I’ve had a decent bit of success developing a network of followers at SoundCloud over the past few weeks, so I thought I would share a few thoughts about what I’ve learned. If you follow these steps, within a few weeks you could have your own thriving network of friends and followers. It takes a bit of effort, but once you learn these tips, your time can be much more productive.
- Start by following people you are actually interested in.
This sounds obvious, but people often just start by randomly following hundreds of people, clicking on [+] signs as fast as they can. These people can usually be spotted by the extremely high number of people they have followed, and the low number of people who have actually followed them back. This is an unproductive approach, which I will expand upon later.
- Start with a maximum of 100-200 people that you hand-pick to follow.
Use your initial selections as the nucleus of your group. Later, when we grow your social network, you will have a much more focused, relevant group of followers because of it. Try to get good 20 or 30 followers that have music you really like.
- Watch your Dashboard and begin to Listen, Comment and Favorite (LCF) tracks associated with your core group.
LCF is core to the SoundCloud community and culture. If you don’t want to bother spending a lot of time doing LCF, then you can probably stop right here! Why? Because first, the next steps won’t work for you. Second, you’ll be a lousy neighbor! Seriously, if you just want to amass followers through a follower-spam scheme, then know that SoundCloud limits you to following 2,000 people. Yes, there are those who constantly churn their 2,000 limit and don’t contribute anything to the community. Therefore, in the end, they will get nothing back for their efforts. The best way to gain followers is to actually be — and remain — a follower yourself.
[ There. Did I weed out the leeches just then? Good. It’s just us decent people then, so proceed… ]
- Upload a few songs.
If this takes you two weeks, take the two weeks and work on this before you start into the growth phase. It’s really important to your success in SoundCloud that you have tracks available when you begin to grow your network. When people follow you back, they will often check out your songs. This may be the only opportunity you have with that person to get them to LCF and download your tracks. So have the tracks ready FIRST, because it’s a lot harder to get people to come back again later.
- Follow back everyone that follows you.
- Begin to follow the followers of your core group.
We will build a connected graph this way, and keep your network more relevant. This is the beauty of Graph Theory (Google it!), because you will start to see patterns emerge. Those patterns eventually form the basis of community, and you will actually start to get to know people from all over the world, united by a common interest in each other’s music.
- Only follow people who are online.
Or, people you know to have been online very recently because you’ve read a comment or seen some activity. The green dot next to their name means that user is online. There are two reasons for this. First, lots of people blindly mirror someone else’s follower list, not realizing that many of those people may not be active SoundCloud users anymore. Or they are not active enough to respond to you in a reasonable amount of time. Second, when someone is online, they are much more likely to follow you back, because they are currently engaged with the cloud and will see your follow as an event on their Dashboard. This one tip can have a huge impact on your productivity as you grow your network.
- Only follow people who tend to follow back.
Follow followers, because that is what you are looking for. I also look for a good ratio of followings-to-followers. In other words, if someone is following 1,000 people and 300 have followed back, this person will follow me back. But if the person is following 300 people and has 1,000 followers, he may not follow me back. Don’t worry — there are plenty of other ways to discover people’s music on SoundCloud, including Groups. Right now you are focused on growing your network.
- When people follow you back, go LCF their tracks.
You will soon start to see that the combined actions of following and LCF actions with your friends will gain you followers, listeners, commenters, and those who favorite your tracks. It’s that simple. All takes a lot of time and effort, so now you can see why I provided guidelines about who to follow, so that your time is as productive as it cam be.
- When people follow you back, follow their followers.
That is, follow the followers that match the above criteria, of course. Don’t make the mistake of following the same people they are following. Follow someone who has already proven they will follow back someone in your network. And is online, etc. You should not have to go to their full follower list to do this. Just focus on the mini-list in the right sidebar of their profile page. Click on the second tab, and you’ll see that their followers who are online are already placed there at the top for you, just where you want them. If they have a full list of 10 followers that are online, it’s OK to stop there. It’s a lot harder to weed through the full list trying to find all of their followers who are online.
- Be online.
As I mentioned above, when your SoundCloud status is “Online”, you pop to the top of people’s Dashboard follower lists. So being online makes you much more discoverable to others that are building their own networks. So keep a browser open to your Dashboard throughout the day, and occasionally refresh it to maintain your online status.
- Have patience.
Don’t try to do this all in one day, or one week or one month. Make it a daily discipline, maybe twice per day, to follow 100 people in this manner. If you’re doing all the LCF and vetting you should be doing, then this will be plenty of work! You need this to play out over time, and you need your network to be meaningful and productive for you as an artist. It’s not a contest! Nobody’s getting rich here at SoundCloud (well, maybe except Alex!), so take your time to develop your network in a meaningful, productive way.
OK, so those are the tips. I hope they are helpful to you! At some point you will get to the point where there is no way you can LCF everyone that follows you, or keep up with everything. I have already made some remarkable friendships and developed collaborative partnerships with people I never would have met in any other way. So work hard to build a solid SoundCloud network and be open to what the community has in store for you!