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Granted, you can pay to promote your Instagram account to grow your following, but I’ve found several ways to build your follower list without spending a dime, just a few minutes of sweat equity each day.

If you’re just starting a new brand or company, having a social media presence is ultra-important in this day and age. Here are a few ways to build your following without breaking the rules or your bank. Even if your company already exists, it’s never too late to start using these tips.

Follow people who are interested in your genre. If you’re a health and wellness brand, follow celebrities that are into that lifestyle, follow other brands similar to you, and (here’s the kicker) follow as many accounts as you can that have recently followed accounts and brands similar to yours. Typically, you’ll get approximately 10% of a follow back rate, and sometimes double that on a good day. So if you follow 1,000 accounts, you’ll get back at least 100 followers, sometimes more.

There are limitations on the following accounts, and if you go over those limits you can get a restriction on your account for spam-like activity which will be an even worse situation than when you started. A good rule of thumb is that you don’t follow more than 100 accounts per day. This will avoid any restrictions being placed on your account, which typically lasts up to a week. This is a slow cooker, but it’s effective and worth the time. Each day when you go to do your daily 100 follows, it shouldn’t take you longer than 5 minutes at first, and once you get the hang of it, about 2 minutes. The rewarding effects will be evident almost immediately after the first time you start this routine. You can only follow 7,500 accounts, so be prepared to clean house, and then start over again. When you clean house, only unfollow those who have not followed you back yet. You can use free 3rd party apps to easily find out who has not followed you back and unfollow them. Repetition is key, don’t get complacent when you reach a ‘big’ number.

Content is king. Be sure you’re posting multiple times per day, and using as many hashtags as possible. This will also attract new followers, even more organically than the first task. When you’re building a following, you can’t just follow accounts and expect to have success; this blog is a recipe, and the ‘following 100 accounts per day’ task is merely one ingredient to the recipe. You have to combine these tasks. Content is king on Instagram, that’s why I said it twice; it’s king. Make that 3 times.

Follow and unfollow celebrities repeatedly. This is my least favorite tip, but it works. Follow celebrities with large followings, and then unfollow them the next day, and then repeat the next day. Circulate several different celebrities so some are always in play. What happens here is you’ll be at the very top of the celebrity’s followers list, which makes you very prone to be followed by random people who like that celebrity. Be sure to follow them back so they don’t get bitter and unfollow you; this is common on the gram. The key is unfollowing the celeb, so the next day you can re-follow them and get your account back up to the top of the cue of followers.

IMPORTANT: Stick to accounts and celebrities who have some commonalities with your brand so you don’t end up with thousands of followers who are not really interested in what you’re selling.

Again, if you want to pay to promote your Instagram following and save time, you can pay for promotional campaigns on Instagram. Remember, Instagram is owned by Facebook. Don’t go over the 100 per day rule; I can’t stress this enough.

Keep an eye out for another blog next week, How To Build Your Facebook Page Likes Without Paying Facebook Money.

Posted by Marc Charles

Marc Charles has worked in Radio since 2005. Marc has been active in media in Detroit, Ohio, Canada, and Florida. When he's not blogging for Money Talk Radio, he covers UFC. Follow Marc on social media @TheLegalManMarc & @TheOctagram.