So, tell your lovers and friends.

Extra points for you if you caught where that phrase was from. Really though, that title says it all. This is the one thing we all forgot about social media in general. Ironically, this is how it all started.

Are you old like me? If so, you probably remember the days of meeting the “perfect” boyfriend or girlfriend every 13 days in middle school. Usually my conversations with these young women who were completely out of my league would consist of clumsy teenage hormone riddled nonsense that I hoped would get them to keep talking to me. If things went particularly well, like that one time I remember, our embarrassingly nervous conversation would end in one simple phrase that let you know it’s real…… “Yo, add me on MySpace….”

So much has changed since those early days of the internet. We don’t talk with our friends in AOL Instant Messenger anymore and we got our braces off, just to name a couple. Yet, what it looks like for someone to connect with another person hasn’t really changed as much as we think. We still have moments where we meet people for the first time. We still make friends at work and school. ┬á We still end up liking the people around us enough that we want to connect with them outside of the usual scene. The only thing that really changed in all this is the “app” we use. (Listen kids, back then apps were called…..websites….and you had to sit at something called a…… use them….)

These days we use Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Telegram, iMessage and SMS all while trying to forget that Google + ever existed. The apps have changed. The methods of communication may be somewhat different. Yet, the process of meeting people and connecting with them is materially the same.

OMG My Follower Count is So low. ­čÖü

It’s basically impossible for me to escape this. Whenever someone wants advice on their social presence online, they are primarily focused on getting more followers. Some people buy them, some people use strategies and tools like the ones we offer here at Media Swoon, and some people just stop bothering altogether. Get this though. Ultimately, the reason you’re having trouble kicking up your social accounts is quite simple. You stopped meeting and connecting with real people.

Side note: I’m not┬ánecessarily talking to large social account owners out there. This is for the folks that have a few thousand followers or so, but has less comments (responses) than the┬áamount of robots we’ve sent to Mars.

Yeah, I get it. The online world connects us with people we would never meet in the physical world. However, in our experience the people you have met in real life are 3x more likely to actually engage with your posts instead of just acting like they didn’t mute you. Incase you forgot, engagements are huge! Comments are everything. Comments represent real relationship and community, and also tickle the algorithms in all the right places.

If you’re not getting comments and having the occasional discussion as the result of something you’re posting on social, you’re doing it wrong! Growing an authentic social media presence and brand (personal or business) is all about community. Your follower count doesn’t mean anything if no one actually feels like they know you enough to engage. That’s why the solution to our social media growth woes often goes back to the first thing I said. Tell your lovers and friends.

OK. Don’t tell your lovers. That’s an old RnB song with Usher, Ludacris, and Lil John. Tell your friends though. Tell your acquaintances. Tell the folks you’re networking with at that local meetup. Tell everyone you encounter to follow you on social. These followers are made of pure gold. Actually, they’re better than that. They’re made of platinum! These are the folks that will comment, discuss, and engage with you in meaningful ways online. This is how amazing communities develop around online brands and personalities. It takes a few people who really really like being there to build the excitement.

It’s easy to tell whether or not someone’s follower base is plugged in with them. Just take a look at the “likes” on a post and the comments. (FYI, “like” counts are going to be publicly hidden on Instagram within the next year. So don’t get to cozy there.) Getting a like is the equivalent of someone saying “that’s neat.” Getting a comment is the equivalent of someone saying “I like what’s going on here enough that I want to talk about it with you, and I don’t care who else sees my name in your comments!” Like’s aren’t bad, but comments are amazing! What’s the best way to get comments? Build community with real people. Make sure every person you know in real life is connected with you online.

Unfortunately, I work so much that I don’t get out enough. So I’m going to take this opportunity to head outside and ask a stranger to follow me on Instagram.While I’m doing that, I hope you think about introducing some more real life into your own social media efforts.

As always, there are a plethora of more advanced strategies to pump up your social audiences as well. So check out our Instagram Sponsorship Opportunities and consider partnering with us to give away awesome stuff to your followers. Also, if you’re really serious about your brand and social influence we’d love to work with you one-on-one as well. ­čÖé