I was running a successful digital marketing agency and was spending a lot of my clients' money on Facebook ads.
I wanted to check out how Facebook’s algorithm behaved when it came to different pages, in particular, pages which would be highly engaged and could be considered a passion niche (e.g. golf, baby products, or classic cars).
I didn’t know much about classic cars, but running a digital agency, I did spend a lot of time on the web. My first few posts were shared by only with friends and family and got two or three likes. I then shared a picture of a classic Mustang, and the page went crazy.
I’ll show you what I learned over the course of the last three years and how you can create an engaged community on Facebook that will stand the test of algorithm changes as well!
How I grew a Facebook page from zero to hero
Here is the exact methodology I used to grow my community from zero to nearly 800,000 highly engaged users.
Takeaways on growing my Facebook page and how you can do the same: you don’t need to be knowledgeable about your niche to be successful. You don’t need to live in the same country as your target market to be successful.
Below are seven tips on how I grew my Facebook page’s followers and how you can as well.
7 tips on how I grew a Facebook page
Research what’s popular
Answer as many comments as you can
Automate your messaging
Don’t sell to your audience off the bat
Boost your posts
Use multimedia posting methods
1. Research what’s popular
I researched which cars were popular and wrote down the main talking points from each model, and then scheduled posts to my audience during the time they were awake. Seems basic, but I see so many people post when the audience is asleep.
I learned from experience to never post on the hour (e.g. at exactly 6 p.m.). Reason? Everyone else does this and the competition is much higher to reach people’s newsfeed.
In the beginning, I just posted the name of a car. Over time, I learned that adding questions was the best way to get more reach because Facebook’s algorithm rewards pages that ask for engagement.
Here is a recent post. I’ve stated my opinion and asked the audience what do they think about it, as you can see, it drives engagement.
Facebook shows your post to a small selection of your audience. If the post gets a certain number of comments, shares, and likes it will show it to more people and so forth. So asking a question will usually get more comments that lead to FB showing the post to more people.
2. Answer as many comments as you can
I answered every single comment for the first year! Now it's impossible with thousands of comments daily. But I still every now and again dive into a post and engage.
Don’t like and comment at the same time. When you comment and like, the user gets a notification. They are more likely to reply back if they get two notifications from Facebook rather than one.
3. Automate your messaging
...once you have 500+ fans.
I used MSGHero to automate private messages to my audience about a new post. The user had no idea that I’d sent the same message to thousands of other people as each message is personal. For example: Hey (first name) I really appreciate your support and would value your opinion on the following article I just released here.
TIP: Read about how chatbots and chatbot software can help you automate your messaging and reach an audience outside of your timezone!
4. Don’t sell to your audience off the bat
Always give them value and treat them like your best customer. Ensure that half of every 10 posts are sales posts. Think about how you can tie in holidays, current events, and news to keep the content fresh and relevant.
5. Boost your posts
If your posts get a little traction, boost them for $1 and no more. FB rewards advertisers by giving you increased reach. With organic reach going down, it’s good to occasionally boost posts with paid ads.
6. Use multimedia posting methods
Mix the type of posts you do as best as possible: video, pictures, polls, and more. Keep it fresh! Links to articles outside of the Facebook platform will be very low as they don’t want people to leave the platform. The same goes for video content. Instead of relying on YouTube, post your videos directly to Facebook.
Facebook has recently announced that you will be rewarded for videos that are longer than three minutes. Think about how you can create original video content in order to be rewarded for your efforts. Episodic content is even better.
As an aside, posting to Facebook from Hootsuite and other platforms resulted in lower levels of audience interaction and reach. To remedy this, schedule posts directly on Facebook. And don’t post the same content from Instagram to Facebook with a mass number of hashtags that you’d use on one social platform, but not the other.
7. Maintain consistency
For me, consistency has proven beneficial. I have posted every day for four years, usually five to 10 posts a day. You need to have patience. It’s easy to post for the first week, but slowly you miss a day, then a few days, and so on.
Active social media posting is the same as going to the gym and making a lifestyle change. Consistency will win through, and obviously results don’t happen overnight.
Don’t feel disheartened if a post doesn’t perform well. It still happens to me.
This is really poor engagement:
After persevering with the page I had 5,000 then 10,000. At this point, I realized I could be onto something.
When it came to hunting for investments, I didn’t have many VC connections or contacts, and I knew I needed to do something a little different. I researched heavily, and after a few false starts, I had a lightbulb moment.
I knew from a very old tweet that the VC he really wanted to talk to had a penchant for chocolate. I also knew that to stand out in a crowded tech market, I would need to be different. I created my one-minute pitch, uploaded the video to YouTube with a personalized URL, and sent a Twix bar with a handwritten note to my target VC.
To cut a long story short, I got the meeting and secured an initial tranche investment of £300K.
At the time of writing, the Clasiq Facebook page has over 770,000 genuine page followers. By surveying the audience and asking fans for their pain points, likes, and dislikes, I was able to create Clasiq, a content hub and marketplace for the US classic car lover.
Clasiq has successfully been through a second round of investment and now produces original video, interactive content, and guides based around user feedback and pain points.
We’ve taken the knowledge from our Facebook page and are now applying it to driving engagement on our website. Clasiq also plans to launch the world’s first virtual classic car auction and aim to be the biggest disruptor in the world of automotive market places and content online.
And all of this came from an experiment and a Twix.
Want to keep learning? Read our comprehensive social media marketing resources guide to keep at the top of your game!
Internet entrepreneur, David Zysblat, founded Clasiq in 2016. Clasiq is funded by five key revenue streams: car parts, car listings, sponsored content, and merchandise. Prior to founding Clasiq, Zysblat ran a successful digital agency in London, UK.