A Look at Building a Loyal Following
How Allison Bickerstaff Encourages Engagement on Social Media
I am a Mass Communications graduate student at the University of Florida. When my assignments focus on social media, a particular individual comes to mind every time.
Meet Allison Bickerstaff
Allison Bickerstaff is someone I have followed, and have subscribed to since High School. I first came across Allison on YouTube, back when I first contemplated which university I wanted to attend. I came across Allison’s “College Week In My Life” video series.
When Allison Bickerstaff was a student at the University of Florida, she was a College of Journalism and Communication student studying Telecommunications, which has since had a name change. It is now a degree in Media Production, Management, and Technology. I loved learning about the University of Florida through these videos. I felt like I knew more about Gainesville, Florida than other incoming Freshmen. Her videos and Instagram hashtag, #GoldenSpotsofGainesville, helped me imagine myself as a student at UF. I became part of her loyal community.
A Look at Her Online Communities
YouTube Subscribers: 311K Subscibers
Instagram Followers: 79.4K Followers
Instagram Engagement Rate: 9.08%
There is no doubt about it. Allison Bickerstaff is popular on Instagram and YouTube. Her college YouTube videos have evolved into video blogs documenting her everyday life. Her Instagram account mirrors her YouTube. She consistently posts teasers to her new YouTube videos as reels or keeps up with life’s moments through normal posts. When I first subscribed (in 2018) to Allison’s YouTube channel, she had roughly 27 thousand total subscribers. Within the last year, she has increased her Instagram following by at least 10 thousand people. She has seen a lot of growth on both of her platforms! Let’s look into how she is building a loyal following.
How does she do it?
There are several ways Allison interacts on her platforms that likely improve follower loyalty. She has identified her personal brand voice. This means she has a clear style of communication that her audience can identify (Wachtel, 2021). Allison has also remained relevant. As she goes through life changes, the type of content she creates also changes. For example, she is no longer making videos about college. Her content is much more focused on her marriage to high school sweetheart, Brandon, and her life as a creator and influencer. Her audience has grown up as she does. This creates lasting and loyal fans. If she continued to create content based on the age and lifestyle of her audience when she started, they would eventually out grow her content.
Allison posts frequently on YouTube and Instagram. In the screenshots above, you can see Allison posts a new YouTube video every 2 to 4 days. She makes Instagram posts several times per week, and on days when she does not post to her feed, she will post Instagram stories. (5 Interactions to Help Improve Your Follower Loyalty on Social Media, 2017)
Allison acknowledges her followers. She will respond to comments, questions, and Direct Messages from followers/subscribers on Instagram and YouTube. During these interactions, she remains authentic and sincere (5 Interactions to Help Improve Your Follower Loyalty on Social Media, 2017). If a follower tags her in an Instagram post or story, it is likely Allison will repost the content onto her story on personal Instagram. She calls her followers her “friends”. She is constantly building a relationship with her followers. As a loyal follower, I feel like I know her, not like I am following a random influencer who is out of touch with reality. Allison will often thank her “friends” in videos, as a way to acknowledge them.
Allison likes to start conversations with her followers. In a caption of a post, she will ask a question. This prompts her followers to respond and engage in the comment section of the post. She will also create a conversation on YouTube and carry it over to her Instagram. This creates a link between the two platforms. For example, Allison has slowly decorating and doing small home improvement projects. When deciding how to arrange the new furniture in her office space, she asked her followers for their input! On her Instagram story, she asked for her followers to vote for their favorite arrangement. She followed up and showed her followers how she ended up arranging the room on Instagram and YouTube. She keeps her followers updated on all her major life changes. They follow along in her journey, when she graduated, got married, built a home, and adopted a dog.
What are the results?
Allison’s success on YouTube and Instagram can be credited to how she continuously stays true to herself, even as she goes through life’s changes. Her audience grows along with her. Allison is always consistent in her posting schedule, staying relevant and current. She creates conversations with her audience, and acknowledges their presence and what they mean to her as a creator. As Allison continues to grow her personal brand and create content, she will have a strong and loyal community of followers.
5 Interactions to Help Improve Your Follower Loyalty on Social Media. (2017, July 7). Entrepreneur. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/296638
Bickerstaff, A. [A L L I S O N]. (2018, March 5). COLLEGE WEEK IN MY LIFE | University of Florida ✨ [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pa9-XeGeJ4Y&feature=youtu.be
Wachtel, T. (2021, June 27). 7 Examples of Brand Voice Masters. Element Three. Retrieved February 20, 2022, from https://elementthree.com/blog/best-brand-voice-examples-from-companies/?fbclid=iwar10zafv9nfeyb_cckn4gtmrwbelqcjk5pptzicte3rqvfxjmnwd1cbkr80