8 Secrets to Building a Social Media Following

By Elma and Amra Beganovich

Elma (left) and Amra (right)

Social media has quickly become an essential factor in building and marketing a business or a personal brand. It’s not enough to simply post — savvy social media users know what time to post, what type of content to post, how to emotionally connect with other users, and how to utilize these platforms to gain followers and essentially monetize.

We are Amra Beganovich and Elma Beganovich, two sisters and social media mavens. We left our 9–5 jobs as an economist and an attorney to build two companies: Club Fashionista (an invite-only platform for influencers generating high-quality content) and now Amra & Elma, our personal brand and a marketing firm, which relies on our impressive social media presence and helps us in growing and maintaining our business.

Here are our tips for growing your personal brand or business through strategic social media tactics:

  1. Shout outs — Collaborations with other accounts are an extremely important factor in growing your own account — and in the beginning, you will often be expected to offer your unique content free of charge. Don’t let this discourage you, though; the exposure and access to a larger audience are just as valuable to your business.

Do your research to find accounts similar to yours in content and in size, and propose an exchange of images. For instance, if you are in tech, find other accounts that share the same enthusiasm and passion for innovation. Ask that they credit you with an @mention for the image in the captions, and do the same for them. These shared “shout outs” have continually proven highly effective for us, allowing us to reach millions of new followers.

2. Tags — There are a lot of great businesses, technology, travel, and lifestyle accounts, which are looking to create a community of followers through their content. These accounts rely heavily on user created content rather than original content, creating an opportunity for you to be featured, and thus gain new followers.

For example, we tagged the official Capri, Italy Instagram account in our posts when we were traveling there, and because we took the time to create high-quality images, e.g., featuring jaw-dropping views or colorful sunsets, we were featured on their account. This is another way to open yourself up to an entire community of new followers that you may not have been able to reach before.

3. Comments — It is crucial to engage with your target market, and interact with other users in your field. For example, if you are in technology, try visiting the social media pages of Google, WeWork, Samsung, etc., and engage with users who are interacting with those pages. Go to their profiles and like their posts, repost them, or leave comments. But make sure to be sincere and thoughtful when commenting — these types of interactions go a long way, and are almost guaranteed to secure you followers in return.

4. Quality content — Investing time and energy into the quality of your content is a crucial factor in building an audience. Any lackluster image or post is not worth sharing; you should only be posting top notch content that catches users’ eyes, inspires and emotionally moves them. Think of the value added that you are providing in someone else’s life. Sometimes this may require extensive research about what type of photos the audience responds to the best, editing photos with applications or photoshop, and content planning — but in the long run, it’s worth it.

Taking the time to ensure that you’re building cohesive, visually pleasing content is what will grow and maintain your audience. After all, it only takes around 5 seconds when a person lands on your Instagram page to decide whether or not he/she will tap the follow button.

5. Originality — In order to stand out in the over-saturated digital space, it’s important to project an authentic and unique voice. Although it may be tempting to post content that appeals to an array of audience across the spectrum, this ultimately is not possible. Find a niche where your voice fits in and build a connection with that audience. Ask how are you different from others in your field and what value are you providing that others aren’t?

6. Take on an intern — Although it may be difficult to let go of the reigns, knowing when to take a step back and delegate is essential to growing any business. If you are finding yourself too overwhelmed to manage your content yourself, hire an intern who can take this on for you. As you grow, your goal should be to become more of an editor and less of a blogger. Hiring and training employees will assist you in stepping into this role, and is beneficial to both parties.

7. Know what to post (and what not to post) — When posting on your various social media accounts, it’s important to keep your target demographic in mind. As briefly mentioned above, someone that clicks on your page develops an instantaneous impression of who you are at first glance, so presenting yourself and your business appropriately is crucial. Your posts should not only maintain a sense of professionalism, but also contain high-resolution and high-quality images. The majority of users are looking at your page through their phone, so any lag in quality will be immediately apparent and a huge turnoff.

Not every post needs to be original content, either. If you’re in technology, for example, it could be beneficial to post quotes from industry leaders, breaking news stories, etc., and include your own thoughts or opinions in the captions. This shows you are tuned in to the industry and capable of applying your unique perspective to it.

8. Incorporate lifestyle shots — Regardless of your industry, it’s essential to keep your account diverse. Your photos should be varied, and you shouldn’t be afraid of slipping in a few lifestyle posts here and there.

Think about what your target demographic’s life looks like outside of their professional life — what are their common interests and hobbies? For instance, posting an image from your day at the animal rescue shelter, a great wine bar you’ve discovered or your favorite weekend getaway spot will create a sense of humanity and personality to your account, something we’ve found to be a crucial factor in gaining and keeping followers.

Amra Beganovich and Elma Beganovich, two sisters and social media mavens who left their 9–5 jobs to build two companies, Club Fashionista and now Amra & Elma rely on their impressive Instagram presence in expanding and maintaining their business.