How to build 1 million Facebook fans in 12 months

I came across a text message conversation I had with a good friend of mine, he asked me if I was buying shares for my Facebook page.

My friend works at a social media agency, he was amazed at the engagement I was getting.

Hate the game?!

With only about 1 hour per day, I created a Facebook page in a niche I knew nothing about and grew it to over 1,100,000 followers in 12 months.

The page turned into a business in its own right with a team of people running it for me.

Every startup needs Table Tennis

This blog post will walk you through the steps that I took to build my Facebook business…

Let’s jump right into the exciting stuff. This is for four kinds of people…

  1. People who run online businesses
  2. People who are struggling to grow their Facebook audience
  3. People who want to generate more revenue from their Facebook audience
  4. People who want to start their own online business

Is that you?

Awesome.

You’re in the right place…


Background

As you probably know, Facebook changed their algorithm a few years back, it wiped out tons of Facebook pages that were gaming the system to generate free traffic.

Like most hacks, it doesn’t last for long so it wasn’t surprising for me to see pages going from hero to zero.

If you want to build a sustainable business you have to put the work in, sure there are shortcuts, like some of the tips i’m about to give you but when you boil it down success doesn’t come overnight.

Lot’s of people I speak to tell me they nearly gave up on the idea of using Facebook as a marketing channel, this would be insanity.

Just because Facebook changed the rules (for the better by the way), you don’t want to put the work in? This doesn’t make sense to me.

Facebook is the biggest social network on the planet and its still growing. With over 2 billion active users, you can build a multi million pound company from Facebook traffic alone.

I was forced to figure out a new way to build a following on Facebook…

It’s all about the content you post, how you post it and when you post it.

If you’re building a fan page to attract followers in the UK, don’t post content at 4am GMT, your engagement will be low and you’ll fall into the trap of the “3 post cycle” which i’ll explain later.


Choosing a niche

You need to pick a good niche or you need to fix your existing niche, i’ll cover both situations.

If you’re thinking of a niche, ask yourself these questions…

How big is the niche?

Are they obsessed?

Can you get passionate about it?

If a niche is too small it will be hard to scale and unless there’s a really, really good reason I would look elsewhere.

Use Facebook ads “Audience Definition” to give you an idea of the size of the niche. Here’s a selection I chose for one of my pages, over 8 million potential people to target.

Are they obsessed? A very important question to ask yourself. Think about it like this, if you want to build a tribe of people that become superfans, there needs to be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

20,000 cycling lovers are going to be far more valuable to you than 20,000 people who love Brad Pitt movies.

When you come to monetize your users think about what they will buy…a brand new road bike is more lucrative than a ticket to the next Hollywood blockbuster.

Passion is key, if your hearts not in it, bin it! You need to love what you’re doing but you don’t need to be in the niche yourself.

I had personally never driven a Jeep before I built a tribe of 1.3 million Jeep lovers! I love cars though and building a Jeep page was a lot of fun, even during the difficult moments, looking at a $100,000 Jeep was motivating.

If you’re in a niche, your page has been running for a while but you’re struggling to grow, take a look at your content after you’ve read my blog and ask yourself this one question I ask all my clients…

When was the last time you told a story?

You can humanise any subject on this planet and turn it into an interesting, relatable story. Whatever your end goal is, trust me there’s a way of building a tribe of superfans on Facebook.

A video appeared on my newsfeed recently that I need to share with you.

Love this video!

This is a great example of how any business can use video to create viral content, reach millions of new people and drive real growth.

The video had clocked just over 2 million views for me…

This video changed their business

Building An Audience

This is the area that most people struggle with, it’s also the area that requires the most amount of work.

Monetizing your audience can be automated, i’ll touch on how to develop automated social sales funnels later.

As I say to all my partners, developing a social tribe can change your business forever, but are your prepared to put the work in to develop your audience? If the answer is no, stop reading now for your own sake!


So, where do you start?

This is how I did it.

I used a simple and free strategy called Facebook Groups.

This is how it works…

1) Research 1 Facebook group in your niche

2) Join the group (if it’s a closed or secret group you’ll need to wait for approval)

3) Use the ‘related groups’ to find more groups in your niche

4) Find as many groups as you can and join them

5) Research the FB group admin (search under the members section, you’ll find them)

6) Reach out to the group admin and ask for approval to share your post in their group

7) The goal is to create a post that is relevant to your niche and drives engagement, a survey works well (Typeform is free)

8) If the admin says yes - go ahead and post

9) If it’s a no, move on

10) Repeat the process until you reach at least 50 groups

It worked great for me.

On my 3rd day of running one of my pages my first post went viral.

26,296 shares which gave my page insane reach and helped me add thousands of new followers, later that day I actually hit 10,000 which was pretty cool.

This wasn’t luck, I took time to understand who my target audience was by reviewing competitor pages and analyzing their posts.

One of my favorite tools on Facebook is the “Watch Pages” feature which gives you the exact posts that have performed well for your competitors over the past 7 days.

They even rank the posts in order of engagement! Anyone struggling to find content ideas needs to start using this feature immediately, it’s free!

Facebook ads is the next thing you should do.

In the short term it’s impossible to know what the value of a follower is to you, so it does make it hard to work out whether you’re paying silly money to build your followers or not.

Run a small test using the “Page Likes” campaign in Facebook ads.

Make sure you define your target audience and create simple ad copy, I was able to get followers for 0.05.

£200 spent, 4,195 followers gained

During this campaign I was also able to make content go viral which added thousands of organic followers to the page, if I total the amount of net followers gained my cost per like would be sub 0.001.

80k shares!

Note: if you’re not creating quality content don’t spend a penny on Facebook ads until you are.

Your page will benefit from an increased reach when you run ads, if you create quality content you will drive more organic followers and this will drive your CPL (cost per like) down.


Monetizing Your Audience

Your community is growing, now it’s time to monetize.

How do you drive FREE traffic when Facebook has reduced organic reach?

First of all, FREE traffic from Facebook is possible, I drive over 500,000 users to my site every month, all from organic Facebook posts (no boosts).

Here’s a screenshot from July 27th, over 20,000 visits from Facebook.

21,367 visits from Facebook

You need to offer your audience value that keeps them engaging within the Facebook ecosystem, i.e. videos & images that don’t click-out.

Facebook changed their algorithm and organic reach has dropped, but this doesn’t mean it’s dead. You have to find a way around it by actually engaging with your audience.

As Gary Vee preaches, “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook”

This sums up what your content strategy should be, providing value that engages your audience 80% of the time and only selling 20% of the time.

“Marketers are on social media to sell stuff. Consumers, however, are not, They are there for value”

One of the most exciting developments in recent years was early 2016 when Facebook released their bot platform for Facebook Messenger.

With over 1.3 billion active users within the Messenger platform, bots will become email 2.0 (trust me on this), i.e. you need to start building your Messenger subscribers today!

Facebook Messenger allows you to start a conversation with your followers in the same way that email allows you to mail your list, what’s the difference?

Just look at my stats from the past few days, these are open and click through rates from a tiny segment of my subscribers, the results are insane!

Yes these stats are real!

Creating a Messenger funnel is the key to success, i’ve spent the past 6 month’s testing what works and what doesn’t, it’s been fun.

I’ve created a strategy that allowed me to build my Messenger subscribers to 10,000 in the first 30 days! It took me 6 months to generate 10,000 email subscribers.

Remember, people that subscribe to your bot are super engaged fans, they’re going to respond to your messages, they know you, they know your brand.

Your Next Steps…

I hope you enjoyed this article and you’ve learned a thing or two.

Let me ask you something…

Do you run an online business?

If yes, do you think your business is getting the most out of Facebook?

Just think about this for a minute, there are over 2 billion active users within Facebook, are you generating traffic and sales from Facebook every single day?

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Alex Attinger is on a mission to help entrepreneurs and business leaders dominate their market by growing tribes. He shares his knowledge and personal projects on his social channels, thanks for visiting.