Audience growth is one of the most important metrics for a successful online strategy, which is why we dedicate so many resources to advice on getting more Twitter or Instagram followers. There is no magic app or tactic that will guarantee immediate audience growth for your channel—unless you want to risk sacrificing your reach and engagement numbers for a six-figure follower count. Thankfully, there are tools out there that will help you succeed through a well-rounded approach to audience growth.
First of all, it’s important to remember that each type of business and each social media channel has its own unique audience demands. Building a “one size fits all” solution for audience growth would require a kind of knowledge that’s currently beyond the scope of machine learning—which is good news for social media strategists, since robots won’t be taking your job anytime soon. Plus, if the content itself just doesn’t cut it, no audience growth secret can fix that.
If the content isn’t the problem, there are several ways to help your online properties be seen by more people. These are tools that help you find and connect with influential social media users, track follower numbers and monitor engagement rates. We have grouped these tools in two categories below, along with an explanation of how each type of software can contribute to audience growth across your channels.
6 social media tools for a wholesome approach to audience growth
Social media influence tools
Chances are, you already know which social media users in your field have the kind of audience reach you strive to achieve. Instead of reinventing the wheel and finding ways to convince the same users to follow your account, you only have to convince one person: the influencer. If a social media influencer believes your content has value, they will likely share it with their audience; after all, even influencers have to do a fair share of content curation, and you’re making their life easier by delivering that content straight to their Mentions tab.
Consider the consequences of a retweet from someone with 64 million followers, as it recently happened to a Canadian reporter whose Tweet caught the attention of pop singer and social media maven Taylor Swift. Even if the retweet was only seen by a fraction of Swift’s audience, it resulted in exposure to an audience five thousand times bigger than the reporter’s Twitter following could provide.
While everyone can get a sweet engagement boost with a TSwift retweet, the singer may not be the authority in your selected field. To help you grow your audience through influencers, here are tools to help you find and engage the right people.
While BuzzSumo is known primarily as a content research tool, it also comes in handy for finding influential users for a topic of your choice. You can search users by keywords or hashtags that appear in their social media bios to find people whose interests most closely match yours. You can sort the results by metrics such as the number of followers, percentage of retweets or average reply ratio. Play with these parameters if you want to choose the most engaged influencers or influencers with the biggest potential reach.
BuzzSumo also allows you to filter by location as well as occupation of the influencers. For example, I could limit my search to influencers in Canada with the keywords “social media marketing” if I wanted to connect with fellow digital media professionals.
The free version of BuzzSumo’s Influencer tool only allows a few searches per day, but it’s a good place to start if you wanted to identify a few key players in your field of interest.
Just like BuzzSumo, this Moz app also lets you search influencers by keywords in their social media bios. But the information it provides on each profile is slightly different from the previous tool. Along with the usual number of followers and total number of Tweets, you also get the number of days the user has been on Twitter and a “Social Authority” score. The latter ranges from 1 to 100 and is based on the recent number of retweets the user has received.
Another neat feature allows you to compare your own social graph to any two Twitter users to see how your social media audiences relate to others. This could be a very useful step once you have already selected a few users you plan on reaching out to. (Keep in mind that Followerwonk is currently only able to analyze audiences of up to 50,000 users, so if you wanted to compare your account to, say, Taylor Swift, you might be out of luck.)
This tool scores influential online properties and social media profiles based on amplification, reach, and relevance within the field and geographical location indicated in the search. Your influencer search results are displayed in a tile format, along with some general trends among influencers in your field of interest.
In addition to the visually appealing UI, Klear stands out among other influencer marketing tools by taking into account engagement on Facebook and Instagram. If you visit an influencer’s profile, you can view the number of followers on Instagram and Twitter along with the total number of likes on their Facebook Page. Klear also shows you the top performing content from each of those social networks.
This is especially useful for Instagram, since most influencer marketing tools that exist for this network—such as Snapfluence, Instabrand or Speakr—are members-only paid versions. If you’re on a budget but still don’t want to miss out on a chance to grow your audience on the hottest social network of the year, give Klear a try.
Follower tracking and engagement tools
Needless to say, a small engaged audience is a bigger asset to your business than a large unresponsive following. That’s why your engagement rates on each social network may be the best predictor of the results of your audience growth efforts. If people are clicking your links, liking your photos and adding your Tweets to Favourites, it’s a sign they are also more willing to share your posts with their own networks. This increases your overall reach and, therefore, your audience, which is why being aware about the state of your online relationships is essential to audience growth.
Major social networks like Twitter and Facebook have their own analytics features that provide you with the engagement metrics for audiences on that channel. If you wanted to keep all your data in one report or get numbers on networks like Instagram or Pinterest, check out these relationship management tools.
We’ve already mentioned Crowdfire as a good Instagram relationship management tool, but it has the ability to keep track of your Twitter followers as well. You can see who has recently followed or unfollowed your account, which is probably the most important metric for the purposes of audience growth. If your recent unfollows include former fans or loyal promoters of your brand, it’s a serious cause for concern.
One of Crowdfire’s feature highlights is its Copy Followers capability, which allows you to find followers of your competitors’ accounts that may be interested in your social media content. This is a great category of users for your audience growth potential, since they already share many of your interests. Who knows, you might even find some influencers who would be willing to switch sides!
SumAll allows you to get insights on the performance of several social network accounts, and get those metrics neatly packaged and delivered to your inbox every week. These reports detail all the relevant relationship metrics—the number of unfollows, new followers, retweets, likes—and provide a historical context for your performance. Drawing a comparison between your account’s current engagement rates versus those you observed in the past can help you get that much-needed perspective on audience growth efforts without bringing in a third-party consultant.
SimplyMeasured has a number of free tools that provide performance analysis for different social networks, but I’d like to focus on their Instagram tool. Since Instagram has yet to introduce a native analytics feature, relationship management on this platform may be slipping under your radar. SimplyMeasured provides a free Instagram engagement report that shows you the total number of likes and comments on an individual photo, your entire account, or a time period of your choosing. You can also see what day of the week and time bring the most engagement on your Instagram posts, which is a great way to create a strategic posting plan for future photos.
Finally, the report provides you with a list of the most active commenters, which can help you identify potential brand advocates or simply offer the opportunity to thank your most devoted fans.