How I got 40 comments in one FB group (and 0 in another)

I want to share something that happened yesterday and is still unfolding as I am writing this.

At 10 in the morning, I posted a call for writers in two Facebook groups.

I’ll spare you the details, but the main point is that I was looking for contributing writers for our online magazines. The two posts were slightly different; tailored specifically to each group.

The first post went up in a tech-related group with 22,000+ members

I opened my post by explaining the relevance of the topics for our tech magazine and asked whether someone was interested in writing for us. My strategy was to be humble and crystal clear; I said their language was advanced and difficult to understand (for the average reader), and that I needed someone skilled enough to write about complex topics in an easy-to-comprehend way.

12 hours later I had 1 like, 0 comments.

It is now 24 hours later, the post has been removed and I may or may not have been kicked out of the group. Oops.

…now, before you say anything, all posts on that page receive admin-approval before getting published, so I was not in breach of any guidelines nor did I include any links or other promotional material.

The second post was published on the Sydney Startups group with 14.000+ members

This post has not been removed (phew!), but behold the result after 24 hours:

The difference between selling and connecting

…and it’s still going.

On top of the 40 comments, I also received direct messages on Facebook and had several people contact me on LinkedIn regarding the magazines.

In total, I received around 50 enquiries from that one post, an amazing result considering it was 100% organic!

Major take-outs from this experience:

1. Community matters

The phrase community building has been used so frequently in the past couple of years, it has definitely lost some of its power. I bet we could all name at least one person trying to ‘build a community’ around themselves or their business (not to mention all the “make-money-from-home” schemes).

But the Sydney Startups group really stood out to me as a community with great engagement. I was scrolling through the posts from the last couple of weeks and it was full of friendly and helpful conversation, which is exactly what makes these communities so valuable.

Being able to tap into this group proved incredibly effective both for us and the startup founders in the group; we got to talk to our target audience and, in return, they were presented with a relevant opportunity.

Community allows for a wider form of collaboration – where both brands and individuals can learn from each other.

2. Relevance is key (duh)

The determining factor for the success, and failure, of this recruitment attempt, was no doubt relevance. The members of Sydney Startups were excited about the opportunity to tell their story and to receive some exposure for their newly founded businesses. It makes sense to target them as it is relevant for their journey to raise awareness of their products or services.

My mistake was assuming that people who like to discuss advanced technology would be equally interested in writing about it for a random magazine. My own bias (being in PR and digital marketing) made me overestimate how eager people would be to put their name on a page online. I had to take a step back and realise that not everyone is looking for exposure, or have a website they want to promote.

Needless to say, the technology-group post was a flop but a great reminder that even a whopping 20k members mean nothing if your content is irrelevant.


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