How to Grow Your Podcast Social Media Followers

You are living in the most lucky time of all of history as a creator. Thousands of years ago, people had to physically come to see what you created. Hundreds of years ago there was no mass communication. Decades ago you had to take out expensive ads in newspapers, magazines, and TV. Now, you have social media. A game where anyone can play, free of charge, and those who win, get a megaphone to market whatever they want. It's truly an amazing time to be alive as a creator. Don't blow this opportunity. Don't wait for it to come. It's here. Don't wait for permission, go grab it.

Why You Need to Grow Your Social Media Followers as a Podcaster

Do not fall in the trap of thinking your social media audience will grow after you make a podcast. It's the opposite! Your podcast will grow after you build your social media audience. It's a lot easier to get a follower on Twitter than it is to get a listener to your podcast. And it's a lot easier to convince a follower to listen to your show, than to convince someone who doesn't even know you exist.

Think about it like this. Look at all the celebrities who start a podcast and on day one it has immediate listeners. They are able to drum up new listeners because of their social media presence and influence. The smart creators of today are growing their social media following because when they create something, they want as loud of a voice as possible to tell as many people as possible. You might think you have a loud voice already by having a podcast, but a large following on Twitter, cranks that up to 11.

Having a large social media audience also means social validation. We as humans tend to make decisions based on what others think. And people will listen to you more and potentially listen to your podcast if you have a large online following because they think "Hey this guy is popular! I'm going to see what everyone likes about him."

Being there enables more engagement. You want people to talk about your show. But you can do things to make it easier. By having accounts on the different platforms that are easily found, people can mention you in Tweets and posts. Which gets you more followers and more people listening. Get people talking on social media. Ask a lot of questions, and say things that would start discussions. Also by being on your listeners favorite social media platform, makes it easier for them to give you feedback for the show. If you want feedback, you should make it as easy as possible for people to give it to you. Don't make them join your exclusive group or use a system they never use. Be where they are already talking, and it'll be easier for them to talk to you.

With a large social media audience your promotions are so much more effective. Not only will you ask people to listen, but you might need questions for an upcoming show, or want to tell people to vote for you in an upcoming contest, or tell people about your Patreon or something you need help with. This is an informal communication channel where you can make a lot of magic happen. Recently there was a contest a podcast player app was doing where the person with the most retweets of a hashtag gets featured in the podcast player. Guess who's going to win that? The podcaster with the most Twitter followers.

DON'T WAIT FOR YOUR FOLLOWERS TO GROW ORGANICALLY! You need to go out and work on building your audience yourself. You might laugh at the couple at the restaurant ignoring each other and both staring at their phones. But that's the world we live in. Those two are only on social media, and if you aren't in their feed, you don't exist. Doesn't matter if you walk into the restaurant naked giving out free chocolate. Their heads are buried in their social media feed, so go get in there.

In other words, if you want to grow your podcast audience, grow your social media followers. If done right, it will result in more listeners to your podcast.

Set Social Media on Fire!

Don't just post to social media and then think that you did your social media duty. That almost never works. You need to work your tail off at it to set it on fire. What I mean is that you want to infiltrate social media so deep that people start talking about it all on their own. You want to light the flame, and even if you don't touch social media ever again, people will promote your show and talk about your show without you. Because as they do that, the flame will grow bigger and spread to more people who will then do the same.

What does it look like when you set social media on fire? It looks like this:

  • People post new episodes when they come out. Sometimes before you do.
  • People post pictures of themselves listening to the show, or screenshots of their app which is playing your show.
  • People write blog posts or videos of them reviewing your show.
  • People answer others who ask "what's a good podcast" by recommending you.

When this kind of stuff starts happening on social media, that's when your momentum will pick up and things will get easier. Your work isn't done yet, but at least you lit the flame.

So how do you light the flame? First, show up! Be on social media. Be all over it. Commenting, posting, and engaging as much as you can with the audience you want. Post things that start discussions and keep the discussions going. Before I got on Instagram I had 0 hits to my website from Instagram. Now, in just 3 months time, I've had 3,000 visitors to my podcast website from Instagram.

Teach your followers how to share the show. Get a lot of people to post pictures of them listening to your podcast and then retweet and repost that like crazy. Go nuts when someone posts it. The more people that see how excited you are when someone is showing they are a fan, the more fans will show you they are fans. It's actually really exciting as a fan to have your post shared by the person you're a fan of. The more you display how others display they are fans of the show, the more you'll see fans doing it. And trust me, the feeling of seeing someone popular post a picture of them listening to your show is amazing, maybe even worth more than getting paid for podcasting.

So go set it on fire. The best part about setting it on fire is that once the flame is spreading, you can relax a little and focus on something else.

Which Platform to Choose?

Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are the kings right now. If running 3 accounts at once is too much, start with one and nail it one. Set it on fire and then go to the next. Don't be too worried about trying to figure out what social media trends are next. Jump on what's hot now because we know these work.

Once you set these 3 on fire, you can move on to more. Be on LinkedIn if your audience is professionals. Be on Snap Chat if your audience is for the younger crowd. Be on Pinterest if your audience is crafty. Go wherever you can get a following and people can monitor what you're posting. Reddit for instance is not a good choice because people don't follow people there, they follow subreddits. So you can't really build an influence there (yet).

Basic Strategies for All Platforms

Nail your bio

It's still amazing to me how many podcast bios are terrible. They have broken links in the bio, or no link, or just link to iTunes, or it doesn't explain what this show or person is about. Be descriptive yet consice and have a link to your podcast's website. Use nice bio graphics that match your show's graphics for consistency.

Find your audience

Make a list of hashtags, influencers, accounts, and groups that your audience follows. Then be part of all that. Post with those hashtags, follow those influencers and comment on their posts, and join the groups. Watch and get to know what your audience reacts best to. Whether it's jokes, articles, or good discussion, figure it out and then start adding content similar.

It's sometimes hard to find your audience. For instance a lot of people struggle with finding their audience on Instagram. It took me a while too, almost 5 months of watching it. But I realized the Instagram listeners are just younger versions of my other listeners. People who want to get into my niche topic but haven't really started yet. They are fans of the idea but haven't taken any interest or action on getting into it themselves. So you get this opportunity to influence them and teach them and guide them as beginners. They can potentially look up to you as a great influencer and role model if you do it right. So your audience comes in many varieties and each platform has a different group of people who will like your show.

Engage as much as you can

Post, comment, like, share, retweet, comment, direct message, and post some more. The biggest advantage a small podcaster has over a large one is that you can interact with everyone who reaches out to you. While a large podasters simply can't keep up with fan mail. So if someone reaches out to you asking for help, help them. You never know who they might be. They might have a lot of influence themselves and if you help them, they can really help you back.

The more ways you interact with people, the more chances you have of meeting someone really amazing. I've met my podcast mentor through social media, my best podcast guests, and a bunch of people who have given me amazing opportunities to promote my show. So get super social and be as chatty as you can.

Post a lot

At the very least you want to post something daily. But this isn't always easy. Finding new original stuff to post every day is quite a challenge. So collect a lot of things you want to post. Some ideas are:

  • Something funny
  • News about the show
  • Show promotions (reminders to listen, repost an old episode, etc)
  • New episode announcements
  • Pictures of your day, especially if you're making a show
  • Inspirational quotes your audience would like
  • Questions that start discussions
  • Videos if you have any.

I use a tool called Buffer to queue up a bunch of posts for me. So I will sit down for a few hours, queue up a bunch of posts, and they will go out over the next month.

Post high quality stuff

Watch what other influencers in your space are posting. What's getting the most engagement and interest. Post stuff like that. Some times low effort and low quality posts become viral but often they don't. So really spend time thinking about and crafting each post to try to give it the best chance of going viral. Your goal is for people to retweet, share, and comment as much as possible.

Try using Canva to create high quality images to post.

Cross promote

Once you built up an audience on one platform, use it to get people to follow you on another. Tell your Twitter followers to follow you on Facebook, tell your podcast listeners to find you on Instagram, etc. Get each of your audiences to help you make new audiences.

Strategies for Growing Your Facebook Followers

The goal of Facebook is to get people to like and follow your page. Those people who do, their friends will see that and possibly discover your show too. Facebook wants you to have a page and not a profile. Because profiles are limited to 5000 friends, and can't enable Instagram business accounts which open a lot more features in Instagram. So I recommend creating a Facebook page for your podcast.

To grow your Facebook followers, post high quality posts with engaging content. The more you can get people to like, comment and share, the more likely you'll be discovered by others. And when others discover you, they will follow you if your content is good.

Some say Facebook is a pay to play game. That is to experience significant growth on Facebook you need to do a lot of post boosting. While this is a great strategy it will cost a lot to do. And if your show isn't making any money in return it may not be an option.

The long and free way there is simply to post a lot of great stuff. Post stuff that's funny, inspirational, news, promote your podcast, be educational, or share something cool you found online. Post 2-4 times a day.

You can also use a tool called Buffer to schedule posts.

Use Canva to make high quality images to post.

Strategies for Growing Your Twitter Followers

It's possible to go from 0 to 10,000 Twitter followers in 6-12 months using this method. You can make a goal to get 5,000 followers within 6 months. This is realistic.

Follow, like, comment, retweet, and post. As much as you can. That's really it. Post 1-2 times a day. Follow 500 people a day. Like and comment as much as you can.

Case study #1: @lime_link. Created in May 2018, this article was written about 3 months later. The account has over 4,400 followers in just 3 months. @lime_link had a simple strategy when it got started: follow anyone who posts with the hashtag #podcaster, and retweet anyone who uses the hashtag #podernfamily. A lot of people Tweeted with these hashtags, so this resulted in over 10,000 Tweets from @lime_link. People followed back, and followed out of appreciation for the retweets. Keep in mind this Twitter account grew this large before this site even launched. Meaning people were following @lime_link without knowing what it was.

Case study #2: @tunnelsup (this author's Twitter account who is a podcaster). Currently has 10k followers, and it did this mainly by following 500 people a day. It specifically followed anyone who would follow certain influencers in the niche topic. So that's any authors, bloggers, podcasters in the same space. About 1 in 10 people it followed, would follow back. So doing the math, this account would get 50 followers a day. Over the course of a month that's 1500 followers a month.

Both of these accounts grew with a specific niche follower base. They did not try to get anyone to follow, but were targeting people with specific interests. So now that these accounts have a large follower base, they can be used to convert followers to listeners or users.

But how do you follow and post so many Tweets? Automation! There are a few tools you can use to do this. Use TwitterFollowBot if you're good at Python, or ClickyMouse if you're not that good at computer. What you're doing is teaching your Twitter bot what to do 24/7 when you're not around. I wouldn't follow more than 500 accounts a day or unfollow more than 500 at a time. Twitter will warn you for that. But you'll get a warning way before getting banned so don't worry too much until you start getting a lot of warnings.

You can also use a tool called Buffer to schedule posts.

Use Canva to make high quality images to post.

With this strategy, you'll soon discover how easy it is to grow your account and soon after that, start seeing your podcast listens and website visitors going up too.

As your account grows and you have thousands of followers, start taking notice of what posts are getting the most reach. It's almost impossible to have a post go viral when you've got only a handful of followers. But when you have thousands the chance of it going viral are much bigger. So you want to maximize your chances of a post going viral. This simply comes with practice. Don't expect your podcast promotions to ever go viral. They get some retweets but it's just not viral worthy content. To go viral you need something new, clever, witty, interesting, inspirational, funny etc. The more viral your posts are and bigger reach you get, the more chances you have of being followed by more people. Once you get to a certain size, say 10k followers, people will simply follow you because you have more followers. It'll keep getting more momentum from there.

Strategies for Growing Your Instagram Followers

Like, comment, follow, and post good content. Then do cross promotions/collaborations. These strategies are so simply it's hardly worth talking about, but this is exactly what it takes to get a group of followers.

Posting once a day is enough for posts. And you can post up to 15 stories a day. People like seeing into your day and stories is a great way to do it. Doing some podcast editing? Post a 5 second video of you doing it. About to talk on the mic, show them with a 5 second video. Came across a funny bumper sticker or want to do a lunch break dance every day, do it and people will connect with you more. It's weird and I can't get into this myself, but I've tried it a few times and it's been amazing. Stories have a lot of potential.

Case study: @darknetdiaries (this author's podcast). It started in Nov 2017, and now 8 months later has 11k followers. The first 5,000 followers showed up because I liked, followed, and commented on their posts. They followed me for doing that. After getting to 5k followers I learned that Instagram has a huge scene of cross promoting. That is, someone will post on their account to follow you, and you post on your account to follow them. Nobody will do a cross promotion with you until you have a decent following, so building up to 5k is ideal before doing this. As you grow your account, look for other larger accounts in the 10k range that you can cross promote with. Start friending them up. Ask if they have an engagement pod or ask them for tips on growth. Because when you get to 5k, you'll have built up a great circle of accounts you can cross promote with. Often the cross promotion is "story for story". You post a story for them, they post a story for you. Your goal here is more to get followers than it is to get podcast listeners. But you can absolutely get people to post them recommending your show. This is what a post like that looks like.

So how do you like, comment, and follow hundreds of times a day? Again, automation. If you're good at Python try instabot.py and for the not so techy people try ClickyMouse. For those who want it easy as can be but are willing to pay for an app Followers Chief has great automation tools. Look at some of the features:

features_screen

With this app you can auto follow, auto like, auto comment, and auto unfollow people. It's so easy! But it costs. If you're more DIY kind of person, you can do it free.

You can also use a tool called Buffer to schedule posts.

Use Canva to make high quality images to post.

Further Listening

The following podcasts will help you take this further. They'll motivate you, and teach you all the tricks to killing it on social media.

The Gary Vee Audio Experience start with the most recent keynote talks.

Online Marketing Made Easy with Amy Porterfield

Build your Tribe

Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner

1.5 Hour Webinar: Social Media Best Practices for Podcasters

Good luck and make a ruckus!

Jack Rhysider

Jack Rhysider

Jack Rhysider is the co-founder of LimeLink. He also creates a podcast called Darknet Diaries.

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How to Grow Your Podcast Social Media Followers
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