How we got over 1k comments on our launch post in Facebook Groups

February 22, 2021

We had over 1k people show interest in Pickaxe after posting about Pickaxe in 2 Facebook groups: My First Million & LinkedIn Growth Hackers. How?!
1,206 comments... and counting!

Your eyes aren't deceiving you... we had over 1k comments on our 2 Facebook community posts. How did we do it?! This is a super short post to tell you how we replicated strategies used by the most engaging posters in Facebook groups and on LinkedIn to create our own 'buzz' and help validate that Pickaxe as a concept was interesting to folks.

Our goal with posting in Facebook Groups

We started out building Pickaxe because of the mind-numbing experience we'd had building lead lists for a previous business idea. Finding new customer leads is painstaking. Time consuming. Boring.We had a hypothesis that if we could find anyone on LinkedIn's email all from a spreadsheet, it would rapidly accelerate the lead gen process. You wouldn't need to use multiple different platforms to do your lead gen anymore. We'd take care of everything from within the spreadsheet.

We had built a fairly rudimentary MVP for Pickaxe: a Google Sheets Add-On that allowed you to search LinkedIn directly from the spreadsheet, and fetch emails for anyone you want. But we needed some signal that this was what people wanted before we sunk more time into development.

Our approach was to post in Facebook communities and measure the response:

  • If we had little/no response, maybe the idea was something people didn't want.
  • If we had some response, we could get feedback on what we needed to do to make it better.
  • If we had a great response, we had validation that the direction was a good one and to continue down the path.

Give something away, users must comment for access

I spent the last few months observing the most successful posts (in terms of engagement) on social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter -- and in particular in communities such as the My First Million group on Facebook.

The most engaging posts are often the first posts you see in your newsfeed or at the top of groups that you're in. That's because FB/LinkedIn/Twitter prioritize the posts that users are finding most engaging vs those that are not. Duh!

How do you create an engaging post? While I don't have the complete answer here, I did observe traits that the most engaging posts have in common:

  • They gave something away for free. Often this was data, a template, access to a tool.
  • To access the free content, the user had to comment underneath.
  • Images or video to show off the content.
  • No URLs in the post.

Why does this work so well?

  • It appears that social network algorithms weigh comment activity above all else when it comes to scoring a post's engagement. By giving something away for free but having a 'gate' where the user needs to comment to get access, you incentivize comments and therefore increase the engagement significantly.
  • Images and/or videos obviously can help to make whatever you're offering stand out more.
  • Adding URLs to any post takes people away from the platform... which FB/LinkedIn/Twitter are not huge fans of. They want to keep users there! It's obviously tempting to want to grab users to come to your site, but this takes users away and may lead to the algorithms punishing the post.

We offered a free first month of Pickaxe to anyone that commented "Pickaxe" underneath the post. The results were overwhelmingly good. OVER 1.2K COMMENTS WITH INTEREST!

Replying to 1.2k people is hard...

To be clear, I've still not replied to everyone that expressed interest in Pickaxe from the 2 Facebook group posts. If you're going to take this approach and it's successful, here are some of the challenges you'll likely encounter:

  • Facebook spam limits: Facebook puts limits on your account if you comment or DM too many times in a short period of time. Initially I tried to DM everyone that commented, but after about 50 DMs, Facebook limited my account so I couldn't DM anymore! Crap. So I then tried to reply in comments... same thing. After 25 or so, I was restricted again! I ended up having to reply in batches of about 25 every few hours. Painstaking.
  • DMs to people you don't know go into a separate/secret folder! Turns out that we have a second inbox on Facebook Messenger, reserved for people we do not know. It's extremely easy to miss this. This led me to reply in the comments to people so I could make sure they saw my reply!

I'm going to do another post soon, so if you have any ideas about how best to manage this.. let me know, I'm all ears!

In the interests of keeping this post short, I'll close off there. Next up I'll talk more about how these posts helped us learn more about our ideal customer profiles (or more precisely, who is NOT our ideal customer!). Coming soon!

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BTW, plug for the My First Million FB group. If you're an entrepreneur, it's well worth joining and listening to the podcast!