Update, September 2017: My page has breached 150,000 likes, but the momentum has fallen off. I think the Facebook page suggestions increase when you have good momentum due to sharing everyday to high engagement. I think there are thresholds along the way, and if your momentum doesn’t reach the standards set, page suggestions work less for you.
Update, November 2017: I wrote a new post about how boosting Facebook posts might not be such a good idea.
I won’t leave you guessing until the end of this article. Here’s how the Things in Squares Facebook page went from around 5k likes to nearly 40k in a month:
Once the page hit 10,000 likes, organic Facebook Page Suggestions brought in a massive surge of new followers
Naturally, if your comic’s Facebook page is well below 10,000 likes, you want to know how the hell to reach that threshold in the first place. Here are some quick suggestions to that regard:
- Publish content daily (TIS has been going on for over two years, but I’d been doing 2 comics per week, hence the slow growth)
- Share to Imgur and Reddit at pre-peek hours to capitalize on user volume
- Request and complete guest comics for other artists
- When you share a comic to your Facebook page, share the image directly rather than as an attached link
The Facebook algorithm seems to kick in with organic Page Suggestions after ten thousand likes
10,000 is a nice, rounded number. Just as you’re rewarded at 100 likes with access to Facebook Insights, I imagine there are tiers of rewards even beyond the 50k mark. I’ve noticed that once some Facebook pages breach 100,000 likes, there seems to be another round of organic Page Suggestions.
Sometimes I feel like a mouse in Facebook’s massive data experiments. A small tweak of their algorithm and a page like mine could get a million new likes in no time. Of course that will never happen, so I’ll enjoy this Facebook Page Suggestion thing while it lasts.
What is Page Suggestions?
Page suggestions are those Facebook pages that the platform delivers to your home feed. Here’s a screenshot of where you’ll find these:
Suggestions are pushed toward you based on yours and your friends’ activity. There’s a little like button right there so users don’t have to navigate to the page. I’ll talk about this later.
You can also pay a daily sum to have Facebook deliver your page as a Page Suggestion. You can define the variables of delivery. I’ve never done this because the nature of a comic page is that it’ll grow organically if you produce good content. But if you have the money to invest, you’ll get new followers this way.
If you opt to let Facebook deliver your page organically, then make sure you check the option in settings for “Similar Page Suggestions” to activate Page Suggestions:
The slow cascade from tons of likes to lots of likes
Something happens after this feature starts to work for you. Whether it’s based on time or activity I’m not sure. What I do know is that Page Suggestions peak, sending a lot of new likes your way, and then they start to taper off. Here’s a graphic from my Facebook Insights to give you an idea:
(A quick side note–there are a lot of more “unlikes”–the red bulbs beneath the graph. These come in proportion with the new followers, but I believe there are also more likes because many of the new ones “like” on a whim, and later start receiving my comics only to realize TIS is not for them.)
The graph above represents net new likes on individual days. From the graph, you can see that the new likes peaked, and is slowly decreasing. Where there were larger drops during the peak represents weekends when I did not post a new comic. I think the best way to truly take advantage of organic Facebook Page Suggestions is to publish daily comics from 10,000 on, even if that means just a small sketch.
Here’s another graph that shows where exactly these new likes come from:
I think the image speaks for itself. Both purple and dark blue represent the effects of organic page suggestions. Blue indicates the user clicked ‘like’ on the page suggestion pane where they saw my comic page. Purple means the user clicked ‘like’ directly on my Facebook page, and might mean that they first navigated to my page from the suggestion pane.
If you have a webcomic and want to grow a Facebook following, there is really only one rule: produce good, shareable content. I don’t follow the latter, but I try my best at the former. If you want to speed up the process, draw and publish comics every day (not to the detriment of quality, of course). Here’s another good article that looks at the stuff this post deals with.
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