How to gain followers and grow an audience on platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok

Joy Ofodu wears skirt and headphones in front of blue wall
Joy Ofodu wears skirt and headphones in front of blue wall  
  • Building an audience is one of the first steps toward becoming a professional content creator.

  • Gaining followings on different social-media platforms requires different strategies.

  • Here's how creators are growing audiences on platforms like Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, or LinkedIn.

Growing an audience is a huge piece of building a business as an influencer.

Whether it's on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, or even LinkedIn, earning the trust and attention of thousands of people is crucial when on the path toward becoming a full-time content creator.

Although cracking an algorithm is sometimes a stroke of luck, many influencers have concrete strategies and tips they've learned along the way when building their followings. Some rely on putting out content consistently, while others may utilize tools offered by creator economy startups. (Read more about 13 startups helping creators grow their audiences and make money.)

For example, Joy Ofodu, a comedy content creator who recently left a full-time job at Instagram, discovered that landing on a specific niche of content helped propel her career as a creator. Her niche? Dating content.

"That's all I posted about for about two years," Ofodu told Insider. "And that exploded my audience."

Ofodu now has 114,000 Instagram followers - when she started posting more regularly, in 2020, she had about 5,000.

Read Ofodu's top pieces of advice for growing an audience on social media

How to grow an audience on social media, according to creators and industry experts

Insider has interviewed a slew of influencers and creator economy experts on how to grow an audience on an array of social platforms. Here's how people are building a following on platforms from Instagram to LinkedIn.


Jaden Versluis, a talent manager and travel creator, started posting regularly on Instagram in May. At the time, he had about 4,000 followers.

Three months later, Versluis' audience had grown to 140,000 followers on Instagram.

He found that search-engine optimization (SEO) can influence how discoverable content is. Versluis told Insider that whichever platform you use, "your caption should be full of keywords."

Read more about his strategies for growth and getting brand partnerships as a travel-content creator


YouTube has a reputation for being one of the most difficult platforms to grow an audience on.

Paddy Galloway, a creator and YouTube strategist, studies exactly what it takes to gain subscribers on the platform. As a strategist, he's worked with some of the top creators in the world, including MrBeast.

With YouTube's introduction of Shorts - the platform's TikTok competitor - growth has looked easier of late.

"I'm really bullish on Shorts," Galloway told Insider. "With my long-form clients, we post Shorts on their main channel. I've looked at tens of thousands of videos, and I have not seen a negative correlation between posting Shorts and competing with long form."

Read more on how to grow a YouTube channel, according to a strategist who has worked with creators like MrBeast


TikTok has bolstered many creators to fame.

According to TikTok's head of music Corey Sheridan, livestreams and engaging with comments can help drive growth.

Victoria Paris, a lifestyle influencer, built her audience by posted several TikToks each day and responding or liking comments on her videos. She has more than 1.5 million followers on the app today.

But for some, all it takes is one viral moment and following that momentum. For instance, Nate White, a New York City-based fashion designer, posted his first TikTok in March 2020. His "stank walk challenge" video went viral two months later.

"Every time I refreshed my phone, there were a thousand new followers," White told Insider. "I decided to build on that momentum and give the people what they want."

Read more about how Nate White built an audience of 1.8 million TikTok followers and how much money he earns from brand deals


While LinkedIn isn't the first social platform that might come to mind when thinking about content creators, the platform has invested many resources into becoming another stage for creators.

The professional social network has doubled down on creator-focused efforts over the past two years with new features, creator accelerator programs, and even podcasts.

According to Callie Schweitzer, LinkedIn's head of creator programs, one of the most important tools to utilize if you are trying to grow an audience there is turning on the platform's creator mode. This feature prompts other LinkedIn users to "follow" you and content will be featured more prominently on the platform.

Read more about 6 ways to grow your LinkedIn audience and get more followers

And if those tricks don't work, you could always hire a LinkedIn ghostwriter to help create content and increase visibility on the platform.


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