(A.k.a. A few musings on how to grow a facebook page organically without spending money, irritating people or shooting yourself in the foot)

We’ve probably all been in a position where we’ve watched some random page’s like count skyrocket overnight. How did it happen? Their reach is through the floor and dropping. They’ve had nothing go viral. How did they do it? Chances are it involved their wallet.

I can understand the temptation to buy likes. Every direction you look people’s pages are blooming in the great cosfame migration of the 2010s, and you find yourself stuck gaining a few followers a week if you’re lucky. You can’t understand why your like count isn’t moving. As far as you can see your posts are no different to Miss 10,000 over there.

And you think to yourself, ‘If I could only get more people to see how great my content is then I just know they’d love it and my page could really thrive and grow and contribute.’

So you find yourself a ‘Like’ farm. Unlike sponsored posts, it’s anonymous – none of your friends will know what you’re doing. They might suspect but they won’t know. And there is a certain stigma around promotion when it comes to cosplay pages, paid or otherwise – it’s a narrow rope to walk if you want to reach people without being frowned upon. ‘Like’ farms don’t cost a huge amount either. A few quid and you can double your page following in a matter of hours. The first result of a google search tells me I can get 1000 likes for the low, low price of £13.99.

Stop right there.

That click could very well kill any chance your page has to grow.

‘Who am I to say this’, you ask. ‘Nomes Cosplay is nobody. She’s had a page for years and only has 2.5k followers. Blah blah blah’

And that’s true

But you know what? I may be small but I actually get pretty great reach compared to a lot of people. My reach number is regularly a quarter plus of my ‘Like’ number and my posts average 30-50 likes and comments. I didn’t know that was great originally. For a while I was frustrated that facebook didn’t let everyone who followed my page see every post – they’d liked my page after all, so why shouldn’t they see it? But over time and over many a beleaguered conversation about ‘the demise of facebook pages’ and ‘facebook only being in it for the money’, I began to realise that I didn’t have it too bad.

I don’t promote.

I don’t sponsor or boost posts.

I don’t buy likes.

You guys – and I love you for this – you’re here because you want to be here. You’re here because we share a passion. I started this page as a space to share knowledge and I post what I love. WIPs, costume breakdowns, tips, slices of life and photoshoots. And I share my inspirations – the costumes or techniques I come across that leave me in awe. It’s a diary really. One day when I’m old I want to look back at my page and enjoy the memories.

A few years ago the big fad to gain page followers was contests.

‘Like this post and like my page and leave a comment and you could be in with a chance to win!’

And you still get a lot of-

‘Please follow my page. L4L (Like for Like)’

-on various pages and groups.

It’s a semi-successful tactic in that at least it targets towards a likeminded audience – especially when you compare it to like farms. But even though some of those people will discover how completely awesome you are a lot of those people aren’t there for your content. You haven’t grabbed them yet. Chances are they haven’t even seen your actual day to day content. They’re there for the contest and will never interact with a single post. Some of these ones will unlike your page once the contest has ended. These ones are actually a blessing in disguise. These guys are no longer cluttering up your reach.

Which gets us down to the meat and the bones of it.

People think they want likes but what they actually want is reach. They want to be noticed. Everyone wants to be noticed – it’s human. We want to matter in some small way. That’s ok. But isn’t it better to be noticed consistently by a small bunch of people than to be unnoticed by a big, huge number of people? Isn’t it better to contribute somehow to a few people’s lives than to, well… not?
What I’ve noticed over the years is that people who grow their pages for the sake of growing their pages end up with a big ‘Like’ number but a scroll down their feed at the interactions per post makes for sad viewing.

But why is this?

Logically a large following should lead to a large reach right?

Well unfortunately the two can be mutually exclusive.

Whilst no one truly knows the mystery of the facebook algorithm this is what I have I have gleaned.


And if I’m right, as far as I can see the key is to get the ball rolling.

‘Ok, but what does this have to do with my large like number but poor reach,’ you say.

And I say this. If you have gained a following of people who follow your page because they want free stuff or because you paid them and their page is just a spam account rather than a real person or you offered them L4L so they liked your page just because they wanted to gain the extra like on their own page – then those people are not going to interact with you. If facebook only pushes new posts to a small number of followers at a time and the majority of those followers are not ones who actively want to take part in your page then they will not react and facebook will push your post no further. So by bloating your like count you are effectively diluting your audience and making your post invisible from the people who actually follow your page to see your content – the very people who are most likely to interact with you and get something from your page.

If people interact with your post not only does the reach to existing followers increase, the reach to potential new followers with a mutual interest increases too.

Person 1 interacts > Person’s friend sees they have interacted > Person’s friend likes what they are seeing and feel confident that their friend is endorsing the page > Persons’s friend decides to like page too.

In summary the key is not to just gain ‘Likes’. It’s to gain the right likes. It’s to find the people who want to share something with you.

Do you know what people like Yaya Han, Jessica Nigri, Shappi Workshop, Nikita Cosplay, Calssara, etc. will say if you ask them how their pages got so big? They don’t know. It just happened. When they started they didn’t work hard at promoting for promotions sake. They worked hard doing something they loved. And week in week out they kept putting out quality content and helping people who asked for their help. And it just so happened to pay off. They were exceptional. One, then two, then more things went viral. People shared them. People mentioned them.

‘Yeah but X’s stuff is amazing and they have like no followers so what makes these guys better?’

Luck. That’s all. It’s the very last ingredient for success and that cannot be bought. We all know someone who’s amazing and yet has a small following. Heck I know dozens of someones. Have you heard of the mythical Hollywood syndrome called ‘a break’? It’s the same thing. You have to be exceptionally talented. Turn out content that people want to see. Have a great personality.

And you have to be lucky. And you have no control over that.

So I suggest not spending your finite time on this earth bartering and paying for empty likes.

But what CAN you do?

1. Remember your page isn’t just about you. It’s about what you can do for other people. Are they there to learn? Are they there to be entertained or to laugh? Can you dazzle people with your amazing attention to detail? Do you have awesome photoshoots? Are they there to see you naked? It could be all of them or it could be one of them or it could be some other reason entirely. Different people have different niches and you can decide on yours. If you can offer people something they want, then they will want to see your page.

2. Content is king – Keep your content consistent and keep your content high quality. Every time you post ask yourself – if I followed this page would I want to see/read this? But don’t sweat it too much because this is your page and it’s supposed to be fun. So be you. After all you can’t always tell what people want to see and the stupid selfie you took might suddenly have 100 likes.

3. Share posts to RELEVANT groups – So you like RWBY? Then by all means make a post or share a post in a RWBY fanpage. You can even link back to your page. I recommend however not making your page the focal point of the post. Again – Content is king. Make the post about sharing a passion or sharing information. If you keep posting in the group, sharing your work, fandom knowledge and commenting on other people’s threads consistently you’ll be amazed how many people start to recognise you. Let them recognise you for the right reasons.

I recommend not sharing to more than one or two groups at a time or you are going to annoy not just strangers but your friends too. I can’t tell you the number of time I’ve been scrolling down my newsfeed and seen six of the same identical post all from the same person. It’s annoying and it doesn’t do them much good because a lot of those groups they are sharing to have duplicate audiences who won’t find getting spammed very endearing. Also facebook tends to group all those 6 posts into one mega post and just lets me know one or two of them in detail and then says ‘oh by the way there are four more posts like this if you want to expand and see the same thing a few more times’. I never do. Choose the right groups and share moderately.

4. Interact – talk to people. These can be people at cons, people who message you, people who comment on your work, people in groups, people who share a mutual interest. Show you are thankful to have those people there. Show you are interested. Be humble. Be helpful. Be the person you wish to live with because those choices are with you for the rest of your life.

5. Personality – Most people opt to be some form of themselves on their page. You can reinvent a persona if you prefer and if you can keep it up. Whichever you choose be genuine to that personality and inject it into your content and interactions.

6. Don’t worry about your Like number – It’ll grow. It might be slow. It might be fast. Either way it will go up. Personally I ignore my Like count. I’ll occasionally raise an eyebrow at an unexpected jump but ultimately I see it as something that is not totally within my control. All I can do is keep plugging away and let the numbers fall where they may. If I can’t control it then I’m not going to worry about it.

In conclusion – there are ways to gain likes if you truly feel you need them. Make it a way you can be proud of.

If I can help just one person in some way through something I post then as far as I’m concerned it was worth it.

Just one.

1+1=2 ad infinitum

Author: Nomes

I began cosplaying in 2010 with no prior skills in sewing or crafting. Almost 40 costumes later I’m still going. I have represented the UK in cosplay competitions on multiple occasions including the European Cosplay Gathering (ECG) finals in 2012 (solo category) and 2015 (group category). On this blog I hope to share cosplay articles, tutorials, guides and works in progress from my ongoing adventure into the art of cosplay and costume making.

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