Gaining Social Media Followers…for Free

By Diamond Lambert

Don’t pay for ghost followers just yet

Instagram and Twitter are the biggest keys to the success of your brand beyond having a presentable website. While Facebook, LinkedIn and the like are just as important to your web presence, maintaining success on Insta and Twitter means you maintain traffic in real time.

Seeing as I work for a rather small startup in a team of one, there was no budget in the beginning. Despite that, I managed to attract hundreds of free followers a month to our social media anyway (for free) and here’s how:

Only post “perfect” content

Finding the perfect piece of content for Twitter takes me an average of 15-20 minutes. Without an ad budget, and the audience data that comes with it, I don’t know ahead of time what people will respond to. My idea of something worth sharing consists of content no less than one week old (preferably posted day-of), an eye-catching feature image, and a quirky title or subject matter.

For Instagram, I’m actually more inclined to post organic content. Original photos of what we do as a team, inspirational quotes and a unique caption for every post gives a sense of authenticity. Instagram is an important place to be as authentic and personable as possible. You don’t gain followers as quickly, but those who follow usually don’t leave as quickly either.

Hashtag like a #madwoman

Your target audience is never going to see what you have to say unless you speak to them in their own words. I take the time to write out every word I can think of that will not only describe the content I’m sharing, but also match the kind of keywords I assume they would use in the search bar. Once I feel like I’ve maxed out the all vernacular I can muster, I whittle the keywords down to a reasonable few (if I’m on Twitter, enough to keep it at or under 140 characters).

Waiting for your audience to find you on the internet is not going to happen. There is so much competition for attention that you must actively seek them out. Your posts have to be so pointed, direct, and easy to find that people cannot help but interact with you.

Timing is everything

Having spent all morning scouring the internet to find quality shareable content, it’d be foolish to post it all at once, right? Right. Not only is it foolish to your content all at once (you’ll look like a spammer), it’s counterproductive to post when nobody is going to see it. It’s best to pace your posts so that you don’t run out of content to share, allowing you to post throughout the day without having to stop to find more. Hootsuite (or any social scheduling software) will save your sanity by automating all the scheduling and releasing for you.

These tips boil down to the simple fact that if you want organic followers and activity, you have to engage with purpose and effort every single day. The audience for your brand is out there, you just have to show them you exist.