The point of having social media accounts is to get your name out there and build your personal brand. Of course, that only works if you have an audience.  If you’re about to build your social media following from the beginning with a new account, it takes a bit of dedication, but it’s absolutely possible to find yourself some fans or followers.  Here are five tips to help you build up your audience on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram:

  1. Post regularly

If you want people to listen to you, you have to have something to say to them first.  Make an effort to post to your account consistently, preferably two to three times a week on Facebook, daily for Twitter and Instagram (and it goes without saying that you should try and make whatever you say a quality post).  Whether it’s a two-sentence post-competition summary, a post-workout selfie or a preview of an upcoming event, make sure there’s something new from you appearing in their newsfeed on a regular basis.  It will keep you fresh in their minds and help establish you as a worthwhile account to follow.

  1. Exploit your marketability

Remember why you’re doing this – you’re trying to build your brand as an influencer.  So show the world an influencer!  Anyone can post a picture of a sunset.  Not everyone can post a picture of you riding, running or jumping into the sunset.  Anyone can post a picture of the Olympic Games.  Not everyone can post a picture FROM the Olympic Games.  Remember your marketable traits and play on those.  People will follow you for being authentic, so make sure that’s what you are in your online and offline worlds.

  1. Follow other people

It’s a slightly convoluted form of networking, but go forth and like or follow all the people in your niche on whatever social media you use.  Not only are they likely to return the favour, making you show up in the newsfeeds of all their fans, but it will also mean that you appear in the ‘similar accounts’ or ‘you may also like’ sections of different social media sites.  Moreover, some people scroll through the people their favourite influencers follow to find similar accounts, so it exposes you to even more followers within your field of expertise.

  1. Use hashtags

Hashtags are a popular way of denoting shared interests.  Go and type ‘#sunset’ into Instagram and you’ll be bombarded with the sun’s path around the world for about 36 hours straight.  People will often spend hours scrolling through hashtags attached to their interests, so get your posts into those lists.  Tag all your posts with every relevant hashtag you can think of.  When you come back from training – #training.  When you’re wearing your team kit to watch your favourite team play – #teamname.  When you’re at a seminar – #seminarname.  Whenever you’re training or competing – #sportname.  Scroll through some of the influencers you followed above and see what hashtags they’re using, then copy them.

  1. Run competitions

This may sound like more than you bargained for, but running competitions on social media is quite easy and can really extend your reach. All you need is a prize – this can be as simple as a spare pair of socks or a book (though socks will fold better for postage) – then stick a post on social media for people to share to enter. Step three is to choose a random winner from every name that shares the post. Getting people to share you is a great way to put your posts before the eyes of an exponential number of users. Just imagine – if 10 people with 100 followers each all share your post, that’s 1,000 potential sets of eyeballs on your post. If more than 10 people share, or they have more than 100 friends or followers, the numbers increase dramatically.  Of course, remember to mail the prize to the winner afterwards!

Don’t expect to see your follower or fan numbers suddenly jump up overnight.  Building an audience is a long and slow process.  The main point is to start an upward momentum, and get yourself into the posting habits that will keep that momentum building and not falling.  In no time at all you’ll have an ever-increasing following and you’ll be wondering what obscurity even is anymore!

What do you do to build your social profiles? Leave a comment below, white hat methods only please!