Social Media Growth Strategy

Social Media Growth Strategy

Stop Wasting Money on Social Media Ads!

If you create high quality content, the algorithms will promote your content for you, for free! If you don't create high quality content, any amount of money spent will be wasted because people who see your content won't convert into followers.

social media video strategyA high follower count looks good and makes you feel good, but that number is meaningless if those followers don’t interact with your posts regularly.

Instagram, Tiktok, Facebook, Pinterest, Youtube, X/Twitter: every single social media platform in existence will gladly show off your content at scale if it accomplishes their main goal: keep people using their platform for as long as possible

All of these platforms have their own unique audience behaviors, as well as their own proprietary algorithms to determine what content gets shown in certain places. Each one is unique, but the similarities between them all make them more alike than different. Your strategy will depend mostly on your business and the behaviors of your target audience. We can help craft cohesive strategies for all of these platforms, but below we are going to focus exclusively on the most popular platforms with the largest opportunities for growth: Instagram and Tiktok.

Instagram Growth Strategy

With over 1 billion active users, Instagram is viewed by most as a more fun social media escape from Facebook. Once, a visual escape from reality through heavily edited pictures, Instagram has grown into a platform that many would argue is the most important platform for the average business or individual. Now, instead of just looking at all pictures, users are being enticed with Stories, Reels, IG TV (#RIP), IG live, items from Instagram shops; it seems like there is something new every week. How do you keep up with it all?

When Instagram was young (as with any social media platform), organic growth came quickly to those accounts who posted good pictures and use the right selection of exactly 30 hashtags. As it grew in popularity and users matured and found a comfort zone on the platform, the novelty of following new accounts wore off. People became pickier and pickier about who they chose to follow and developed a much higher standard for what impresses them. This is a normal process that takes place with all major social media platforms. 

Common Myths About Instagram:


That old saying about planting trees works well for social media growth, as well as most things: "The best time to start was 20 years ago (or in the beginning), the second best time is today"


It seems like everyone has an Instagram account today, and assuming everyone's posts are weighted equally, it must be impossible to grow an account to a large following. Fortunately for businesses who are just starting or were late to the social media party, the opportunities for organic growth on Instagram are even greater than they were in the beginning. The number of people using the platform regularly is exponentially greater than it was back in the early days, and the amount of people posting uninteresting content is even greater as well. By establishing a growth strategy focused on high-quality, interactive content, the Instagram algorithm will prioritize your content over that of your competition. Believe it or not, Instagram is strongly incentivized to show users your content, if the algorithm determines that content is likely to keep users interacting with the platform longer than they would without being introduced to your content. 

Myth #2: Instagram is Just Trying to Force People to Spend Money to Grow Their Accounts

One of the most common misconceptions about Instagram is that it's impossible to develop a large engaged following on the platform today without spending money on ads. In spite of all of the competition and the pressure to spend money on ads or run contests to recruit followers, the best way to build followers is by investing that money in your ability to scale your content organically and come up with creative posts that will keep  your followers engaged.


I have experimented with running lots of different types of ads for Facebook and Instagram. They do have some success, but users understand what is an ad and what isn't simply by noticing the word "sponsored" on the post. It may be listed in small print, but the user still consciously or sub-consciously notices the post as a paid ad. That in itself will reduce the liklihood of receiving interaction on the post or account when compared to the post showing up in their feed organically.


Another downside to relying on ads for growth is that when the money is all spent, the posts lie dormant. The alternative to this would be creating content that users enjoy viewing, engaging with, and sharing with their friends. This is the type of content that the algorithm will determine other users with similar interests want to see. The virality of content with high levels of engagement will be consistent and long-lasting. Some posts will see a strong level of interaction for the first week or so, and then slow down, before ramping up exponentially with renewed virality several weeks later. 


Spending $5,000-10,000 on ads is a good way to get thousands of eyes on your content, but strategically crafting the content for your audience is a good way to consistently get hundreds of thousands, or even millions of eyes on your content, without spending any money on ads.

Myth #3: Contests are the Best Ways to Grow an Account for Free

Yes, it is true that contests are an easy way to build up followers. That said, these are cheap followers that can hurt your account more than help it in the long run. Users who follow your account with hopes of winning a contest don't actually care about your business or your account. There is a good chance that they don't even like your posts. After all, if they were your ideal target demographic, they would willing to follow your page without being bribed.

Why Are "Cheap Followers" Detrimental to Longterm Growth?

When an account relies on contests to grow a following, it may feel good to see the number of followers increase, but these users are most likely not going to interact with your posts on a regular basis. When they see your other posts on their feed, they will probably scroll by uninterested. If these new followers don't show interest in your posts, then the algorithm will correctly assume they are not interested in your posts. Therefore, they simply will never see your posts. This is one reason you may see accounts with tens of thousands of followers that get relatively small engagement on each post. While the big number of followers looks good, it serves no purpose if those followers don't actually see your content.

Myth #4: I've Been Shadow Banned

One of the most common excuses your competitors will use for lack of engagement on their account is that they have been "shadow banned". There is no question that this excuse is easy and removes all responsibility away from the person creating the content; it also sounds pretty cool. No doubt you have heard lots of people in your industry use this excuse to justify their own shortcomings. That means it must be true, right?


Wrong! Shadow banning is definitely a real thing, but unless you are in a gray-area industry (ie: Onlyfans creators, firearms manufacturers, medical marijuana, etc), your account is definitely not shadow banned. The real answer is much simpler, your audience just isn't engaging with your posts. If the algorithm determines that people aren't going to interact with your posts, why would it bother showing them to people?

How Do You Grow A New or Stagnent Instagram Account?

If you are just starting your Instagram account or if you are looking to find new opportunities for growth after years of consistency with the same people engaging with your account and no one else, there is still hope!

The secret to success on Instagram lies in understanding the goals of the platform. These goals determine how the algorithm distributes content to new people, and which content gets distributed. That goal is surprisingly simple: keep users on the platform for as long as possible.

Strategy #1: Remember why people use social media - Be entertaining

The biggest problem most businesses have when establishing their Instagram account is focusing on themselves and their interests exclusively. Assuming there are hundreds or thousands of other accounts focused on a specific industry, simply being in the industry is not enough to make your account interesting enough to follow. 

Instead of focusing on your own goals, adjust your goals and realize that people don't come to Instagram to interact with businesses or be sold to, they come to Instagram to be entertained. On top of that, while a lot of people may love your business, on Instagram you are soliciting attention from people who probably don't know you yet. It would be nice if someone inherently cared about you before knowing anything about your business or account, but those dreams are not based in reality.

If your content is entertaining, users will want to follow you. If they enjoy following you, over time they will trust you and they will do business with you when the time comes where they are interested in what you offer. You won't ever need to try and sell them anything, if you provide them with enough entertainment, they will go out of their way to buy from you.

Strategy #2: Give Users More Content

This does not mean you are better off posting mediocre posts every day! It is much better to post great content less often when compared to posting mediocre content frequently.


Think about it this way, if you post a beautiful picture on your account, the average user is going to see it and appreciate it for 1-2 seconds. They may spend some additional time reading your caption, but let's be real, most people aren't going to read your caption unless it is incredibly interesting. 


Now let's assume that you post a series of 6-10 pictures as a single post (10 is the maximum amount of images you can use in a post) and maybe one or two of them is a video. All of a sudden, your post is keeping someone's attention for 4-6 seconds. This may seem insignificant to a human, but to an algorithm, that qualifies as 2-3x time spent on the platform!

Strategy #3: Take Advantage of Virality with Reels
While a grouping of images and videos will see a higher level of engagement as compared to a single image, the real magic comes from engaging videos known as Reels.
Reels were initially introduced as a way to compete with Tiktok, and fortunately for all Instagram users, the higher ups at Facebook/Instagram decided to give users who create good Reels the same luxury that incentivized so many people to flock to Tiktok: virality

When creating these videos, you can upload videos onto Instagram and scroll through their lists of popular songs/sounds to find something unique that will engage your audience. Certain popular sounds are more likely to be shown to a larger audience based on the amount of people who the algorithm determines are likely to interact with that sound, but even videos with sounds that aren't used by anyone else have the ability to organically reach hundreds of thousands or millions of unique users.

Instagram Analystics

Instagram Analytics for @LevysFJ. Over 500k accounts reached in 90 days with $0 spent on ads.

What Makes a Reel Go Viral?

The secret to virality with Instagram Reels lies in understanding how the algorithm prioritizes engagement. At the very top of the list, is the average amount of time users spend watching your Reel. The first step in ensuring people spend as much time as possible watching your Reels is to figure out a way to capture and hold attention in the first 1-2 seconds of a video. 

If your Reels don’t make the audience commit to being invested in the video this early into it, the majority of Instagram users will simply continue scrolling before the video even gets started. 

Once you’ve captured the attention of your audience, the next step is to maintain their attention. If the most important factor in virality is average watch time of your videos, that means your goal should be to ensure that people who watch the videos all the way through. Bonus points if you can convince people to watch it more than once.

After a user has watched your video, what they do next is also going to factor into the virality success of your content. Are people who see the video sharing it with their friends? Are they commenting? Are they “liking” the video? Based on the algorithm’s approach to what makes a good video, this is the order of importance: average watch time, shares/saves, comments, likes.

If you create content that people actively watch all the way through and engage with after watching, the Instagram algorithm is going to assume that other users of a similar demographic will also be likely to engage with your content. Considering the goal of the algorithm is to keep people on and interacting with the platform, your video will be shown to new users on a large scale. 

Congratulations, you have just achieved virality. Your video content will be put in front of hundreds of thousands and potentially millions of people without spending a single dollar in advertising.


Tiktok is one of the most powerful marketing platforms to ever exist, and fortunately for marketers, it’s success has opened up a lot of doors in organic Instagram growth that did not exist just a few years ago. Master the art of creating entertaining videos (or just get lucky a few times) and you can grow an organic following with the potential to forever change your life and business.

Tiktok is not for children and it is not for dancing. No matter your industry, Tiktok can provide you with significant value. Let’s craft a strategy to help you or your business become internet famous.

The FYP Algorithm

The most revolutionary aspect of Tiktok is the “FYP” algorithm. Like any other social media platform, their algorithm has one primary goal: keep every individual user on the app for as long as possible. They do this really effectively using artificial intelligence which very quickly learns the preferences of each user and creates a feed of videos specifically for each individual using the platform based on their interests.

What is the FYP and How Does it Actually Work?

Unusual for massively popular social media platforms, each individual’s primary Tiktok feed is not necessarily based on people they follow. Its called the “For You Page” or “FYP” and it is a never ending list of videos designed “for you”.


The algorithm generates these feeds based on the content from all users, big accounts and small. Every single video created on the app gets introduced to a small target audience and will be further distributed to a wider audience if it is well received. Key metrics to keep in mind are: video watch time, re-watches (bonus points for good loop videos), shares, comments and likes. In that order of priority.


This is where the real magic of Tiktok comes in: virality. Every account has the potential for mega virality from their first video. It is completely possible for a brand new account to get 10-20 million views on their first video. Organically, without paying a dime to promote it.

How Do You Make the Tiktok Algorithm Work for You?

The secret to unlocking viral growth from the Tiktok algorithm is making really good videos and ensuring the algorithm knows which demographics should see your content.


The best way to direct the market in which your video goes is based on your caption. Captions on Tiktok are shorter than on other platforms and should mainly be used to introduce the video to your audience. Using specific keywords and hashtags relating to your niche/industry will also direct the algorithm to show the video to people who have engaged with other content using those same keywords/hashtags in the past.


If your video does well with this initial audience, the algorithm will then open up the video to a much wider test audience. If the video is equally well received with the wider audience, it will continue to increase exposure to as large of an audience as the AI algorithm thinks will be likely to interact with the video.

Jumping on Trends

Getting lucky only comes to those are prepared to receive it. Noticing and engaging with trends early will lead to your videos getting pushed to a much wider audience if the trend becomes more widespread. Trends can exist in the form of popular sounds, popular video filters or templates or through dueting or stitching another user’s popular video. Jumping on a trend is definitely not a requirement for virality, but it certainly helps.

Creating Better Engagement Through Video

One unique way Tiktok allows video creators to engage with other users on the platform is through duets. A "duet" is when you bring someone else's video onto your screen to make a split-screen style video while the other is playing. The most common versions of a duet is a reaction to another video spliced next to yours, but the number of ways to use this feature are only limited by creativity.

Another interesting way to engage users through videos is by stitching other popular videos. This type of trend can develop through introductions, or adding personal commentary to someone else’s video, or by using a popular video to add your own funny twist on it.

One good example of a successful stitch video is this “Tell me you’re an NBA fan without telling me you’re an NBA fan” stitch by Chicago Bull’s Mascot Benny the Bull:

@bennythebull #stitch with @nba #NBAAllStar ♬ original sound - Benny the Bull

Responding to comments through Video

Another unique way Tiktok allows users to interact is by giving video creators an easy way to respond to viewer comments with another video. This opens up engagement opportunities and allows for you to continue and build on conversations.


One way companies can take advantage of this is by allowing the people who religiously watch their videos to determine what other content they would like to see. If you run a bar for instance, and during a drink making tutorial, a viewer comments about a cool poster in the background. You can simply create another video telling about the poster and respond to the comment with that video.


This is advantageous because it shows the user who commented that you saw their comment and listened to what they had to say. Afterall, everyone wants to be listened too. It also shows other viewers that you care about what they care about, and other users will view your content as more relatable.


From a virality perspective, by replying to a comment with a video, the algorithm is going to assume that people who engaged with the original video, would also be interested in the video reply to one of the comments.


Going through comments on your most popular videos and making fun, engageable videos in response to some of those comments is a great way to increase engagement and have a consistent flow of good, relatable content on your page.

Delayed Growth

The delayed virality is another one of the more interesting aspects regarding how the “FYP” algorithm works. Sometimes a video explodes on the first day, sometimes it takes a little bit of time. It is not uncommon for videos to get a modest or positive reception on the first day and then slowly fizzle out, only to explode 3-4 weeks later. So don't get frustrated if one of your posts doesn't do as well as you think it should. Try to grow from it, and maybe it will blow up in a few weeks.

How Much Do I Need to Post?

How often do you need to post to Tiktok? Not nearly as often as you probably think!


People know that videos take time to make, and they will understand if you aren’t posting all of the time, as long as your content is entertaining and engageable.


It is far better for the health of your account to post 1 or 2 great videos per week, than it is to post mediocre videos everyday. In fact, posting the mediocre videos could train the algorithm to believe that people don’t like your content as much, making it more difficult for the really good videos to gain virality. In contrast, if you only post 1 or 2 really great videos per week, the algorithm will still be likely to push these out to a wide audience, because consistent engagement is more consistent posting.

Crazy Success Stories:


@SalemIlese went from about 1200 followers to over 1 million in about 3 weeks and picked up a record deal in the process, after her song “I’m Mad At Disney” finally went viral on Tiktok.

She obviously recognized the potential in the song as her first consistent grouping of posts started in early August 2020 which consisted of videos using her song in the background. They did ok, but her song still wasn’t catching on like it so obviously deserved too.

She changed things up a bit by posting 3 videos over a 3 day period of her singing her songs into the microphone. The 4th song she chose was the one she was originally promoting, “I’m Mad At Disney”. This video was posted on August 26, 2020.

@salemilese dis is my song “mad at disney” 🙂 thank you to everyone giving it love!💞 #madatdisney #fyp ♬ Mad at Disney – salem ilese

This time, all of the factors she needed on her side added up and the sound took off. Her video got 1m views and her account grew by about 40k followers in 24 hours. It didn’t take long before her song was one of the top used sounds on Tiktok, and millions of videos were made using her song. On September 9, her song reached #1 on the Spotify Global Viral 50 chart. She passed 1 million followers on September 16. She passed 2 million by the end of November.

It wasn’t the song on it’s own that sparked the success train of this incredibly talented artist. Posting the right video at the right time is what made it happen. Execution, consistency, and sometimes a little luck is everything you need.

Following up on her success with the original song, Salem made a video a few months later in January of 2021 singing a verse that was originally part of the song and got left out. This was obviously something that her followers wanted to see, the follow up video hit 11m total views and 2.1m likes:

@salemilese decided not to be mad at Shakespeare, Hallmark, and the Bachelor too 🙃 #madatdisney #rewrite #thebachelor #fyp ♬ original sound – salem


Salem Ilese’s story isn’t as unique as it may seem. Countless A-Level celebrities owe their massive levels of success to Tiktok: Lil Nas X, Lizzo, Doja Cat, Bella Poarch, Jason Derulo, Walker Hayes, Jax, Megan Thee Stallion and 2022 Grammy “Best New Artist” nominees Olivia Rodrigo, Baby Keem, Kid Laroi, Saweetie, and Glass Animals

You don’t have to be a musician for Tiktok to change your life either, let’s not forget the amount of fame and NIL money that has come to Tiktok stars in college such as Olivia “Livvy” Dunne and the famous former University of Miami basketball twins Hanna & Haley Cavinder. Because of their internet fame, each of these girls had an opportunity to net more NIL money than most of the football stars who become 1st round draft picks.

Levy’s Fine Jewelry – @LevysFJ

It took 6 years to grow Levy’s Fine Jewelry’s Instagram account to 30k followers and the Facebook page to 21k followers; Tiktok became the largest platform for Levy’s in less than 6 months.

Their first video was posted on May 29, 2020; it got a total of 35 views in 24-48 hours. The next day, their second video reached a total of 34 people in the same 1-2 day period. The 3rd video did much better, reaching over 1000 views in the first 24 hours (oddly enough, about 750 of them came within the same 2 hour window about 5-7 hours after the video was posted). That video stayed at about 1000 views for about a week and Levy’s continued to post new videos a few times a week. Over the weeks following that 3rd post, that video exploded, reaching over 100k users. The Levy’s account grow to over 15k total likes and 1000 followers in less than 3 weeks after starting on Tiktok. 

Fast forward to 2023, Levy’s has over 75k followers and over 1.6m “likes” on their videos. Not bad for a jewelry business on a platform supposedly dedicated to bad lipsynching.

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