How I grew an E-Commerce Facebook page by 40k fans in 10 months

When I joined GraysOnline* as their Digital Content Manager, one of the objectives was to establish a content marketing strategy for social media, to create an active community while monetising the channel for consistent monthly revenue.

The GraysOnline Facebook page had a solid base of 33k fans, but the content was hit or miss and mostly from the point of view of the business.

One of the easiest(and biggest) mistakes a business can make in its marketing is to make it “all about them”. By only thinking in terms of your company’s goals and ignoring your customer needs, it can lead to bad practices. So I knew I needed to flip this approach ensuring marketing spoke directly to the customer and addressed their needs and/or problems first, then position Grays product(s) as a solution.

See below are some examples of pre-strategy content:

Tips for improvement

In my audit of the previous 6 months, they posted on average 1.3 times a week. But there were inconsistencies; in three of those months only one post was made and in the other months there were up to five.
[Tip: be consistent].

There were also no links in each of those three examples posts above, (but most posts had links) its key to include links as you’ve no other way to track traffic & revenue
[Tip: if it’s not measured it can’t be improved on].

The categories they were promoting also did not reflect the business growth priorities, so with no strategy in place you end up wasting resources(time & money)
[Tip: focus on promoting categories of your businesses that generate strong revenue,  maximising the return on investment].


So to recap, I audited the facebook page, discussed business objectives with the heads of each category to know what auctions were in the pipeline. I then took a test and learn approach to posting making sure to address customers needs and tailoring strategies based on what the customer responded too.


An example of testing customer-focused content, which got strong engagement with likes & comments.


When planning Facebook posts there are few key items you should include:

  • Copy: short, sweet with one key message addressing the customer wants/needs.
  • Tracked link: so you can see via your analytics software (e.g. Google Analytics, Adobe Analytics) where your traffic has come from, their journey through your site and if they bought/downloaded anything.
  • A shortened link: not only does it keep things looking neat it packages up your tracked link and gives you another layer of analytics to track the success of your post (there are many to choose from,, (is part of HootSuite).
  • Consistency is key: when you decide how many times a day/week you will post e.g. 3 times a week, make sure you can commit to it (but there’s no harm posting extra if it’s interesting and relevant). Taking this approach you will train your followers to expect regular posts and they will be primed and waiting. Remember,  Facebook prioritises content based on what users have recently engaged with, so if you’re not consistently posting you’re reducing any potential future engagement.
  • Testing & learning: don’t be afraid to try different post formats, image only, image + link, photo collage, video, carousel. We also posted about different items, GraysOnline auctions a wide range of items from TVs, Furniture, Cars and jewellery to crane and trucks. So we established the audience responded well to unique once off event auctions compared to average item e.g. the Granny Flat below, a furniture clearance event from Fantastic furniture. Where there was a high perceived value of the items with the opportunity to save money compared to buying RRP.

NOTE: People can sometimes be wary of auctions but if they feel the money they save is worth the risk.

  • Real photos instead of stock ones: posts with real photos (taken by Grays staff ) did better than purchased stock photos, [Tip: Unsplash is a great source for free quality photos that don’t look like the typical whitewashed stock photo, there’s a realness to them].
  • Leverage the customers’ curiosity: this was a key factor asking questions in the posts helps to boost engagement. This is because of how our brains are wired, when we read a question, our brain is already racing to answer it.
  • Create seasonal posts: to round out your content make sure to tap into seasons, holiday or events e.g. Summer, International Women’s day, Australian open, Star Wars day(May 4th). See below
  • Scheduling tool: Buffer was my tool of choice allowing me to batch schedule post 6-8 weeks in advance and if I needed I could jump into Facebook and make a topical post.

Making the posts about your customers and not about your brand

In this Crossfit gym clearance post we a) asked a question, and b) tapped into peoples new years resolutions of getting fit/losing weight.

Stats: Organic

30.7k reach
3,408 post clicks
913 link clicks
332 Reactions, comments & shares

In this Beaumont Tiles auction post we a) asked a question, and b) tapped into peoples desire to reno their house on a budget, Beaumont Tiles also sponsored the House Rules.

Stats: Organic

49.7k reach
8, 991 post clicks
589 link clicks
183 Reactions, comments & shares (where people tagged friends in the comments and started conversations)

In this Boat/Yacht auction post we a) asked a question, and b) tapped into peoples dream of owning a boat(and get it cheap).

Stats: Organic 

35.7k reach
2,226 post clicks
476 link clicks
394 Reactions, comments & shares

Milestones in fan growth [December – September]

40k January –  50k in April –  60k in July – 73k by September = 40k in ten months 

In summary

The majority of the followers were gained closer to the 10-month mark, it took 5 months to hit the 50k milestone(growing 17k fans) but in the next 5 months, it grew by 23k as the liking, commenting, sharing gained momentum. Most of the post featured were organic posts, then as we learned to predict which posts would be popular we boost posts for $100-$200 dollars (but only for high-value auctions).


  • Come from a customer first mindset
  • Weave that into your content marketing strategy
  • Test and learn
  • Don’t be afraid of negative comments (Set up a template response document with customer service, remembering people just want to be heard so once you acknowledge their issue they tend to be very appreciative)
  • Have fun, learning to understand what makes your followers tick and how to delight them


If you need help with your Social Media Management, Content Strategy or Social Media Advertising. I can help!


GraysOnline is the largest online auction business in Australasia, offers a huge range of industrial, consumer and commercial goods, generating over $600m annual sales in FY17.

[Post photo by William Iven on Unsplash]