Social media marketing has evolved beyond counting followers and fans, so why do we still care how many people retweet our tweets and share our facebook posts? We’ve evolved into the era of engagement, but there’s still an inherent sense amongst the socially savvy that more followers means more credibility. Having 400 people tweet your latest blog post tells you nothing about the quality of the post beyond the fact that it’s a topic people want to talk about it. However, the fact that 400 people want to talk about your blog post tells other people that maybe you have something interesting to say. There’s no denying that when you see a post has been widely viewed or shared, you’re more curious than when you see a post that no one appears to have read. The volume of your following lends credibility to your content.

If you consistently create good content, your following should steadily increase. But it’s good social media practice to run a campaign every once in a while to give your following a large boost.

Sponsor a Contest

Contests may not help you target the right audience for your brand, but they will help you expand your brand awareness amongst people that haven’t heard of you before. Like a raffle, reward followers with entries to your contest simply for “liking” or “following” your page. Provide an extra entry for those who share the link to your contest and your social media on their own social media pages – and make it easy for them to find the link. You can also track how many referrals came to your contest and social media via referral codes. The key is to make your contest interesting and exciting enough that people want involved right away. This might involve popular gifts with good response rates, such as a free Kindle Fire. They can also include “in-kind” gifts. For example, the grand prize for a travel agency might be a $300 travel voucher of a weekend at a nice hotel. If you can capitalize on your new users sharing it with others, you’ll beef up your social media presence quickly and gain followers looking forward to your next possible contest. Once you’ve selected a winner, make sure you share that information on your pages (using a first name and last initial is fine) so that followers know your contests are legitimate and awarded promptly. You contest is also more likely to go viral if you create a Twitter hashtag specifically for the contest and turn it into a story through Storify afterwards. And to get the most out of a contest after it’s over, ask contestants to share comments or stories or photos for entry. User contributed content gives you something to promote after a contest runs its course.

Co-sponsor something with another business or program

Partner with another business that offers a service or good that complements yours. By sponsoring something together, like a community event, you can cross-share with that other person or business and garner more traffic to your social media sites extremely quickly. Being associated with another successful company, or even being vouched for by another up and coming company, helps new customers connect with your name and explore your sites. This type of social booster will help you find a much more targeted audience than a contest, and may lead you to followers that are interested in your brand, as opposed to followers interested in your giveaway.

And one last suggestion before you run a follow campaign: make sure that you optimize your social sites before initiating a campaign! It’s not a good experience for users to visit a new Facebook page that doesn’t have a website listed on it, for example. Spend an hour or so reviewing and editing these pages to ensure you’re ready for the new traffic.

Read more: How Social Media Can Boost SEO