written by
Garrett Adkins

4,000 New Group Members & 111,000 Page Likes In 28 Days (Without Paid Advertisement)

growth hacking social media facebook 9 min read

It’s hard to explain exactly what happens when myself, Marc Angelo, & Matthew Donnelly team up.

For some reason or another, once we join the same group chat and put our effort into growth hacking… it just works.

When Matthew reached out with the analytics of the previous 28 days of his Facebook group Universoul Awakening (see below)...

Facebook Group insite stats showing 59% growth in engagement and 11.9k new members in 28 days

Marc and I knew we had to test this strategy for ourselves.

For those who aren’t aware, Superhero Academy is an online education platform with classes dedicated to teaching the art of social entrepreneurship and how to align your income with positive impact.

Marc founded the company close to four years ago, myself jumping on board 6 months later.

With this teacher mindset, we approach everything in such a way so as to understand the core lessons, strategies, and ways to replicate results for others to implement (hence the case study and documentation of process).

Throughout this article we will look at the final results and, more importantly, breaking down the strategy for growth hacking, how we executed on this strategy, and how we are helping others do the same.

But First… Why Facebook Groups Are So Powerful

If you are someone who follows Facebook’s algorithms or tune into their annual developers conference (F8), you are aware that Facebook is moving back to a community centric platform. Groups and personal profiles will gain favor on feeds while pages will have difficulty reaching even small percentages of their fanbase.

This knock to the algorithms can be overcome by proper paid ads and influencer marketing, but we will save that for a different article.

The point is: An average Facebook page will only reach a 1-3% of its audience organically.

Facebook groups on the other hand will step up as the "favored child" on your feed.

What Exactly Was The Strategy For This Test?

Pretty straight forward…

1.) Change group settings to collect emails, set up as “public group”, and approval of posts to affectively kick out spammers.

2.) Batch create Superhero Academy memes and curate proven viral memes to repost from other pages.

3.) Set up share slots with large networks to boost our content out to millions (aka have large pages share our content to their audience)

4.) Set goal of 10,000 group members. We started this test exactly at 1,000.

5.) Document everything we learn through the process.

6.) See what happens.

The Breakdown: How We Executed The Strategy

The Group Has To Be Set To “Public”

For this strategy, your group must be set to “public”.

This allows content posted into group to be shared publicly on larger and personal pages OUTSIDE of the group. When someone sees this share on their feed it will give credit to the page/person who shared the post and the group it was shared into.

screenshot showing high engagement on fb group post

In this example above, we see a post from Superhero Academy shared into Superhero Academy Community on Motivational Quotes Journal (2.2 Million Likes). Depending on the interest of viewer, they now have the opportunity to click and like Superhero Academy or click and request to join Community.

We decided to use Superhero Academy Community for this test as it currently accepts anyone interested in Superhero Academy or social entrepreneurship. Our private group, Superhero Academy Tribe, remained closed due to exclusive training and interviews only available to paid students.

Collecting Emails Upon Entrance To Group

Under group setting you have the ability to ask questions when someone requests access to your group.

One of these questions should ALWAYS be for their email.

We saw on average 1 in 5 people actually submitted their email in this strategy.

To avoid manually transferring emails into Active Campaign, we automated the process using a tool that directly sent all responses to a Google Sheets. Once in Google Sheets, all you need to do is use Zapier to send emails to the CRM of your choosing.

screenshot showing group membership questions

Kept Quality Control On What Was Being Posted Into The Group

We knew this strategy would bring a lot of people into our community very fast.

We also knew that a few people spammers would try and slip in through the cracks.

To avoid individuals shamelessly plugging their products, we edited the settings so all posts needed approval before going public.

This took additional time to approve posts daily but helped weed out spammers.

Content Creation

Through our network we have become great friends with some of the world's top meme farmers.

We rallied the troops and put in an order for 60 branded memes to be created around the topics of social entrepreneurship, inspiring stories, and self-development.

This gave our team plenty of content to test engagement levels and only share memes that showed high engagement within our group before using limited share slots on influencer pages.

Content Curation

Along with branded memes, we sourced additional content using Buzzsumo to post into the group.

Their tool allows you to extract the highest engaging content from other pages in your industry... aka you already know the content will go viral.

Content Distributed To Millions

Content creation is vital.
Distribution on the other hand is the secret sauce that will consistently get that content in front of viewers.
Most courses and articles online focus on how to create eye-catching content.

What they focus less on is how to actually get that content in front of people. We have been able to grow Superhero Academy’s Facebook page to 600k in 2 years though relying heavily on influencer distribution

This process of distribution has become so dialed-in that we are able to provide it as a service to other organizations with guaranteed results. Obviously the content has to be great but we can typically estimate if it will be a winner or not before we share on larger pages.

For those confused by what influencer distribution is, it is simply paying for larger pages to share your content or create a deal where you share someone else's content in exchange for them to share yours (a share for share).

This initial spark in traction puts your content on the fast track to virality. This only works if you have shareable, amazing content. This DOES NOT work if your content isn’t on point.

We used influencer distribution in this strategy to share the content that was performing best in our group onto an accumulation of pages exceeding 10 million followers.

To find the best performing content, we shared 3-4 memes a day in the beginning of the 28 day sprint.

Checking in the analytics of the group we could then determine our highest performing posts to share.

screenshot showing FB Group analytics

We spent around $2,000 on paid slots during this 28 day test.

Our costs were particularly low due to the fact we own Superhero Academy & Motivational Quotes Journal. This allowed us to share multiple times a day on each page from the group and receive free shares on pages in exchange for giving them shares on ours.

Welcome to the world of Attention Real Estate (aka large pages) :)

What surprised us the most was how much effect this distribution had on not only our group but our Facebook page. When we shared a post that Superhero Academy posted into the group, a large portion of people ended up liking our Facebook page.

Screenshot showing fb group stats
Page likes increased by 34,584 in 7 days

This increase in weekly page likes is what surprised me most during this test.

We weren’t promoting our page heavily before this trial and were seeing 1,000 new likes a week on average.

What We Learned During These 28 Days

Group Engagement Is Necessary
It is vital to be active in your own group. People need to continuously see the admin posting to associate the group with specific figures and voices. This can be achieved through daily posting and internal content calendar outlining weekly Facebook Lives, Q&As, and posting responsibilities.

It is possible to schedule posts in advance inside the group or use a tool such as Buffer to batch upload content for the week.

Our Facebook Page Grew FAST
This was by far the largest surprise and not expected at all. Our Facebook page Superhero Academy grew 111,000 likes in 28 days.

Build Team To Execute Tasks That You Aren’t Needed For
The true sign of leadership and management is the ability to delegate what can be done by someone else TO someone else. We have a great team of social media managers and designers that made this test possible.

We received 1 email for every 5 people who requested to join
Not everyone will fill out the questionnaire when joining the group that includes email submissions. We saw, on average, one in five people submitted their email.

It’s a long play…
The results aren’t plateauing. We expect our page and group to continually grow. We have seen this strategy implemented on Universoul Awakening Group which has surpassed 60k members in less than a year.

The more people join, the more content gets posted, the more likely you have posts going viral with your group name attached… simple as that.

Where More Testing Will Take Place

We move fast at Superhero Academy. Sometimes at a fault.
We focus on testing, executing, and improving with time.
A few things I would like to improve for our community include…

Better Group Engagement From Admin
Our admins weren’t as engaged as I would have liked us to be. Every time a team member wrote out a powerful post the response in engagement was obvious. Integrating more value posts beyond memes will build depth with our new audience in a shorter amount of time.
Facebook lives to show our faces will also be used for more intimate connection will increase in consistency as well.

Email Drip Sequence Dedicated To New Group Members
For this first round we just added all new emails to our newsletter. No drip at all. Embarrassing I know. We are focused on integrating a welcome sequence introducing new members to the ethos of Superhero Academy + multiple free lead magnets.

Launching Products Into Group For Conversion Rates
We still aren’t 100% on the value of this group in terms of ROI for future course launches. We have some goodies we will be releasing soon so will see.

The Final Results

I feel good.

We didn’t hit the goal of 10k members but learnt A LOT and gained over 110k new Facebook page likes.

Moving forward, we will continue to keep routine on the posting and distribution of content to ensure ongoing growth. I’m most excited about creating for this group of people and showing the faces behind Superhero Academy.

Is this strategy for everyone? Nope
Local businesses? Slightly
Just getting your message aligned and content machine flowing? Wait a little
Online community or influencer with established product and voice? That’s more like it.

This is an accelerator. Not a starter.

The benefits someone will achieve are growth as an authority, larger community, and additional funnel for email collection.

I fully believe that Groups on Facebook will continually be a major player on the platform.

With an established audience and what Kevin Kelly labels as True Fans, your business is bound to thrive launch after launch.

Groups are a great way to find these fans while providing a space for two way communication and allowing your members to participate and share THEIR OWN genius with others.

If you have made it this far in the article, I want to ask you a simple question.

Would you be interested in deep diving on how you can integrate this strategy into your own group?

We are playing with the idea of running 7-10 people through the process of optimizing and growing their own group.

Full transparency, this is still in the idea phase but if we see enough interest we will make it happen.

Join the waitlist to let us know if you would be interested in learning more about this program.

Other than that, have an epic day party people.

facebook Social Media growth hacking facebook groups