I spoke to the one and only organic traffic expert Rachel Miller about how to grow your audience leads to growing your business. This young lady is not only an expert at organic traffic, but she specializes in teaching Facebook how their own organic traffic system works!
Who is Rachel Miller and what do you do?
RM – “Honestly, I’m a geek about algorithms! I love seeing an algorithm, looking at the outside, and seeing it work. Just yesterday or the day before, I began seeing that there’s a change with photos in the algorithm as videos are moving more into reels and Instagram is pushing reels and Facebook is pushing reels. I’m seeing now in the feed this lovely change, which is a huge opportunity for businesses. It’s really fun to see. I love algorithms! That’s who I am.”
Is it possible to grow your audience on Facebook anymore?
Or is it like the rich get richer? It seems like a whole bunch of people have already made it and now nobody else can do it.
RM – “I love this question because just this morning my Operations Girl’s daughter, who has a severe chronic illness, is part of our community. Her daughter started a Facebook page and has 169 precious followers. Her daughter’s a teenager, she’s 15 and she sent me a text message over the weekend. She’s reaching 16,000 people with single pieces of content. With only 169 followers, our followers are all commenting, all sharing, all engaging and thus she’s actually reaching 16,000 people with each post.”
How do you grow your audience?
RM – “What she’s doing is she’s connecting with her audience. She’s giving her audience a reason to share and engage. So it’s her content, yes it’s about her, but it’s more about how,if you listen to this and you see it and share it, you are doing the world a favor. You are becoming this champion for others who are hurting.”
“I love how she’s crafting her content to be about her. But ultimately what makes her content win? Just like it makes all of my students win and the ones that are going viral right now, even when they say Facebook is dead and you have to pay to play, what’s making them go viral is because they’re thinking about how does their audience consume this content and how does their audience look good, feel good or make lives better when their audience shares the content. Not about them, it’s about how do they make their audience their loudspeaker form.”
How does somebody do that? How, how is that done?
RM – “The easiest thing is actually just to talk to your people and ask them, what do you call yourself? I mean, how many of us have seen memes on Facebook or anywhere online and engaged with the memes, and then shared that meme with somebody we thought was relevant?”
“It’s a shared moment that memes make happen. When you’re starting from zero, the easiest thing to do is to create that meme type of content that helps you identify where your people are and create a custom audience of those people, of who they are. And then after you know who they are, you can retarget them and bring them into a relationship with you.”
“You want to have the tutorials, the tips, you want to have all of those things, but you want to have them after you’ve found out where they are because you can’t always trust Facebook’s algorithm to find them efficiently as a meme does, a meme finds it quickly.”
“So how do you find a meme? You ask your people, what are you like? Are you a crazy mom? Are you a guy who just bought a neon green car? Are you not neon green, but it’s a pretty bright green car? That’s where you have to talk. Who are you to your audience? And then when you can reflect back to your audience, who they say they are, they’re going to engage on that content. They’re gonna share it. They’re gonna laugh about it. They’re gonna spread it to the world.”
How big are the biggest pages you’ve worked with? How successful have you been?
RM – “Facebook has had two of its expert pages that have reached the most people flown out to Facebook and they’ve gotten awards at Facebook’s office for the largest pages on Facebook. So two of the people who’ve been Facebook’s largest pages have been my clients in the past and they were reaching 120 million people in a single 28-day period.”
Does the algorithm work for Instagram as well as Facebook?
RM – “It’s the same algorithm. So Adam Masery is the guy who made the Facebook news rank system. Then he moved to Instagram and he made the newsfeed on Instagram. And now he’s working on uniting the two platforms. So if you’ve noticed that content’s been a little wonky, groups were having a feed from three, four years ago being delivered back into the groups. That’s because they’re redoing the backend and they’re further uniting the two platforms in the backend.”
“So think of Instagram and Facebook as literally the same, it’s the same algorithm. It’s just two different places where you can consume that content. But when they consume the content in one place, Facebook knows who they are in the other place. And if they consume content on Facebook, they know you’re gonna want to see similar content on Instagram.”
Do you believe that Facebook and Instagram will merge?
RM – “Well, they already have. You just don’t know it. It hasn’t merged with the user, but it’s merged in the algorithm in the backend. So you can go into your Business Suite Tools and you can publish to both Facebook and Instagram. You can publish between them. You can see your insights for Facebook and Instagram in one place. You can see your custom audience in the ads. So it’s the same, it just looks different to the user, but it’s the same algorithm.”
Okay, so say I want to become famous on Facebook.
Let’s use a random business, a woman from England who sells garden furniture online. It’s a family garden that is safe for kids, what do I do?
RM – “Okay, so Family Garden should be the name of her page. And then she says, “you know you’re a family gardener when your kids are eating Clovers when you save all your eggs from your toddler’s toast and tea, and you put them in the compost pile, and you know you are a mom who has kids when you know for a fact your child has eaten a bug and you can probably identify what type of bug it was.””
“There are a lot of those types of posts that they could do that would attract somebody who’s both a gardener and has young, small children.”
This post, should it be a piece of text, an image of text, or a cool background? How should we start?
RM – “I love to break posts down into four different types of posts. You want to have that message, that message of I’m a family gardener shared in photos and that’s memes but also in images. So those memes where you have written words, it could just be written words or it could be on a blank color background, or it could be an uploaded picture of the kid covered in chocolate or dirt or whichever one it is, ask your audience to guess.”
“The second one is a video and the videos can be uploaded as square or three by four tall videos, but they could also be stories or reels. Then the last one is conversation starters, which are videos right now, I’d want you to put them in two different places. I want you to put them in your page feed, but also stories and reels. So you’re gonna need to double the video content right now.”
“And then the last one’s conversation starters, where you’re asking your audience a question. You’re gonna ask them, “how many of you have had a kid who’s gotten covered in mud while you were reading? You didn’t know it was possible.” “How many of you have seen your toddler eating dirt and you congratulated them?” “How many of you had at one point your doctor told you it was good for kids to eat dirt?””
“So now you’ve got these pieces of content that help you identify who your perfect audience is and that you can include in your sales copy. You know, you need, you’re a gardener, even if you’re got a brown thumb because your kids are covered in dirt. And you know, you want a way to include your kids in gardening, even if you’ve never kept a plant alive for more than four months. So that’s what we’re here for. Now that all those memes kind of become your sales copy and prove and validate your product before you ever have to bring it to market.”
How do people even know this exists?
RM – “I teach two different tracks on how to help people find out that your page exists. The first track is something called niche neighborhood but it does take elbow grease or time. It takes about 10 to 15 minutes a day to create connections between your page and other pages. You usually don’t see results for this for about two to three months, however, you see results for a long period of time. So while it takes time to build, it also lasts for a long time. That traffic that you’re bringing in lasts and it continues for a while.”
“Connecting your page to another page or to another audience, in this circumstance I would find, where else are moms of young kids who love gardening? Are they in homemaking groups or are they in homeschooling groups? Are they in play outdoor groups? Are they in the Waldorf movement? Like the play outside preschool people, are they at the local Home Depot? Maybe that’s where your people are, so you wanna connect your page to Home Depot and say to all Home Depot people who are there shopping for garden stuff.”
“Facebook suggests me to those people because my page and that page are so similar and I know Facebook wants to keep people on the platform longer, so that’s great, send them to us. And we’ll keep them here talking on Facebook. So that’s a niche neighborhood, that’s one tactic. The other tactic I like to teach is the paid version.”
“I tell people that I’m an organic traffic strategist and teach people how to drive traffic for free to their website. This site and strategy do take paid ads, but the thing is, it doesn’t take very many paid ads. The point of these paid ads is not to get a conversion, the point of these paid ads is to build your audience so you can get conversions from life.”
“Like the girl Grace, she has 169 people in her followers and those 169 people are all commenting, sharing, and engaging pretty much on all of her content, which is why she’s reaching 16,000 for a post. Those people will buy what she says, will engage, and share her ads. They’re giving social proof which is far more valuable than a single paid ad strategy would be.”
“With a six:nine boost strategy, you’ve put out different types of engagement ads, what they used to call boosts, they’re now called engagement ads. You put out engagement ads to get people to boost your content for you, and as they engage, you bring them into your organic audience.”
So now they engage, they get into your audience and you’ve got this audience going, is that it?
Is it just an amount of time now or what’s gonna overcharge this?
RM – “Pretty much! What you need to do next is have consistent content. I’ll give myself as an example. I’ve blown up on YouTube with different channels. With one of my businesses, we grew an audience of 160,000 there, but YouTube videos are not my favorite videos to make. I was not consistent on YouTube, so if you go to my YouTube channel, you’d see Rachel has 9,000 followers but the reality is I’m only reaching 200 because I haven’t posted in six months. So if I’m not consistent, the next time I post a video on YouTube, YouTube’s not going to send me traffic because I haven’t been feeding the platform regularly.”
“So what I have to do is put that content out there consistently for a while for Facebook and the other social media platforms to say, okay, this girl’s actually showing up so we can trust the traffic we’re sending her to stick around and to come back because she’s showing up, she’s coming back, she’s not a one-hit-wonder.”
“Facebook has a choice of where they’re gonna send content to and they’re going to choose to send content to the person who’s building that audience, who keeps people coming back to Facebook, who keeps people connected on Facebook. YouTube does the same thing, so if I’m not feeding the YouTube platform, YouTube’s not gonna send me more traffic. If I’m feeding the Facebook platform, Facebook will continue to show me more traffic.”
That makes total sense. So then what’s next?
I mean, is there a specific method to monetize this? What would you recommend?
RM – “Yeah! I tend to do my conversions through ads, and it’s funny because people will say, “Rachel, you’re an organic person and I just got this ad. Isn’t that hilarious?” I’m like, yeah, but I spent a lot less than any of my competitors on ads to get you to convert. And my ads don’t lose on the front end and gain on the backend, I’m making on the frontend!”
“My point is, yes, you’re going to use an ad, and I like to have my ads be like salespeople. I don’t like my normal content to be “salesy.” I want my sales content to be distributed primarily through ads, and those ads are retargeting. So I’ve built this huge audience of people who are aware that I exist and engage in my content.”
“And then they’ve belonged to my Facebook group, to my email list, to my SMS threads, and chats. So now I’ve got them as aware, I’m engaged in belonging, but I need to get them to become a conversion. That’s when I send a conversion ad to them, but I retarget the audience that I’ve already built, that I’ve already proven they’d buy something.”
“Before I start running ads, I always try to sell that product organically, but I’m not using organic as my primary sales method. I want to make sure it converts with organic, then I move it to paid, which is a more private interaction, not something that’s on my feed.”
So how did you figure all this out, Rachel?
Like, you know, did you learn it from somebody? How did it go down?
RM – “Oh, that’s funny. Yeah, I don’t think we mentioned it, but I have six kids and about 13 years ago I was pregnant with my second child while I was on maternity leave and I couldn’t go back to school to teach. I was a high school teacher and I thought, “Well, what am I gonna do now?” And so I guess you could say it was like postpartum depression, but I know it wasn’t postpartum, It was more the fact that my life had to change and I wasn’t as keen about my life changing.”
“And so my husband came home and realized I was all depressed and said, “Why don’t you start a blog? I hear girls are having blogs.” So I said, yeah, let’s start a blog and I called it Quirky Momma! You can actually go to Facebook right now and type in quirky momma and you can see my first website there, it’s still alive and well with over 4 million followers on it now and I have since sold it.”
“I grew that website and was getting 10 million page views a month in its heyday before I left it. What I did is I built the website, made it viral, built a second website, made it viral, built a third website, and made that viral. I had all these things and I said, “Would people like me to teach them how I’ve built profitable businesses?” And they’re like, “No, girls don’t teach us profitable websites. What we want you to teach us is how did you get that without ads?” And I was like, oh, that’s easy. They’re like, no, it’s not easy. And that’s when I realized that I had a formula that I could give people and people asked me for it, so that made it really easy to sell.”
In your words, what do S.M.A.R.T Businesses do?
RM – “Love people because they love people. They’re gonna make sure that their product makes a difference in people’s lives. And if they love people, their product will be about the people they serve more than about their bottom line and their profits. And they’re gonna make a massive impact in the World.”
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