Do you feel like you’re doing everything to gain more followers on social media but your numbers aren’t growing? If so, you aren’t alone. This is a common problem that plagues many brands. At the end of the day, social media platforms want you to pay to gain followers. But there are a few tactics you can implement to organically grow your social media following without a budget.

These organic follower-growth tactics are best employed on Instagram and LinkedIn. Facebook makes it a challenge to grow your following organically. Keep posting and engaging on that platform, but it might be best as an extension of your website for customer engagement, distillery hours and information.

Consistent Posting

Consistency is key. It is true. To grow your social media following without a budget, you have to post content consistently. For most of us, we’re posting once a week when we remember or have something to share. Posting with consistency though, means creating a posting schedule between 3–5 posts per week on your social media channels.

When a potential follower visits your page and they see your last post was three weeks ago, they will be less inclined to follow. If they see you post on a weekly or daily basis, it signals to them that your brand is engaged and worth following for regular content. The caveat to this is that you should be sharing quality content instead of posting just to post.

Quality Over Quantity

Now that you’re posting content on a regular basis, it’s important to assess the type of content you are sharing. Is it valuable? Are you posting quality images and videos that people want to see and engage with? A potential follower needs a reason to follow your brand. You can give them reason through the type of content you share.

Ask yourself a few questions before building out your content calendar: What will a follower learn or gain from this post? What is the call to action? Are the visuals I am using the best quality I can produce? If you are unsure of the answers to these questions, then it might be time to rethink the type of content you are sharing on your social media channels. Use the Instagram Story polls and questions, use the highlights, share beautiful images of your product and distillery to inspire customers and educate them on your process, your people and your brand.

You might want to consider hiring a photographer or videographer to shoot a bank of quality product and distillery content to share across your channels. It’s an investment but worth it when the content can be distributed across your social channels, website and even print materials.

Engagement

Engagement might be the most time-consuming of all these tasks, and possibly a good reason to hire an agency or social media manager to help. Constant engagement is a necessary tool for growing your following organically. But what does engagement mean exactly?

Respond to messages and comments on your page in a friendly and relatable way, i.e., don’t talk to your potential customers like a corporate robot.

Repost Instagram Stories that you are tagged in by customers.

Like and comment on other popular or related accounts.

Like, comment and message potential customers and valuable people or brands that can help amplify your voice.

The key to implementing all of these engagements and turning them into likes and follows is to do this daily. Sounds like a lot of work, right? It is. But if you personalize your engagements and interact with your community on social channels, you can easily grow your following without spending ad money.

Collaborations and Giveaways

Collaborating with other brands in any capacity is an excellent way to amplify your brand with little to no financial impact. One way to do this is through giveaways, whether that is a tour of your distillery or swag. Is there a local tourism board you can partner with or local artists or other craft makers? Find a way to connect and partner with these brands to help amplify your social media pages.

Giveaways can be a little tricky, even more so when you incorporate liquor — just make sure you’re adhering to proper advertising policies as well as following local and state laws. The goal of giveaways is to encourage users to tag friends, follow and share to be entered to win your giveaway. This tactic encourages direct engagement and follows to your page. If you collaborate with other brands on the giveaway, it then taps into the audiences of your collaborators to extend your reach.

Reach out to fellow local business owners, friends and family and start making connections. These real-life connections can translate into social media growth for your brand, whether it’s through a collaboration (local artist designing your new label) or giveaway to engage new customers. Put yourself and your brand out there and you will see the return.

You don’t have to spend a lot of money on paid social ads to organically grow your following on social media. You just need to dedicate the time for consistent posting and engagement to see the results, and that might mean hiring some help.



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Karen Locke
Karen Locke is founder of High-Proof Creative (highproofcreative.com), an award-winning branding and marketing agency for the craft spirits industry. She is author of “High-Proof PDX: A Spirited Guide to Portland’s Craft Distilling Scene” was a food and drink writer, and worked at marketing agencies for nearly 10 years prior to launching High-Proof Creative. Karen has been published by GQ magazine, Bon Appétit, Sip Northwest, and more. Karen joined the Women’s Distillery Guild as a board member in 2018, and currently serves on the board of the Portland Culinary Alliance. She is also member of the Women of the Vine & Spirits.