorship may not even deal with porn and the like, but political messages which are not aligned with the present authorities.
The second category will allow you to retain more control but will have limited reach. Whatsapp, Discord, Telegram groups and channels, while available to public via a link and has seen super-sized groups, are more limited in terms of post sharing. In Facebook, you can share a post and everyone in your friend list will be able to see. If any of your friends like the post you share, his friends will also see it. But in Telegram, Whatsapp and the like, such functions are severely limited. But what you post as an administrator will certainly not be manipulated by the platform and be seen by the members.
Of course, there is no need to restrict yourself to only one or two platforms. Using multiple platforms across different categories is something you can do, although you may wish to select a main one. Afterall, if it comes to content posting, one can easily duplicate the content across multiple platforms easily. For example, I use a Telegram channel for my business. I used Whatsapp previously, but their broadcast is limited to only 256 people per list and people have to add you as their contact to receive the broadcast. So you do not actually know how many people you are reaching with your broadcast unlike Telegram, where people can just subscribe or unsubscribe easily and the figures are clear for the administrator to see.
On top of deciding which platform to use, you will also need to know who are your target audiences and the type of content you are doing. If your target audiences are the middle age group, perhaps using Facebook or Telegram is better than Discord. If you are doing videos instead of written content, then perhaps TikTok is more suitable than Twitter.
Now to the important point. How do you increase your followers? That will depend on what you are doing.
If you are running a business, you will be selling goods and/or services to customers. After the end of a transaction, send a message to them about your Facebook page, Telegram group or whatever platform you are using. Inform them that there is this page or channel they can follow and send them an invite link. From my experience perhaps about 70% will not bother you and 30% will join your group. Whether they remain as a follower for an extended period of time is another matter though.
You will definitely also meet someone who wants to bargain a price with you, asking for discounts and stuff. If the discount is something you are willing to give, do not give it away for free too. Tell them the discount will be given under the condition that they will join your page or channel, and they are to share your platform link on their social media (usually Facebook). A screenshot proof is required, although they can easily game the system by deleting it after sending you the screenshot. But since it is a discount you are already planning to give, you do not really lose at all.
It will not give you an explosive growth in members, but slowly and steadily you will gain yourself a group of more loyal followers or subscribers rather than just spam bots and fake accounts bought off from some dubious company.
Blogger (Or Other Forms Of Written Content)
When you have written content, most likely it is posted on platforms like your personal website, Medium, Quora etc or maybe all of them, like what I do. But to get word to the wider audience, you will also need to have a platform to do so. As discussions can already be done on the website you posted the article, hence platforms like Telegram or Whatsapp is not that applicable. What you want is probably something that allows you to share things easily, such as Facebook. Although it does have its problem like algorithm manipulation, Facebook is your secondary platform to link to the main site where your article is posted. For me, although I also replicate my posts on Quora and Medium, I always link it back to my main website. This means I will use all these other platforms for as long as I can as I only need to replicate the posts and share them, but any manipulation by them will not affect me critically.
While you have your own website, replicating on other well-known platforms are also good because they increase your chances of getting searched. Your website is low in ranking, but Quora and Medium are not. If you post your article there, chances are that with the right keywords you will appear in a Google search. For Quora, you just need to create a space, much like the Quora’s version of the now defunct MySpace, and post your articles there. For Medium and other similar platforms, just create an account and post. With Quora, if you want to take it a step further, you can search questions related to your article, answer them and link it to back to your Quora space.
Youtubers and TikTokers are gaining popularity these days. People like to see video, as they are much more easy to digest than reading a chunk of words. If you realise, the TikToks are flooded with sexy girls dancing or pretty girls acting cool, although admittedly Youtubers are more toned down. But with the overwhelming competition out there, what can you do?
First, at the starting portion of the video, always remind and encourage people to like comment or share your video, as it will help to improve the algorithm Youtube or TikTok (or any other platforms) has of your channel. Some prefer to just say it out in the video, while others overlay another short video on it. See the Youtube video below for example at the 9 second mark.
It is not good to ask people to like share or comment on your video right at the end, as people usually will not watch till the last second if they deemed that they have more or less completed the whole content of the video. Neither should you put right at the start as people may ignore it. Put it at the beginning (but not right at the start), where you just got their attention, and then ask them to like comment or share. That is the time where they were just started getting focused on your video, so chances of them seeing it are high.
General Methods For All
There are a few other methods of obtaining likes and followers which everyone can use. Let us see what we can do.
The first thing to do when you start your channel is to ask all your friends and family to show you support. Those who are able to do so will gain an initial following, which although will not propel you to stardom, will be a good start. Ask them for help to share on a social media page if possible to garner even more support from their warm market.
Second thing we can do is to trade likes and follows. There are groups around where people exchange likes. I did it before with my Instagram account. Basically you go find a group, which may be on Facebook, Telegram or anywhere where people exchange likes and follows. Google it and you should be able to find some of these kind of groups. You follow me, I follow you. With this your following should increase yet another level.
Third thing you can do is to trade items for follows. Throughout our lives, we definitely throw out many things, many of which can be useful. Instead of throwing out your used chair, post it up and say you are giving it away for free, with a condition that the recipient has to give you a like on your Youtube channel or Facebook page. Convert the things that are worthless to you into something that matters, rather than just discarding it away. Have an old textbook that you have no use for but unable to sell it? Give it to a student and have him or her gather 5 follows for you on your Instagram. As administrators it is easy for us to see who are our followers, especially at the start when our following is just so little. Have them give you the handle of the accounts which follow you and you can verify it easily.
Fourth, join advertising groups. There are Facebook, Whatsapp and Telegram advertising groups around, where people gather to market their wares. Find out such groups and join them, then post your social media link there once per day. From experience, Whatsapp will be a better option for this because each group is capped at 256 people, which means compared to a 10000 member group, your posts will not get flooded so fast and people actually have the time and opportunity to see them. With the increase in spam groups recently, you may find yourself dragged in to some werid Whatsapp or Telegram group. When you are invited by these people into such groups, make full use of it. Post your invite link there. They will most likely kick you out of the group soon, but you get your link out for the members to see. Gotta get some payback for pulling you into spam groups.
Exchanging small favours for a few likes can be an option too, but I personally do not like it as it may make you appear to be calculative towards friends, who would have already followed you from the start. But in the occasional situation where the opportunity arises, for a small favour you can ask them to gather 5 likes for you, for example.
This sums up a few points which I have from my knowledge and experience, which does take some effort, but will enable you to slowly grow your channel at the start. Once you have amassed a certain following, it is easier to expand especially on platforms which have algorithms working behind the scenes. There is no shortcut to success, but with creativity we can speed things up a little bit.