Popularity is something we all seek in one form or another. This can take the form of throwing a party or even as simple as throwing someone a helping hand. Deep inside all of us there is a yearning desire to be accepted, and this should not be ignored. Repressing this desire can do nothing but prolong the pain. However, this popularity should not be a chief endeavor on your part... there must always be a more noble goal that blazes the pathway to popularity - big or small as it may be.
One goal, which will bring popularity closer to you, is to throw out a helping hand to someone. At times this is easy, and at other times, it may seem as if the popular folks have all the help they need. Your first step in this is to open your eyes and your ears to what problems your potential social group is having. Another thing to consider is if they are planning any event for the near future and would be open to your help in setting up, tearing it down, or supporting it through it's running.
If you are seeking acceptance by a person, instead of a group, always seek out the similarities between you... find what you have in common and then take the plunge to reach out in conversation. You may not succeed your first time, or even your 30th time, but time is on your side... everyone loves a friend who takes a sincere interest in them. This follows for groups and cliques as well... reaching out to just one member with the most similarities can get you on the inside of the group.
One big consideration in gaining popularity, is to be sure you are happy with who you are, once you achieve a bit more of the popularity you seek. It's no use to be popular but hate who you are and what you're forced to do in order to stay popular. So, take the time to plan out who you are now, and who you want to be. In the end, it's not the popularity that matters, so much as the acceptance of others. And the truth that many elders have shared is that it's not really the acceptance of others we seek, but the acceptance of yourself by yourself that really is what life is all about.