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3 steps to more social media followers

Did you play “follow the leader” as a kid?

I did. In some situations, we still play it as adults, too, right? (I don’t think many would survive in the workplace if they didn’t know how to do this.)

But did you know that it can also help you get more social media followers?

While I typically don’t recommend playing follow the leader when you’re marketing your book because blindly following someone else could take you in the wrong direction, there is one situation where I strongly encourage it.

When you should follow the leader

If you listened to the preview panel discussion I participated in for the Reach More Readers online conference  earlier this month (registration is still open for the conference that begins next week — learn more at my affiliate link), you might have heard me offer that advice.

“Follow the leader,” I advised.

I was talking about a strategy for connecting with more of the right people on social networks. “The right people” are those who like reading the kinds of books you write. They’re the people you want following you because they’re your target audience.

Whether the social network is Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, or another, you can get more of the right followers quickly and easily by following these three easy steps. I’m using Twitter as an example; just modify the process accordingly for other social networks.

1. Identify the leaders for your genre or topic.

For fiction, consider best-selling authors in your sub-genre. For nonfiction, look at recognized authorities in your field or for your topic.

Sticking with your genre or topic is important because this is how you will connect with more of the right people. If you write Amish romance novels, you want to connect with Wanda Brunstetter’s followers, not Nora Roberts’ fans.

2. Click on “followers” on the author’s profile page.

more social media followers 2

The red arrow in this image shows you where to click on a Twitter page to find the followers. (Click on the image to see a larger version.)

3. Follow the people who follow the author.

Famous authors will have thousands and thousands of followers; following all of them isn’t realistic or necessary. You can eliminate some of the people easily by not following anybody who doesn’t have a profile photo — see the purple arrows in the image above.

Follow backs = more of the right followers

Because most people will follow you back automatically, you will soon have more of the right followers — the people who love the types of books you write.

Set a daily goal for the number of follows. You can follow 20 people easily every day on a smartphone while stuck in traffic, waiting in line, or watching TV.

Apply this strategy to the one social network that’s most popular with your book’s target audience and watch your following grow.

Which social network is most important to your book? Why? Please comment below. 

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  1. Hi Sandra,

    I have been following and reading your blogs for some time and often “curate” your blogs to share with my following.
    I teach a class called “Journey to Authorship.” This class has many who are new to social media (other than for personal use). From the first class we start building their social presence and blogging. I will definitely be sharing this article with them…in fact I will suggest they subscribe to your blog so they do not miss one.
    On a side note…I would love to meet you!
    Becky Norwood
    Spotlight On Your Business

    1. Thanks so much, Becky! I’m so glad the info is helpful and I truly appreciate the sharing. I’d love to meet, too — where are you? I’m in Western NY.


  2. Hooray! I was pondering how to find Twitter followers in my Kid Lit niche without appearing like a stalker . I especially appreciate the advice about following 20 people daily. Helpful as always, Sandy!

  3. Hi Sandra,
    Great help as always, Sandra!Thanks for sharing! I often wonder if there is an ideal number one should follow on Twitter. I fear that one may be following 1,000 and have only 200 followers. Please is there a good ratio to maintain?


    1. You’re welcome, Chigozie! For what it’s worth, if you have more followers than you are following (say, you have 1,000 followers but you’re only following 200), you are seen as more credible than someone with the opposite situation (following 1,0000 but having only 200 followers). But you can’t control your # of followers. Your strategy should be not to worry about the numbers and proportion/ratio initially, but to focus on tweeting content that is interesting to the people you want to follow you. Get the “right” content into your Twitter stream, then start following the “right” people. They will see that what you share is interesting to them, and will follow you back.

      Target a 50-50 ratio to start out — following as many as follow you. That way, you will look interesting and interested. And don’t worry when that doesn’t happen quickly. All of this takes time, for sure.

      I hope that helps.


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