How to Get a Following With No Budget

How do you work for followers?
How do you work for followers?

When it comes to social media, there are many levels of difficulty for various goals within an organization. Having a substancial  budget adds arrows to a marketer’s quiver to achieve success; whether it’s defined as hits, inbound links, better SEO, sales or brand equity, success is the product of a well-defined strategy revolving around content creation, advertising, promotions, PR and happy customers sharing. All of the efforts can be amplified through certain tactics where the effectiveness correlates to well spent dollars. Money itself won’t grow a following, as there are never any guarantees and correlation is far from causation. That being said, for those of us who don’t have an expense account with lots of bucks, the skills are what separate the cream of the crop. 

1) Plant them and they will grow. In this analogy, the seeds are the content in your industry which can be planted on blogs and social media, watered through sharing, and grown into a following that precipitates customers and sales. Simple enough? Yes. Easier said then done? You bet. The key is to write with passion about topics that you are knowledgable about, and hopefully find common ground with your audience. Otherwise it’s just a tree falling with no one to hear it.

2) Be friendly! For a moment, imagine being back in kindergarden. Would you share your favorite toy with the class bully? Of course not. In the world of online sharing, the toys are retweets, mentions, follows and the likes. Ask yourself: are you a giver or a taker? By offering help to others through engaging in conversations and sharing their content, you become a giver and open the door to relationships. These relationship help to bolster your network which can work to your advantage as you try to spread your ideas and content. Nothing can help a social media effort like a network of dependable friends you can rely on.

3) Fish where the fish are. If you’re writing a blog about social media, would you be more likely to find interested readers in a group about Cats, or a group about social media marketing? If you guessed cats, please stop reading. For the rest of you, the idea may be simple but it’s very effective. Put your content into the channels where it can be heard. Segment as much as possible until you find the groups most aligned with your efforts. By doing all three of the tactics together, you will be well on your way to success without a budget.