It’s a dilemma that’s plagued social media marketers from the beginning: How do you get more people to see your amazing content?

You might have a killer blog post, a witty tweet or a beautiful image to share, but if it’s only being seen by a handful of people, that piece of content is not doing its job.

We’ve gathered five ways you can increase the reach of your social messages, without having to pay to promote them.

  1. Target the right people

The first step in increasing the reach of your content is making sure the right people are seeing it. If your message about the latest designer women’s sunglasses is being shown to an audience made up of men, you might be missing the mark.

Uncovering insights about your audience, such as their demographics, interests and buying habits will reveal just who is engaging with your content. Armed with this knowledge, you can reposition your message so that it resonates better with the people you want to reach.

  1. Find influencers

Influencers are those people that have a big impact on your ideal target market. Continuing with the sunglasses example, influencers might include Hollywood celebrities or fashion bloggers.

By building a relationship with these influencers, you can eventually ask them to promote your message to their audience. Even a single tweet from a highly influential celebrity can create a massive influx of traffic to your website! Working with influencers, you can get your message in front of a much larger audience than you can build on your own.

  1. Create advocates

Have you ever received an email from a customer thanking you for your amazing product? Or heard a positive testimonial about how well you treated your latest client? These people can be turned into brand advocates, and they can be encouraged to share your content.

Advocates are typically happy customers who share because they genuinely love your brand. You can encourage them to take action and amplify your marketing efforts by creating a loyalty program or offering rewards if they tweet, Like or share during specific campaigns.

  1. Use Twitter lists

One simple way to earn more reach is by leveraging Twitter lists effectively. You can create lists that include influencers and advocates, and interact with the members to maintain positive relationships with each of them. Or, you can create a list of journalists for relevant trade publications, in order to reach out to them when your company has news to share. You can even create lists of competitors, to monitor how they are increasing their reach, and inform your own content strategy.

  1. Offer incentives

People respond well to incentives, so why not offer them something in exchange for a social share? Many brands have had success with running Twitter contests where a follower can enter to win by retweeting, or Facebook contests where they enter with a share or a comment.

Other incentives can be less direct. If your brand regularly thanks followers for retweeting, for instance, they may be more inclined to continue to share your content in the future. A little acknowledgement goes a long way on social media!

Of course, if you have the budget to augment your best social posts by promoting them on networks like Twitter and Facebook, you’ll increase your reach even further. However, using the above five methods, you can earn fantastic visibility without breaking the bank.