Today, my guest, Brooke Riley, and I are talking about how to grow a seven-figure business by listening to your audience. And for Brooke, that audience has been on Facebook.
We talk about whether Facebook is really dead. Is it still possible to grow an audience on Facebook and actually get your content seen?
Brooke has grown her blog, Refabbed, her coaching business, and her online boutique in 4 years, mostly through her Facebook page, which currently has around 500K followers.
Many people in our industry would tell you not to expend any efforts on Facebook; that it’s a complete waste of time unless you want to “pay to play” through Facebook ads.
And while it’s true that the algorithms aren’t favoring bloggers or businesses the same way they used to, if you go into it with a specific strategy and you focus on engagement, you absolutely can build a community on Facebook and use it to grow your business.
Brooke shares with us how she did it, and why Facebook was a great decision for her business. She also talks about how she has expanded her business from just a blog, and she shares her tips for folks just getting started.
Before we jump into our discussion though, I have to say that I have been having loads of fun over in my Facebook group.
I am in there all the time, chatting, going live, and helping you build your business. And the group is full of other bloggers, encouraging each other and answering questions.
If you haven’t joined us yet, what are you waiting for? Come on over today and introduce yourself. We’re all waiting on you!
My guest, Brooke Riley, has grown her blog, Re-fabbed into a large DIY blog, coaching business, and online boutique in 4 years, mostly through her Facebook page, which currently has around 500K followers.
Brooke has invested in her followers and built relationships with them, and now she has an audience that knows and trusts her.
Starting a Blog Even if You Don’t Know What a Blog Is
Brooke began her blog as a way to document and share the projects she was completing around the fixer-upper home she and her husband had purchased in western Kentucky.
At the time, Brooke admits, she wasn’t even sure exactly what a blog was.
Even though Brooke was spending time creating content for her blog, and building relationships with her readers, email list subscribers, and social media followers, her pageviews weren’t growing as quickly as she wanted.
She knew she needed pageviews for ad income.
And income was definitely her goal from the beginning. She didn’t know what types of income were typical for bloggers, but helping to provide for her family was her goal from day one.
Over time, Brooke got to know her audience well enough that she was no longer 100% dependent on ad revenue.
She began to experiment with affiliates and figuring out other ways to monetize. She learned what her audience really wanted from her, and that led to other streams of income.
Creating Connections with Your Audience
From the beginning, Brooke wrote her blog with the intention of being vulnerable and honest.
She wanted her audience to know her personally and she wanted to get to know them. Her vulnerability allowed her audience to connect with her on an intimate level.
When Brooke placed calls to action in her posts and emails, she worded them in a way that her audience would want to answer.
She also took time to respond to their replies in a way that made them feel validated and want to respond again.
Connecting with Your Audience on Facebook to Grow a Seven-Figure Business
It’s one of the most popular things to say right now… that Facebook is dead for bloggers and online business owners. But Brooke hasn’t found that to be the case at all.
From the time she started her blog, Brooke focused on her Facebook page. Facebook was where she saw the most interaction and the most engagement with her audience.
Her page grew slowly, but she kept putting in the time and sharing with her followers there.
After two years of working her page, Brooke realized that she wasn’t connecting with her audience on FB the way she wanted to. And it was because even though she put out a ton of great content for them, they never saw her.
They read her voice in her content, but her face wasn’t something they experienced.
So, she began doing live videos on Facebook to build that connection with her audience.
Planning a Facebook Strategy
After a couple of years at this live video thing, you would suspect that Brooke has a special strategy that she uses to get as many people as possible watching.
Surely she plans out her live videos and lets her audience know exactly what day and time they will be, right?
Sometimes, she doesn’t even know what she’s going to talk about until 5 minutes before she gets on there.
Brooke says it is important to know that you don’t have to follow rules that somebody else has set. You need to do what works for you and what works for your community.
When Brooke first started going live, she would go live once every two weeks or so, but now she goes live once or twice a week.
Brooke aims to post at least 4 times per day on her Facebook page. It’s not the end of the world if she doesn’t get 4 posts up, but she does try to keep it active by posting regularly.
Brooke posts things that are relevant to her audience, from her blog or other creators her audience enjoys.
Brooke knows her audience well enough that she has been able to build other revenue streams and businesses based on their wants and needs.
Creating an Online Clothing Boutique
One of these additional businesses is an online boutique for her female audience that is just about to hit 7 figures in revenue.
I realize that not everybody would think to start an online boutique, so I asked Brooke to share why she started it and how she knew it would work for her audience.
She shared with me that she was getting so many questions about her appearance (her hair, clothes, and makeup), that she realized she could build an additional stream of income based on that interest.
Brooke was doing all of the affiliate marketing she could based on her readers’ requests, but it didn’t take long to figure out that she was onto something.
She knew she needed to capitalize on the passion she felt for her style and her audience’s love of it, so she decided to start a boutique selling the things she liked and then share those products with her audience.
Creating a Coaching Business
A coaching business is something Brooke never dreamed she would do.
Brooke has a passion for teaching others how to do things. She enjoys showing her audience how to do the crafts she loves, how to dress in a way that they can express their true personalities, and even how to build an online business.
She totally didn’t see herself as a teacher, however, she kept getting questions about Facebook, growing your audience, and making money online.
Her audience wanted to learn from her and they continued asking her to teach them.
Even if you think you aren’t the best at something or you don’t really know how to teach it to someone else, you have a unique voice that others can appreciate and want to learn from.
Building a Team
Brooke and her husband were the only ones running the business for the first 3+ years. For the first 9 months, Brooke still had a full-time job!
It’s only been a little over a year ago that she hired her first employee.
Brooke eventually realized that she could not grow the business any larger without having outside help. There is only so much one person can do before they need outside help.
Currently, Brooke has a full-time assistant whose sole responsibility is to work with her on the blog. Her husband, Brandon, came home full-time in May of 2019, and he works mostly on the boutique.
The boutique has a store manager and an additional full-time employee, as well as a part-time employee whom Brooke says is pretty close to full-time.
Brooke also hires outside contractors to handle things like Pinterest, etc.
What About Her Instagram Strategy?
Instagram is the hottest social media platform on the block for most online entrepreneurs right now.
Everyone is trying to grow their IG following and engage with their people over there, but until this past summer, Brooke had not focused on her Instagram.
Now that Brooke is spending more time on the site, her account is growing quickly.
Brooke likes that she can share even more behind-the-scenes stuff about her life with her Instagram stories. This allows her to continue to build that intimate relationship with her audience.
Advice: Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Rules
Brooke says that if she looks back on where she thought her blog would go and where it has gone, those two things would not be in the same neighborhood.
Running a business is not always something you can plan for. You can’t predict the opportunities you may be presented with or where your path might take you.
Sometimes you see a need that you can fill and your business is born from that.
Brooke strongly recommends that you hold your ideas loosely and not worry about “following all the rules” that other people set up. That’s a great way to lose the fun of running your business.
Trying to keep up with what everybody else tells you to do can cause you to lose that initial passion that inspired you to start your business.
Okay, I don’t know about you, but isn’t it just amazing how Brooke has been able to build such a huge community relatively quickly? Four years may not seem quick when you’re in the middle of it, but she took her blog from zero to multiple businesses and over 7 figures in just 4 years.
I find that incredible!
And she did it by being true to herself and authentic. She shared the things that she loved and took her audience along for the ride. Her audience relates to her and that allows her to serve them with content and products!
So, right now, click over and join my Facebook group if you haven’t already so that we can talk more about this episode. I want to hear what your takeaways are and I’ll be sharing mine.
- 3:00 Brooke Starts a Blog
- 6:14 Starting a Blog…Even if You Don’ Know What a Blog Is
- 7:45 Creating Connections with Your People
- 9:45 Connecting with Your Audience on Facebook
- 15:12 Planning a Facebook Strategy
- 20:05 Growing Additional Businesses
- 25:12 Building a Team
- 29:40 What About Instagram?
- 32:14 Don’t Be Afraid to Break the Rules
TOP 4 TAKEAWAYS
- When starting a business, have a goal. Even if it changes, your goals will keep you passionate while you build your audience.
- Find ways to build intimate connections with your audience, like live video.
- Get to know your audience so well that you can develop products they will want to buy.
- Don’t be afraid to hire help; one person can only do so much. When you hire people, you can grow even more.
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