Running your business’ social media pages is no easy task. Sure, it seems simple from the outside, right? Just slap some cool images up there, write a funny blurb, and boom! The followers will just come flooding in.

If only that were the case.

Sometimes seeking organic reach can be frustrating. It can be so tempting just to pump money into a sponsored ad and call it a day. But before you do that, let’s talk about a few tried and true methods of growing your organic reach.

Resist the urge to hard sell.

Most social media users are exhausted from the constant inundation of branded content on their feed. Sponsored ads assault their relaxing scroll through their curated feeds, causing grumbles and frustration heard throughout the internet.

On social media, people are looking for authentic personalities. They crave interaction. Likes and follows are what drive your views on social media. Instead of the hard sell, try the human approach. Add a little relatability, humanity, and levity to your posts.

Build a voice and a persona, not a brand.

One mistake that many small business users make is using their Facebook page to solely talk about their brand. Their posts tend to be about what their business offers, when they’re open, and not much more.

Take some time to reflect on who your brand is. Make a list of human characteristics that your brand embodies. Maybe you’re a fashion brand with the mind of a sassy best friend. Perhaps you’re a non-profit with a heart of gold.

Find the person within your brand and post as them. Identify that voice and keep it consistent among all social media channels.

No matter what you’re posting, even a business update, should be done consistently and with purposeful personality.

Teach your followers something.

If you’ve been on Facebook or Instagram for five minutes, you’ve probably seen a recipe video fly across your feed. These overhead-style videos are engaging, shareable, and accessible with their distinct overhead view and lack of dialogue.

The success of these videos corroborates data provided by the 2018 Sprout Social Index—59% of consumers are interested in posts that teach them something.

If you’re a food brand, recipes could be a great way to go. If your brand offers a unique perspective on an industry, give us a look behind the scenes. If your brand has a social cause, use large text over compelling imagery to draw us in.

Lesson videos have the best shareability and engagement when they can be enjoyed with or without sound and ideally are no longer than two minutes.

Pinterest is also a great place to create learning content. Your Pinterest board could include tall and engaging infographics or simple image-based tutorials.

Share content and experiences from your users.

Human experiences are what make social media go ‘round. What better way to engage your audience and gain new followers than by featuring the people that your brand has touched?

On Instagram and Facebook, get permission from followers who have used your brand in photos for some cross-promotion. Feature your employees or former clients in testimonials or photographs.

Instead of stock or posed photography, potential followers want to see actual people engaging with your brand.

Stand out with stories and live videos.

Facebook and Instagram both feature stories and live video features. Live videos allow you to show fun, in-the-moment and unscripted content. Stories allow you to feed images, video clips, and even clickable links (on Instagram) directly to your users at the top of their feed.

Stories and live videos are a fantastic way to cover events that your brand attends, show humanizing behind-the-scenes footage or even host informational question and answer sessions.

Engage users with giveaways and contests

Giveaways and contests have been a tried and true method used by marketers since the beginning of our industry. Who can argue with their success? No one can deny that people love to receive free stuff. Giveaways and contests can lead to high post engagement by requiring comments and sharing to enter. If the prize is compelling enough, your post will be flying onto newsfeeds.

As you can see, the most essential part of growing your social channels is engagement. The end goal should always be to get customers clicking on your posts, responding to them, and sharing.

Social media is primarily stacked against marketers. It’s set up this way to protect their users. Only a minuscule amount of your followers will see a boosted post on most social media channels. The algorithm is set up to show social media users’ content that interests them and their friends.

If you create a human, compelling social media presence, your potential customers will build a relationship with your brand and welcome your posts among those coveted few that they seek out.