Every week, we answer a common question about marketing or an aspect of business. This week, our question comes from a fan who entered our giveaway contest for a Fire Stick and Echo Dot. Today, we will answer the following question: “how do I get more likes, followers, and comments on social media?

By far, one of the most common questions we receive in marketing is “how do I get more people to like/follow my Instagram/Facebook/TikTok?” It makes sense to ask, too! Social media is a big part of modern digital marketing, and it makes sense to want to master it.

But you know what happens if you Google this question? You will see a lot of articles that either scratch the surface or give you a really niche piece of advice. Many will tell you to use hashtags, post at certain times of day, and to make better content.

Now don’t get me wrong – every site I’ve just linked is one that I love. It’s just hard for someone with little experience to take this gritty advice and apply it. So with that in mind, I want to give you three simple principles. Follow these principles and you will see more social media engagement.

1. Post better content.

This is obvious advice because it’s very true. People don’t buy products they don’t want. We call this principle “product-market fit.” Products that don’t have it flounder.

On social media, your message is the product and your market are people scrolling for something worth reading, watching, or listening to. If you’re posting bland or uninteresting content, you won’t get anywhere.

Now, yes, you will want to Google the best hashtags for your Instagram post. Yes, you will want to time your posts for when people are more likely to be online. Yet the most important thing of all is just posting something that your audience wants to see.

How do you do this? Experiment! Try different things and see what people respond to. Do this for a few weeks or months and you will eventually zero in on something people enjoy. Then you can keep posting more of that!

For example, one client of ours is a first-time young adult fiction author. Over time, we found that asking simple questions and posting quotes from the book did surprisingly well on Instagram. So we worked that into the routine and watched as a community developed over a few months!

Internalize this principle and you can use it literally anywhere. Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, even…real life!

2. Talk to a lot of people.

Now that said, if you post beautiful content, there’s still a good chance that no one will see it. One of the easy-to-forget “secrets” of social media is in the name: social. You have to socialize with different people!

Five years ago, when I was getting my start, you could follow and unfollow massive amounts of people on Twitter and Instagram. As annoying as it was, it sort of worked. People would see your content and you could build up a community by doing that and periodically commenting on what people say.

But these days, if you really want your content to be seen, you need to go to others’ channels and talk to them. Like some people’s posts, comment on their pictures, and follow some related accounts. Some people will inevitably do the same for you out of a sense of reciprocity.

Do this enough and more bystanders will see you. If your content is interesting, they will start talking to you out of their own volition. Over enough time, you’ll build up a self-sustaining community!

The particulars of how best to network with people depends on your social media channel. But here’s a good rule of thumb: pay attention to the bigshots on your favorite social media and see what they do to network with others. Imitate them as much as you can.

3. Boost your posts with advertising.

Social media used to give businesses a lot of exposure for free. That’s just not how it works anymore. Even Hootsuite, a popular social media scheduling tool, used the phrase “pay-to-play model” in their article here.

Sadly, they’re right. Organic reach is going the way of the dodo.

The good news is that you don’t need massive sums of money to make sure your content is seen. A couple of dollars here and there can really go a long way. But you need to get a few basic things right first.

First, your content needs to be good. I already said this, but it bears repeating. After all, why boost a lousy post? Boosting posts basically means taking a regular post and paying money for people to see it.

Second, you need to understand your audience. That way, you can define them as an audience when you boost your posts. Here’s a post on running Facebook ads so you can see a concrete example.

Last, start by boosting posts for $3 – 5 each. See what happens. Make sure you’re getting at least a decent response. You can use sites like Wordstream to see what you can expect for a certain level of spending. You want to either beat their benchmarks or make better posts / target a different audience.

Once you’re able to beat benchmarks, if you want more comments and likes, boost your post for more money. Seriously, it’s that simple. Once you have good content and you know your ads are working well, upping spending (a little bit at a time) is the easiest and fastest way to get more engagement.

Final Thoughts

Getting more likes, follows, and comments on social media takes time, effort, and, in many cases, money. Fortunately, though, you don’t have to be a marketing whiz or a born Instagram influencer to be seen or talked about. You just need to slowly experiment until you find your voice and proactively reach out to people. If you’ve got the money to spare, ads can make it even easier to build up that audience.