How I Attracted 800 FB Fans in Two Months
Contributor

Last Friday I reached a milestone: 1,000 Facebook “likes.” Back in November, an agent told me my book proposal was excellent, but my platform wasn’t big enough. “If you build your platform,” she said, “I’d be happy to take another look.” When I asked her how many Facebook fans would constitute a decent following, she said “one thousand.” At the time, that number seemed impossible. I’d been stagnating at 200 for months.

Social media had me completely stumped. Not only did it seem overwhelming, I was conflicted about how to show up. I knew my posts needed to be relevant and on-topic, but I wasn't sure about my subject matter. Since I’m writing a memoir that deals in part with how I used raw food to help cure chronic stomach problems, agents wanted to pigeonhole me as a raw food expert. I respected their opinions and understood the importance of positioning in publishing, but this advice felt like a shoe that didn’t fit; I couldn’t walk without it rubbing me the wrong way. There were lots of great raw food educators out there, and I’d never aspired to be one of them. My subject, I felt, was broader. I’d been living a raw foods lifestyle for eight years, but I’d been practicing my art and craft as a writer for thirty.

When it came to social media, the writer in me saw an opportunity for status updates to be “the newest literary genre,” but I wasn’t sure what to do with this awareness, or how to take advantage of whatever these opportunities might be.

In December my mom had a heart attack. I put aside my social media angst, quit working on my memoir, packed my bags, and flew from Los Angeles to Florida, where for three weeks my sisters and I ministered to our mom before and after her quadruple bypass surgery. It was a sacred, tender time. Aside from writing in my journal, my only writing was profile page posts, which I wrote every few days to keep family and friends updated on my mother’s condition. I relished that writing, and received many responses and lots of support.

Then my mom died. There’s nothing like the death of a loved one to put things into perspective. Time passes. Life is short. The time to act is NOW!

I realized that rivaling my passion for writing has been my lifelong commitment to conscious, creative living, personal transformation, and growth. I understood this was the larger context of my memoir, which, at its core, is about a writer’s midlife quest for health and happiness. I’d gone from being sick, miserable, and thinking my life was a failure to living the life I’d always dreamed of having but never dared to live—until now. I realized I was writing about what it takes to choose love over fear, to take personal responsibility for one’s life, to live and work in a state of conscious creativity, and to experience enough personal empowerment to heal yourself.

All this crystalized after my mom died. So did an inner clarity about not wasting another second of my life in doubt or fear.

I quit worrying about doing things “right” on my fan page and showed up as ME, sharing from my heart the way I had when I’d been taking care of my mom and posting on my profile page.

I approached many of my status updates as if they were mini-stories or poems, sketching them on a Word document and tinkering with each one until it felt whole.

I used all the instruments in my writer’s toolbox: brevity, details, honesty, transparency, muscular language, imagery, metaphors, accessibility, first-person narration, story arcs, and more.

I also decided to put my money where my mouth was by taking out an ad and promoting my posts, which I saw as original bits of creative writing. Without realizing it, I’d put my “status updates as the newest literary genre” idea into practice!

The results were staggering: I received 800 likes in two and a half months, and my “people talking about this” figure climbed from 64 to over 400. But these are only numbers. The remarkable thing that happened was that something crucial had changed inside. Finally, at 53, I knew who I was and why I was here. I was ready to honor my purpose and be of service. This inner shift was reflected back to me through my  Facebook activity. I have been challenged over the years to love, approve of, and appreciate myself—and my writing. My 1,000 fans “out there” are physical world manifestations of the one, ever-important fan “in here” who finally decided to show up and trust what she knows and who she is.

To celebrate this awareness, as well as my 1,000-fan milestone, which only six months ago seemed impossible, I created a “1,000 Fabulous Fans” poster upon which I signed the names of as many of my FB fans as possible. Since Facebook only shows 500 fans, I had to comb through comments, likes, and shares, and consult my profile page “friends” list. I was careful to check the spelling of every name, to look at each person’s photo, and to connect in spirit with every person who has liked my page and offered support of one kind or another.

I never thought I’d say this, but I’m enjoying social media. It’s wonderful connecting with like-minded souls, and Facebook gives me an opportunity to meet with them daily. Who knew building a writer’s platform could be fun? Six months ago it seemed like an onerous chore—and though at times I still get overwhelmed, I now experience social media as another of life’s wondrous, creative opportunities!

 

P.S. Thanks to Brooke Warner for recommending me to her Warner Coaching fans and posting a link to my page, which accounted for at least fifty of my new “likes.” 

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Comments
  • Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment, Bob. I'm happy my post provided encouragement. Keep moving forward!

  • Robert W. Finertie

    Thanks, Bella for sharing your sacred journey. I'm at the 'social media impasse' so your comments offered a load of encouragement.  In fact, I was so moved by your post that I wanted to make a comment.  Only members can comment, so here I am.  Bob

  • Absolutely, Tina! There are definitely blessings here! Why not enjoy them?

  • Tina Samples

    Bella, thank you for sharing. I'm new to all of this as well. This is encouraging and helps me see if I changed my mindset about marketing and building my network, then perhaps I too might find joy in the journey.

    Blessings!

  • Thanks, Karen. Glad you found the post helpful. Namaste!

  • Thank you so much for sharing, Bella! You have given me much to think about for my own strategies around using social media to attract support for my writing. I will consider designing an ad to promote my fan pages more prominently. :0)  Good to know that it works. Sharing your wisdom about showing up authentically in carefully crafted posts is another treasure that I will hold in my heart and mind. Namaste!

  • Stephanie: That's right! The only difference is you'll be communicating with people you don't know—but you will get to know them through your posts—and they will get to know you, which is the point of platform! I didn't expect to feel so supported. It's great connecting with like-minded people. The give-and-take is lovely. Enjoy!

  • Thank you, Karen. Your post made me smile. My ancestors were Italian and Cuban! But still I had to work on the self-revelation part. I credit my masters degree in spiritual psychology for that—the more I quit judging and accept myself, the easier it is to put myself out there.

  • Thank you for this post! I'm just starting my fan page and have no idea what I'm supposed to do with it. My personal page gets so many nice notes from friends in response to my status updates, so there's no reason my fan page can't as well.

  • Karen Engelsen

    Great post!  I'm awestruck by anyone who can show up as themselves in front of 1,000 people...I come from genetically reticent stock (Norwegians!) & get the cold sweats thinking about self-revelation.  Congratulations on your success!

  • Thank you, Evalyn. :)

  • Evalyn Lee

    Bella:  what a fantastic post!  Thank you. And congratulations!

  • Nicolia: Yay! I'm glad you're going for it and feeling better. Keep up the great work. You will be rewarded for your courage.

  • Leza: Thanks for reading and leaving this comment. So glad you found my post helpful.

  • Nicolia

    Thank you for this post! I read this a few days ago and I've used your advice in writing my recent article. It's frightening, but somehow I feel better.

  • Leza Lowitz

    this is so beautiful, Bella. Thanks for sharing this. I know how you feel about showing up as who you are in your writing. I think I have gotten to that point, now I want to take your advice and learn from you about how to translate that into social media! This was just what I needed.

  • Thanks, Deepa. A friend of mine recently used these tips and in the past two weeks her fans went from in the 100's to the 900's!

  • Thanks, Audry, I'm glad it helped. I'm learning there's always a “heart-felt” way to do things, and the more often I come from this place, the happier I feel.

  • Audry Fryer

    Thank you for sharing your story.  It was so inspiring to learn of a "heart-felt" way to gain a fan base.  

  • Deepa Agarwal

    What an inspiring story! Thanks so much for sharing this. I have always felt at a loss trying to build up my fan base. Will definitely use your tips and like your page.

  • Teresa: I'm thrilled to hear this from you! I will definitley visit your page! So glad you found my post helpful! Keep up the great creative writing on FB!

  • Thanks, Lisa.  I've learned over the years that our most personal stories, when told from the heart, but with writers' heady tools, are the most inspiring. As a writing teacher, I'm always amazed by the fact that my students don't see their own gifts. They don't see the veins of gold running through their own stories. But nothing is as powerful and moving as bearing witness to the painful, exquisite truths of our lives. “The Wine Diaries” sound wonderful. I will visit soon. Thanks for reading my post and leaving your comment.

  • Lisa Thomson

    Fabulous story, Bella. I'm going to go LIKE your book page :) It's good to know that sharing your personal stories were what attracted your fans.  Sometimes I fear sharing too much personal stuff on  my book page...so I keep it more inspirational.  My blog though is quite personal especially my 'The Wine Diaries' posts which I pair each story with a certain wine.  You are an inspiration, thanks for sharing your story.

  • Teresa K. Thorne

    Bella, your post inspired me to write FB posts in a different way.  Thank you so much.  I took advance of the inspiration and wrote a post using your suggestions and was overwhelmed by the response.  Take a look -- perhaps others might get an idea from it too.

    https://www.facebook.com/teresa.k.thorne?ref=tn_tnmn

  • Thanks, Maggi, I'll check out your page.