Follower acquisition campaigns: do they still exist?

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The importance of meeting the needs of customers without losing sight of the real objectives



In today’s article we address a topic that is very dear to companies, but thorny for advertisers: is it still useful and does it make sense to activate specific campaigns for fanbase growth? In which cases is it advisable to do this? And on which platforms?

In this article we answer all these questions in a comprehensive way.

The Vanity Metrics

On social platforms, success is often measured by the number of followers or likes. Behind these numbers there may be an appearance of popularity, and it becomes increasingly important to know how to read beyond the “vanity metrics“.

But why are they called that?

They are those results concerning the quantitative and not the qualitative aspect. A large fanbase is not necessarily synonymous with quality engagement and interaction with your community. Social advertising platforms are reevaluating these KPIs, placing the emphasis on more meaningful metrics such as engagement rate, clicks and conversions.

This evolution should go hand in hand with the redevelopment of follower acquisition campaigns, an objective still pursued by many brands and in which significant amounts are invested. It is important to focus not so much on increasing the fan base, but rather on improving brand loyalty and brand authority, aspects connected to building an engaged and loyal community to the brand.

Going back to the original question…

The answer is yes: you can create advertising campaigns on Facebook and TikTok to increase the number of followers on your profile. But why do it? There are several reasons why it can make sense to run a campaign to gain followers on social media:

  • Brand visibility: having more followers means increasing the visibility of your brand on social media. This can lead to greater user engagement and increased interest in the brand.
  • Reputation and authority: having an important following on TikTok and Facebook partly increases the reputation of the brand, as it demonstrates its ability to attract the attention of interested people.
  • Business Growth: A higher number of followers can lead to business growth, as you will have a greater online presence and greater visibility to potential customers.
  • Targeting: TikTok and Facebook offer the possibility of reaching a specific audience through the development of targeted marketing campaigns. Having more followers increases the likelihood of successfully achieving this goal, through similar audience targeting.

When and how to activate a follower acquisition campaign

To sum up, campaigning to gain followers on TikTok and Facebook can definitely make sense for those companies who want to increase their online visibility and grow their business through social media marketing. However, we reiterate that quantity does not always equate to quality: it is preferable to have a few highly engaged followers with our content rather than many passive followers.

But how is a follower acquisition campaign activated? Let’s divide the explanation by channel:

  • Facebook: on the Meta Business Manager it is necessary to activate a campaign with the “engagement” objective and at the ad group level as the place of conversions, or where to encourage a specific action (e.g. the “like”), select “Facebook page” . The optimization to generate the maximum number of “likes” at the lowest cost will automatically be selected. As a type of advertisement, it is necessary to create an advertisement from new and insert a video or a static image. The button with the thumbs up symbol will be automatically associated, the page name will be entered as the title and what is entered in the “information” section of the page as a description.
    The main KPI of the campaign is the number of “likes”.
  • TikTok: on this channel, through the TikTok Ads Manager advertising platform, it will be possible to create a campaign with the objective “Community interaction” and on the ad group, once all the targeting parameters have been entered, it is necessary to select “Follow” as the objective of optimization. At the ad level, unlike Meta, it is possible to select only the contents published on the page or created on the profile in “ads only” mode, called Spark Ads.

There are some channels on which it is possible to try to stimulate growth indirectly:

  • Instagram: although there is no specific goal for acquiring followers on Instagram, it is possible to encourage profile growth by activating campaigns with the objective of “profile visits” directly from the app. People who click on the sponsored post arrive on the IG profile and can decide whether or not to follow. This campaign, however, will have very different growth rates from the specific one available for Facebook.
  • LinkedIn: in campaigns with the LinkedIn “interest” objective, it is possible to add the “follow” button, encouraging not only interaction with the ad, but also the increase of the fan base.

In conclusion…

Follower acquisition campaigns can be very expensive and lead to satisfactory results in numerical terms, but they do not necessarily favor the quality of exchanges with the brand’s audience. For this reason it is necessary to combine them with campaigns with more challenging KPIs.

If a minimum number of followers is imposed from above to be on par with the industry average, it is advisable to invest a substantial budget to give the campaign a good initial boost. Once the goal has been achieved, it is preferable to invest the budget in objectives aimed at maintaining the acquired fanbase, as well as activating valuable campaigns (e.g. lead generation and sales).

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26 June 2023 Giulia Zucchiatti

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