Social media growth reached a new high in 2023, with 4.88 billion total active social media user identities, representing 60.6% of the world’s population.
How do brands grow their own social presence to reach that ever-increasing audience base? We’ve got 10 strategic tips (and 3 tools) for optimum social growth in 2024.
Bonus: Get a free social media strategy template to quickly and easily plan your own strategy. Also use it to track results and present the plan to your boss, teammates, and clients.
Social media growth is an umbrella term that includes many different types of social success. How you define social media growth depends on the most important goals and metrics for your particular organization. Some of the most common ways to measure social media growth include:
- Social media follower growth: How many new followers you gain in a set period of time.
- Engagement rate: How many people engage with your content vs. how many people see it.
- Web traffic from social accounts: How many visits to your website are referred from social posts or your social profiles.
- Conversions referred from social accounts: How many people who come to your website from a social link follow through to make a purchase, sign up for your newsletter, or any other conversion you want to measure.
- Social commerce sales: How much revenue you bring in from social commerce activities across your social accounts.
You can create as many (or as few) social accounts as you like. But your audience will only connect with you on the social networks they’re already actively using. You need to put your brand where they can find you easily, rather than expecting them to seek you out.
There are two components to this strategy:
- Your target audience
- The most popular social media platforms within that user base
For effective organic social media growth, you need to understand both.
If you don’t already know exactly who your target audience is, this is where you need to start. Fortunately, we’ve got a whole blog post on finding your target market that can point you in the right direction.
Once you understand your target audience, you can get even more detailed by creating audience personas.
Now that you understand who you want to connect with on social, you can figure out where to find them. Our blog post on the demographics of the major social platforms is a good place to start your research. You should also do some testing to confirm any assumptions.
Keep in mind that different segments of your audience may be active on different social media sites. Or, people might follow you on multiple platforms but expect a different relationship on each. That means you need to optimize your content for each platform.
For example, look at how differently the Washington Post approached this news story on Twitter and TikTok:
Humans are creatures of habit. When you post social content on a consistent schedule, your audience knows what to expect. They understand how often to expect new content, and when to anticipate your posts in their social feeds.
This consistency makes it feel less burdensome for new people who find your content through a search or suggestion to click the follow button. Conversely, it encourages fans to seek out your new content on your profile if the algorithm doesn’t serve it up in their feed.
Just like deciding where to post based on your audience’s preferences, you need to let their social activity guide your plan for when to post too.
Posting when your audience is most likely to be on the platform increases your chances for early engagement, which is a key value signal to virtually all social algorithms.
Hootsuite can show you exactly when your audience is online with customized heatmaps for each platform. You can also find recommended times to post in Hootsuite Analytics based on your specific growth goals.
Short social video – think Reels and TikToks – has become a crucial component of social growth. Creating this type of content is the easiest way to achieve social media follower growth. Why? Because it’s the content that’s most likely to reach people who don’t already follow you.
Instagram specifically says that for Reels, “the majority of what you see is from accounts you don’t follow.” Likewise, Facebook describes Reels as, “content you may be interested in from creators you may not follow.” And TikTok is designed to surface content a user will find interesting, not just content from accounts they follow.
Your short video content needs to align with your overall social strategy and your brand voice. But, it’s a completely different kind of content than you’re creating for feed posts or even Stories.
To get started, check out our guide to making effective short-form videos.
For platform-specific strategies, take a look at :
- How to use Instagram Reels for business
- How to use Facebook Reels for social media growth
- How to create a TikTok marketing strategy
We’ve mentioned algorithms a few times already. But when you’re focused on social media follower growth, social search engine optimization may be even more important.
Social SEO is all about optimizing your content using SEO tactics like keyword research, captions, and effective alt text to help the search features built into each social platform understand what your content is about.
That means people who are actively searching for content like yours are more likely to find you
And there’s a bonus: TikTok search results are indexed by search engines, so you can drive new eyeballs to your social content from people who are starting their search outside of social social.
Remember that social media is not a simple broadcast platform. Your audience wants to see your content, sure. But they also want to interact with you, the brand (or creator) behind the content.
If you want to grow your social media presence, you need to be diligent about responding to comments, tags, messages and mentions. This isn’t optional, folks! Neglected audiences don’t stick around, so leaving your comments and messages unanswered works directly against your efforts for social media growth.
Manage all your messages stress-free with easy routing, saved replies, and friendly chatbots. Try Hootsuite’s Inbox today.Book a Demo
We talked about audience engagement above, but it’s also important to conduct industry research. In this case, you’re looking for accounts that are already performing well in your space.
They might be competitors. But they might also be potential collaborators. Either way, studying their accounts can give you a good sense of what’s already working in your niche.
Beyond strategy insights, you can also work on social media growth by engaging with popular accounts that already reach your target audience. If they’re not in direct competition with you, try liking and commenting on their posts in a genuine and supportive way. Catching their attention might lead to a return like or follow.
Connections between accounts are a powerful signal for the social media algorithms, so connecting with relevant accounts can help your chances of appearing as a suggested post for non-followers.
Keyword and hashtag searches are a good way to start your research here. And here’s a major timesaver: Search streams in Hootsuite allow you to monitor all your relevant searches across platforms from a single dashboard.
This is another important strategy to expand your audience. In this case, you develop a collaboration with relevant content creators to piggyback on their established audience.
When your focus is social media growth, it’s important to choose your creator collaborators carefully. Their audience needs to be a really good match to the audience you are trying to build. After all, a new influx of followers is only helpful to your overall growth strategy if they actually want to stick around.
Again, hashtag and keyword searches are a good starting point. It’s also a good idea to take a look at what other accounts your existing audience follows to look for a good fit. We’ve put together a whole guide on how to work with content creators to take you from there.
Sure, creating content is the more exciting part of social media. But developing a strong bio and profile are critical to social media growth. Make sure you have these nailed down before you start putting too much effort into other growth strategies.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First up, your profile and bio tell potential new followers who you are, what you’re all about, and why they should follow you.
Second, your profile and bio are full of opportunities to guide people to your account in the first place. Most fields in social media profiles are searchable and may be indexed in regular search engines as well as in social search results.
That means a profile optimized for your target keywords can lead people to your social account before they even open that particular social platform.
And, finally, your profile offers chances to direct people to your profile through the connective tissues of social platforms, like hashtags and geotags. Address information helps the algorithms connect your content with people in your local area.
Have we said enough times already that consistency is key in growing your social media presence? Well, we’ll say it again here, because that applies to your brand identity as much as your posting schedule.
We just talked about how your profile can bring in people from outside of the social platforms. If they scroll down and see consistent content in your grid, it’s much easier for them to understand what you’re all about and why they should care.
It’s also important that your content is easily identifiable when it lands in people’s feeds. It’s easier for followers to spot your posts among all the sponsored and suggested content when you deliver a consistent look and feel that supports your brand identity.
While the strategies for organic social media growth covered so far are critical to growing a strong social media presence over time, social ads can be a way to get your content in front of a new audience quickly — and boost your growth rate.
Most social platforms allow you to choose growth-oriented goals for your social ads. Look for ads goals like awareness, engagement, and consideration to drive growth with your social ad campaign.
Planning a social ads campaign may seem daunting, but it’s easy to get started. The simplest method is to put some budget behind organic posts that are already performing well for your desired growth goals.
Within Hootsuite, you can set automatic boost triggers to convert your highest-performing posts into social ads without any additional intervention.
We’ve already mentioned Hootsuite several times in this post, and for good reason. It’s got plenty of built-in social media growth tools that should be in every social marketer’s toolbox.
First up, Hootsuite has built-in AI tools that generate social captions, come up with content ideas for your blog or podcast, and suggest the most relevant hashtags to get you noticed. OwlyWriter AI can also rework high-performing posts so you have a never-ending stream of growth-inducing content based off of strategies that have already been proven to work for your brand.
On the publishing side, Hootsuite serves your social media growth strategy by allowing you to build out an integrated multi-platform campaign that reaches followers on every platform at the ideal times for maximum engagement. You can create your content in batches so your themes and messaging are aligned and in tune with your brand voice.
Once your content goes live, Hootsuite helps you hack your social growth by revealing exactly what works and what doesn’t. You’ll also get insights into how your content stacks up against industry benchmarks and top competitors, so you can set realistic growth goals and look for opportunities to improve.
HubSpot is a CRM platform that’s specifically designed to help your business grow by bringing in more customers. By integrating Hubspot with Hootsuite, you can use information from your CRM database to help grow your social presence while providing better social customer service.
SproutSocial is a social media management platform that can assist with social media growth. It includes automation tools and social analytics features that help you refine your social media growth strategy.
SproutSocial has an average per-user seat cost of $332 and offers 26 integrations. Take a look at how SproutSocial compares to Hootsuite.
Save time managing your social media presence with Hootsuite. Publish and schedule posts, find relevant conversations, engage your audience, measure results, and more — all from one simple dashboard. Try it free today.