I built a 90K following in a year and it changed my game completely! This is how I did it.
CEO & Founder
8 min read
I know. For some of you, this advice is worn.
Whenever I give it, I feel people rolling their eyes - they're tired of hearing how you should build an audience.
But there's a reason that you get this advice over and over: It's because it works.
Do you strictly need a huge following to launch a successful product?
No, you don't. But most likely, you're then dependent on people that have.
To me, it changed my game entirely!
My first SaaS Product - failure!
I started building my very first SaaS Product in February 2020. I made a lot of mistakes, but the biggest one was underestimating the value of having an audience.
At this point, I had around 250 followers on Twitter and barely used LinkedIn.
I launched it in June 2020 - and no one cared. It got close to 0 traction and I had to almost drag users into the platform by force.
It was the book "Rework" that made it clear to me, how important a dedicated audience is. So I decided to build one! I stopped everything else and made it my primary goal to grow a dedicated following as fast as possible. At the time of writing this post, around a year after, I have 65K followers on Twitter, 15K on LinkedIn, 3.5K on Instagram, and 6K subscribers on YouTube.
My second SaaS Product - success!
Then I started building FeedHive
This time, it was different. I had 32K followers at the time, and the tweets got almost 3K likes in total and a lot of comments!
When I launched in beta, I got the first 50 paying users in a few hours, and I went straight to $250 MRR within the first 48 hours. Today, FeedHive has more than 3,000 users, and has published more than 60,000 posts on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
There's no doubt. Having a dedicated audience changed my game completely!
How did I build a dedicated audience?
I've talked about my story before, and the most common question I get is "How did you grow such a big audience so fast?".
There are some awesome courses and books that I can recommend, but let me just break down the basics of how I did this:
Above all else, you should be posting something that's valuable.
And what is "valuable"? Well, it highly depends. But a few things you can ask yourself is:
Is my post actionable?
Does it give anything that people can apply after reading?
Is my post helpful?
Does your post have any takeaways that people can benefit from?
Is my post interesting - even if you don't know who I am?
This is especially important when you're still small.
Don't ask for anything in return
I've seen people start growing, and as soon as they reach 2,000 followers, they want to start selling their e-books, courses, etc. That's such a shame! Wait waay longer before asking for anything in return.
Be very careful with giving people the impression that you're busy with building followers so that you can monetize them. It's a huge turnoff.
Give, give, give! Relentlessly! Without asking for anything in return.
Keep doing this for a long time. Have patience.
When you've built up trust, credibility, and sympathy - then you can start promoting your products.
Of course, building up a brand without promoting is challenging. But you can promote without asking for people's money.
Generally, I recommend promoting less than 10% of the time - also after you've been giving away for free for a while.
See the image below - this is a part of my weekly posting plan.
The circled ones are for promotions - those are the only two times I promote explicitly on my Social Media channels.
Yes, that means every day. Multiple times a day. And across multiple platforms. On average, I post 4-5 times on Twitter, 2 times on LinkedIn, 1-2 times on Instagram - every single day! I haven't missed a day on Twitter in more than 350 days now.
I know, it sounds like a lot of work! It is in the beginning - but trust me, it'll ease up over time. Right now, I spend around 3-4 hours every Sunday creating, planning, and scheduling content for a whole week.
A couple of hints:
Use a scheduling tool.
Schedule a whole week ahead, so you can spend your time on something else during the week.
When you begin posting, you'll notice that you can easily recycle a lot of your content. You'll get new followers all the time, and it's perfectly ok to recycle a few times to let all the newcomers get a chance to see the post as well.
As soon as you get a good idea - write it down as a draft. When you get to your content creation session, you'll have a lot of great drafts to work with.
In fact, FeedHive is built to make exactly these routines easier! That's what my SaaS Product is all about.
Engage with big accounts
In the very beginning, it's worth spending a good deal of time engaging with big accounts.
This carries multiple benefits. When big accounts post on social media, their posts often go viral, and you can use the comment section as a broadcasting channel to get yourself noticed.
Most social media platforms move the comments with the most engagement to the top, which makes it much more likely that the big profile's followers will notice you.
Secondly - if you do this enough, the big profile itself may notice you, start engaging with you and even follow you. And if you have great content - they may even share it!
A few things you don't want to do
Don't use hashtags either. I know this is a bit controversial, but in this year 2021, I suggest you avoid them altogether. There's no free marketing in this world, and hashtags will only make your content look poor and spammy. Think about it - when did you search for hashtags to find good content the last time? Barely anyone does this. People typically use hashtags because they think they'll get "free" exposure out of it - but if everyone else is doing it, that's exactly why you shouldn't.
Stay away from heated topics. Avoid topics where you risk spreading negativity, or spike negative reactions. So I suggest avoiding politics, avoid "calling companies out" and other topics that are prone to start a heated debate.(Unless, of course, your brand is politically oriented, and these topics are a part of your mission specifically.)
Be helpful and humble
Lastly, keep being helpful and humble, also after you reach a huge follower count. Don't stop saying thank you when people compliment you. When your followers appreciate your content, tell them how happy you are that it helps them.
Replying to every single comment and DM can become an overwhelmingly big task - but do your best to keep it going as long as you can. And when you hit the point where there are too many comments for you to realistically reply to, pick your comments in favor of small accounts. Big accounts that comment on your posts get plenty of attention already - focus on replying to small accounts instead. It means so much more to them.
Alright - I could go on and on here! But I'll stop, and maybe make a longer blog post or YouTube video out of this.
I hope this can be helpful to you. Please - feel free to ask any question you want, and I'll answer the best I can.
Content is king - but volume is queen
In order to succeed at this, you will have to push content at scale.
They say "content is king" - true, but volume is queen.
There's a lot of noise on Social Media, and an effective way to get heard is to show up frequently. Be the brand that keeps popping up on people's timeline.
What I'm saying is, you need to keep up a high pace of content flowing.
This is why you should use a tool like FeedHive to make things easier for you.