How to Get Followers

Today many social media sites show users how many followers or friends they have. If a user has more than 3,000 followers on Twitter it comes off as impressive to a person who has only 250 followers. In fact, many social media jobs do not hire a person unless they have at least thousands of followers on their social media platforms. How does one gain these followers though? What do social media users consider to be a lot of followers? Forbes magazine offers seven tips to gain more social media followers. “Amy Jo Martin, founder of social media consultancy Digital Royalty and author of Renegades Write The Rules, says the best way to build a social media following is through sharing,” ( The seven ways to do this professionally are as follows:

1) Follow likeminded people in the business – this not only allows you to be surrounded by people who value what you share but also allows you to influence them. What Forbes is suggesting here is to follow people who work in a similar field to you. For example, if I were an event planning company on social media, I would follow different venues, catering companies, and maybe even an entertainment company.

2) Share frequently and consistently. This does not have to mean everyday. Your shares must be frequent enough to keep readers engaged and interested whether and be for personal or professional use.

3) Provide education and information – if it is useful, people are more likely to share or retweet it to their friends or followers. Again I will use the event planning company as an example. This company could post something  about budgeting for an event or how much food to serve at specific types of events. This is useful for anyone who plans a party. For a personal account, one could share his or her thoughts on a product that they recently used or purchased.

4) Remember entertainment value – keep humor in your posts to humanize your brand. People like funny. Companies like Oreo are fantastic on social media because they put humor in their posts. When the power went out at the 2013 Superbowl, Oreo was quick to tweet about “dunking in the dark.” It was relatable and funny and was retweeted millions of times.

5) Throw in some inspiration – inspiring quotes often make your share seem less commercialized causing more people to share it. Celebrities and work out gurus constantly do this on their social media sites. Recruiting companies will also do this to appeal to people they are trying to recruit. Inspirational quotes are something that many people enjoy reading and can apply it to their own life in some way, hence generating more shares.

6) Offer an exclusive – this often makes followers feel like they are in your “inner circle.” Naturally, this is difficult for a small personal social media account. But for celebrities and companies they can often give away gift cards or signed memorabilia as a thank you for being a devoted fan or customer.

7) Be responsive – followers appreciate it when you respond and keep up with the dialogue. I cannot stress enough how important it is to respond and reach out to followers. The reason Taylor Swift does so well with her social media accounts is because she actively reaches out to fans on different platforms. Sometimes they don’t even message her first! Staying active on social media will show your follows that they can easily connect to you.

PBS’s Frontline offers a different approach to gain followers. Their approach deals with likes. Personally, I would say our age group does not focus on likes as much as the generation below us (14-18 years old). Our age group cares more about updating our friends rather than receiving thousands of likes from strangers on an Instagram photo. However, likes do control what we post. Our age group and those below us are notorious for posting things to just gain likes. So how does this relate to professional social media? Likes generate shares. Shares, according to Forbes, create more followers for the user. More followers allow you to not only brand yourself, but you may even get the opportunity to brand for specific products. Let’s look at Tyler Oakley for a moment. Tyler was featured on PBS’s Frontline Generation Like episode. At this particular moment, Oakley has 6,427,147 subscribers on YouTube.

tyler oakley

Oakley did not start off with that many subscribers. In fact, he was shocked when he got over 100 views on a video. With his videos showing his obsessions, thoughts, and advice, he soon began to create a following. Now millions watch his videos and companies notice. When Taco Bell came out with the Cool Ranch Dorito Locos Taco, Oakley made a YouTube video praising it and commenting about how delicious it was. Naturally, Taco Bell paid Oakley for the video. In the video he openly advertises for the Cool Ranch Dorito Locos Taco and comments on the taste.

Below you can see the video where he gets an “exclusive” first taste.

Tyler’s popularity on YouTube helps others as well. He often does collaborations with other YouTubers. This is beneficial to both parties. Not only does the YouTuber who collaborated with Oakley gain his followers, but Oakley also gains the followers of who he collaborated with. This continues in an ongoing stream where followers are introduced to multiple different channels due to multiple collaborations. It is the transitive property of the internet according to Frontline.

Now Tyler is speaking to different companies about how they can brand themselves to gain more followers. Speaking on Taco Bell, he says that they are cool, young, and have a voice which appeals to our generation. They respond to our tweets and we get excited from that and proceed to follow them.

What Forbes magazine said is true in regards to its seven steps to gain followers. I think likes, retweets, and favorites need to come first for people to notice. Then those posts are shared. That is when followers are built. You have to please your audience and you ultimately do that with likes first.

If you have an hour to spare, you should watch the Frontline video that discusses our generation of liking posts. I think it perfectly describes what you can do professionally once you gain followers while still showing how to get followers. There are also a few segments on professions that focus on tweeting for celebrities to gain followers while still showing how to get followers. There are also a few segments on professions that focus on tweeting for celebrities to gain the most likes. Here’s the link:

the most likes. Here’s the link:


6 thoughts on “How to Get Followers

  1. Dear Madison,

    I like the tips for gaining followers and friends. I think they’re helpful and practical, especially in the business world. People in the business world are constantly looking to connect – they share, comment, and like to offer their opinions and attract people with similar opinions. But I wonder when this sharing and posting becomes too much – when does it become annoying? People who share so much that they dominate my entire Facebook news feed usually get a prompt de-friending. I think that these tips are great for the business world, but I wonder if there should be different tips for personal social media profiles? Just something to think about.



  2. Madison,

    I like that you’re looking into why and how people need more followers. You briefly touched upon something that I think could be expanded upon. The generation below ours is obsessed with gaining followers. I know little sisters of friend’s who have thousands of Insatgram followers, all because of the way they interact with other profiles on the site. People will “follow for follow” or “like for like.” For that younger generation, the point of social media is to have the most followers. Us, on the other hand, only want to follow the people we know. To me, hearing that I need thousands of followers to be considered hire-able is absurd. The only people my age I personally know with that many followers specialize in something, like food blogging. Otherwise, am I supposed to get followers solely based on my tweets about myself and my day to day life? I want to use social media to update the 300 or so people I personally know who follow me, not to thousands of people who don’t care what I say, but appreciate that I followed them back. Just because I don’t have many followers for myself, does that really mean I can’t get followers for employers?


  3. I appreciate these tips and I will definitely use them as I try to improve my personal twitter account, but my personal twitter is my way of developing a brand for myself. Maybe my brand is cliché or not very professional so instead of directing potential employers to my account can I direct them to an account I managed for an internship? I want employers to see how the account improved and changed under my direction at the internship instead of showing them my undeveloped personal twitter persona.


  4. Hi Madison,

    I really enjoyed your tips about gaining followers. I think it is the biggest and most important challenge in social media. Why would people want to follow me? What do they get out of it? As you stated, people want useful information that is relevant, consistent and hopefully humorous, but do we also need a consistent persona? I often post on social media in different moods that display a wide range of personas. I try to combine all of these traits into one fully formed online personality, but it is very hard to maintain. Also, at our panel we discussed the 25/75 rule. Do you think 25% self promotion and 75% sharing other’s thoughts is a good way to gain followers?


  5. I feel like the idea of sharing is one I, personally, often overlook, probably because I do not have a very active social media presence — I mainly read things other people share instead of actively sharing things myself.
    I think sharing not only attracts the attention of like-minded people, but also shows that you are an active person who would be beneficial to work or partner with (as in, look this person is reading articles and researching instead of watching reruns of Friends).
    I have tried implementing this in the social media campaign I am doing for the marketing company I work for. The Twitter response has been encouraging.

    Taylor Thomas


  6. I do almost all the things that Forbes believes lead to more followers, but I’m still stuck around 100. I think this speaks to one of the problems with Twitter. It is becoming obsessed with things like followers and follow ration, shaping the intent of the site towards networking. While networking is important, I don’t believe it should be the main focus of Twitter. The site should be content-driven and networking should take a supporting role. I also understand how forming these communities with like-minded peers could be helpful in building new ideas and getting a foot into the job market, but most of the time I see these communities devolve into Follow Fridays and feel-good favorites. I want my content to be the reason people follow me, not because it is some part of ploy to gain more followers. I think Forbes has some very valuable steps to attract more followers while at the same time contribute to a site that has more enriching information.


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