strictlyBack in July, July 18th to be exact, I tripped over a strategy that helped grow my Facebook page by 4 times the original amount. Now I don’t want to have you feel like I have tricked you or anything along those lines. So let me first tell you my starting number, 68 likes. Yep and I am proud of those 68 people, and yes the vast majority were friends from my Facebook profile. There were also people who I personally didn’t know but they liked my little page about social media anyhow. So you will not read my saying only 68 likes because it isn’t just, likes. There were 68 people who liked my page. Some were my Mom and my wife so each person is a win in this boy’s opinion. By the end of my test I now have 303 like on my page for the beginning of October.

So how did a small page with 68 of the best people start growing so fast? The answer, I feel, is Facebook groups.

Why Facebook groups?

The root of the reason is the very thing I find everybody with a page complaining about, the Facebook algorithm. I can see why social media managers and marketers get so frustrated at Facebook and spout their frustrations. They go so far as to write about their anger over Facebook’s Algorithm. Much like Ericka Anderson states on Medium.  It is honest to goodness frustration at why it is so hard to get good engagement on Facebook. That will be a topic for a different post down the road.

But, the algorithm is a pain. Yet I know there are ways around it. I feel like these is a way around it. I just have to find it. Often when asked what to do about the algorithm Facebook employees will state it is about content. They are right. It is but to help build up the quality of your content you have to have people see that before mentioned content. So how can you get your content before more people? As this section states Facebook Groups.

The plan

What I wanted to do is see if I could get more people to my page. I wanted to get 1000 visitors to my page in one month. July was my blog’s one year birthday, and I had 291 users for June. Now it is not Huffington post numbers but the numbers were moving in the correct direction, up and to the right. With April having 202 users and 288 users in May I saw I was growing. I was wanting to see if I could help my little blog grow some more. I wanted to start learning more about how to attract people to my site.

Content is very important. Yet, how to write that content is as important as just getting it written. So I decided to run a small experiment. See what I can learn. Facebook Groups became my target after seeing the notices I get from the Groups app that I have on my phone. Anytime someone adds a new post to any of the groups I am in I get a notification. So the Facebook Groups already has a different algorithm than Facebook itself. So this is where I start. And On the 18th of July, my post about Facebook Marketplace went live. So this was as good as any post to try out.

The post took off like I wouldn’t believe. In fact, it is still my most popular post to date. It is more popular than my instant articles in means of Visits and comments. Lots of small business owners are interested in how to get their services in front of new people. Then each week I would post my new blog post up for people to read. At first, I would spend Monday and post to all of the different Facebook groups on Tuesday. I would see a nice spike on Tuesday and the tide would decline back to about the average daily visit. So, I tried spreading it out throughout the week and I didn’t get as big of a spike but I had a higher average of daily visitors. Sometimes as many as almost 100 users in a day.

As people visited the site they would see that I had a link to my Facebook Page. These folks would then end up liking the Facebook page and my views for each post would rise. Now, this rise wasn’t big. I normally had around 4 or 5 views of a post out of my 68 Fans I started with this rose to about 14 or 15 at the beginning of October. As you can see the algorithm is still a big obstacle. But I have been able to get the views up to as high as 100 people without any advertising.

The search

My approach to Facebook Groups is a lot like my approach to internet forums. Forums are not the place to sell. If you try to sell on a forum you will, more often than not, be banned from that site. No matter how long you have been a member. The objective in Forums is to be of assistance. Help the other members out. Give as much knowledge and resources as you can. Facebook Groups are often the same way. Therefore when you are in a Facebook group act the same way.  Don’t jump into a group and say buy my stuff. Unless you are in a for sell group. Then that is a great place to post up what you can sell.

So, what groups did I want to join? The best bet is where my audience can be found.  This is the 100 million dollar question. I can describe my ideal customer they are around the 50-year-old Small business owner. They know they should be using social media but just are not using it because they don’t feel like they have the time or resources. May have used their 15-year-old nephew but just not really getting the traction they are wanting.

So where do you find 50-year-old small business owners? That is what I have been experimenting with right now. I did a search for small business I found several groups that are what I call dump groups. These are Facebook Groups that people just drive by and dump their spam off. Hoping that someone will decide to use them to buy their Scentsy or Weight loss program. Since the barrier for the community is so low for these sites it doesn’t hurt to use them.

I also believe that you are throwing the people of these groups off a little bit. This is because I am not trying to sell anything and so curiosity draws many first timers in. This is because I go several new visits to my site but not many return visits. I also go through these groups and do the oddest thing possible. I like their post. If it is a post that is not spammy or an image of their sales page. If their post shows that they actually tried to make something engaging. I personally like that post. I have enticed a few new people to my personal Facebook profile because of liking their post. With these dump groups, don’t expect much engagement. You will get some from time to time but most people at doing drive-by posts so they will not look.

I have also searched for groups that are location based. Searches like Amarillo, Texas or Oklahoma City and look for groups in the results. These are more often than not gossip sites like Topix. So lots of engagement and Ii am again just I will like people’s posts if they are not too inflammatory. But I did try to entice some discussion with some posts. The efforts were a little hit and miss. The reason I chose these groups are of a shotgun effect not really going to find much in the way of my target audience but I should be able to find a hairdresser or another small business owner who is just seeing what is happening in the community.

I have a few posts that I have written what cover a specific industry like the salon owners. They are always hustling to get new customers through the door. Let people know that they have an opening or two in case someone needs to get their hair set. So I thought of trying to join a few hair stylists groups. Either they are sexist or they don’t trust me because I have yet to get into any of these groups. So I am still looking for new groups.

The rules I follow

Anytime you start a campaign you want to set the rules of engagement. For this experiment, I started out with No Selling. This may seem to be counter-intuitive because how are you suppose to make a sell if you are not selling to people?

That particular answer is…
I am selling. I am selling trust. I am not trying to bamboozle or hornswoggle anybody. I am just trying to help. That is part of the building a good Know Like and Trust factor. I build it by showing up each week and not forcing my sales pitch upon them. Let them choose to use my service.

With that said I will note that I need to work on my sales side. My engagement is deplorable. I was not able to entice nearly as many people to look at my sign up page as I would like. Yet, for this test, these are the rules I stood behind.

  1. Each new post would be pinned to the top of Goodwin Social Media Facebook page. This is so that when a new person visits the Facebook page they will see that they are in the right place.
  2. Each new post to the group would be original. So if I had 25 groups I was posting to I would come up with 25 different ways to talk about this post.
  3. If I could find a question to ask, ask it.Show even dump groups how to create engaging content. Doing so will help you become an authority.
  4. Try to be as different from the other posts as I could.
  5. Do not sell.
  6. At times use the link for your blog post and share that the Facebook post to the groups.

These are good rules to use. I need to work on building engaging content. The fact that it was different enough was able to bring several people over to my website. Then from the site they went and liked my Facebook page, shows that the law of reciprocity is still in effect.

Lessons learned

  1. Be reliable – Show up at a somewhat regular time. If you do you get better results. If you are there once a week and not there another week then the results tend to be a little lackluster.
  2. Likes are not Engagement. I quadrupled my likes on my Facebook page. Yet, the engagement is not that good. I got some comments and the like but Likes are a vanity  number. which shows me what I already knew vanity is hollow. Not really any substance. So I will have to work on this.
  3. To keep growing you have to find new groups. Though there are plenty of Dump Groups trying to find groups with substance and you are able to provide value can, at times, be a bit difficult.
  4. Some private groups are difficult to get into You may have to keep trying or just give up and realize that it maybe a dead group or they just don’t want you.

Facebook isn’t dead. The algorithm can be circumvented. It and I have found out a good deal on how to grow your likes on your page. The summary of everything is. Help people out and they will return the favor. have you been able to find a way to get around the algorithm? if so how?

I am here!

Bryan Goodwin

Social Media Manager at Goodwin Social Media
Bryan has been in the social media field in one form or another. whether it is blogging, podcasting, or trying out the latest social network . There is a good chance that you will find him talking somewhere.
I am here!

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How I quadrupled my Facebook page likes in 2 months
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