How to Build and Monetize a Facebook Audience: Zero to 50,000 Followers in 12 Months


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more info.

Chantal Lavergne

We’ve been on a bit of an audience building kick lately in our conversations with Dickie Bush about Twitter, with Tori Dunlap about TikTok.

Today you’ll meet a long-time listener of the show who built her audience on Facebook.

Chantal Lavergne is the founder of FunSensoryPlay.com, which started as a Facebook page in early 2020 — and that’s important because that’s years after the supposed death of organic Facebook page reach.

Since then she’s grown the page to nearly 80,000 followers using some specific and proven engagement strategies, and turned that following into a business with multiple revenue streams.

Tune in to The Side Hustle Show interview to learn:

  • how Chantal came up with the idea to start a Facebook page
  • how she has grown her audience so fast by creating an “ecosystem”
  • the multiple income streams she’s created for her business

Free Download: 25 Facebook Content Prompts

Download 25 Viral Facebook Content Prompts to Grow Your Audience

Don't reinvent the wheel or start blind. Here are some proven post ideas to try.

Enter your email to grab the free resource now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

Why Chantal Started Her FunSensoryPlay Page

“In November of 2019, we got the diagnosis that my daughter had autism. That was really, really hard for me,” Chantal told me.

Chantal decided to do her best to focus on early intervention for her daughter and started attending various therapy sessions, some of which involved sensory play.

Although short on time, Chantal came across a course by Rachel Miller called ‘Grow your Audience’.

The course was about growing an audience online using social media. This was something Chantal wanted to learn about, so she decided to sign up for the course.

The course required Chantal to create a Facebook page, so she decided to create a page called Fun Sensory Play as that was something she was heavily involved in with her daughter.

She didn’t think about it becoming a brand, starting a blog, or launching any products at the time. Chantal was inspired to start the page by her daughter, and really just wanted to share some of the activities they were doing together.

Growing a Brand New Facebook Page

“It can be very easy to grow a page if you know how to create that page,” Chantal told me.

The first tip Chantal shared is to not create a page about a brand. She said people are selfish in the way that they prefer a page to be more about them, and less about you and your brand.

You can have a brand page, but if you want to grow your audience quickly, you need to create an “interest” page, Chantal explained.

Her Fun Sensory Play page is the perfect example of this. She built the page to engage with other parents and grew her brand as her audience grew.

You also have to keep in mind that Facebook is also one of the largest search engines. Using keywords for your page instead of a brand name is also going to make it easier for people to find you.

Building an Ecosystem Around Your Page

Something Chantal did to grow her page, and this is something she learned in Rachel’s course, is to build an “ecosystem.”

What she means by this is that she joined other Facebook pages and groups that overlapped with her audience. She freely shared their content, and also shared her content in those groups.

If you’re not sure which groups you should be active in, Chantal said you should use the pages Facebook recommends in their feed.

Chantal said this does two things:

  1. It has a direct impact on your page as you are reaching a wider audience by crossing over into other groups.
  2. Facebook tracks what groups and pages you and your audience are interested in and will be more likely to recommend your page to new people.

It’s a lot of work, especially in the beginning. But Chantal said it’s worth it and was pivotal to her growth.

Creating Shareable Content

Creating content for your audience to consume is always going to be important, but it’s learning how to make your content shareable that makes the difference.

When people share your content, they’re helping you grow your page much faster than you can on your own.

“It’s like free advertising,” Chantal told me.

You will know your audience better than anyone, so you’re going to have to tailor your content to your audience.

For Chantal, it’s activities that perform the best. Her audience loves activities that are cool and easy to do, as well as mash-ups containing several activities in one post.

Example:

She has one mash-up, in particular, that she re-posts every two months or so that keeps getting shared and reaches 100,000+ people each time.

It’s a bunch of sensory activities written out in words, it has no images, but it’s a great resource for parents and educators.

Download 25 Viral Facebook Content Prompts to Grow Your Audience

Don't reinvent the wheel or start blind. Here are some proven post ideas to try.

Enter your email to grab the free resource now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

Becoming a Resource for Your Niche

Chantal’s goal is to become a resource for sensory play. She said she doesn’t mind sharing other people’s content, as long as it’s something her audience will enjoy.

She’s happy to share content from other pages, which is part of creating that ecosystem. Chantal also publishes posts submitted by her audience.

Due to the nature of her niche, a lot of her audience will make their own sensory activities at home. She’s happy to share what they’ve made, and some of those posts have performed well for her.

“As long as I’m helping an educator and inspiring people to play more with their kids, that’s all that matters to me,” Chantal said.

Content Scheduling and Time Investment

Chantal likes to schedule out two weeks of content in advance. If she has a post that goes viral, she’ll modify her schedule to maximize that post.

When starting out, she said you should try and post twice a day. As your page grows, you can increase that frequency.

At the moment, Chantal posts between 3-4 times a day on average.

Chantal says the best times for her to post content are:

  • 8:30am – This is the best time and she often sees these posts are most likely to go viral.
  • 11:30am-12:00pm – Sometimes she hits a home run posting at midday.
  • Evening – A lot of her audience goes on Facebook in the evenings so Chantal likes to post something new around this time.

Tools and Tech for Creating and Scheduling Posts

Chantal uses her phone to do most of her work. She uses Canva and Spark to create her images, and Facebook’s Creator Studio to schedule her posts ahead of time.

Monetization a Facebook Page

Five months after starting her Facebook page and with close to 30,000 likes, Chantal launched an online store on her website FunSensoryPlay.com using WooCommerce.

Chantal figured, “I have this audience now, I might as well try.”

She started by selling decals that can be stuck to the floor for kids to play games on. Then shortly after, she launched her first self-published kid’s book.

Chantal’s book is fulfilled by Amazon KDP and is available on both Amazon and her website. It quickly became a bestseller, and Chantal said it was due to the support from her audience on Facebook.

Her audience not only bought the book, but they also shared it among other groups on Facebook. A year later, Chantal said the book is still selling well and she’s added two more.

Chantal is also selling her printables on Etsy and TeachersPayTeachers.com to further her reach.

Using Facebook Stories

Chantal said she’s been seeing better engagement when using Facebook Stories to drive people to her paid products over regular posts.

She’s not too sure why Stories perform better, but they do. This goes for affiliate sales, too. When Chantal shares affiliate products in her Stories they perform better than posts.

Stories disappear from Facebook’s feed after 24 hours or so, so you will have to produce stories more often than posts.

Driving Email Subscribers Through Facebook

Chantal has been working on building her email list so she can sell directly to her subscribers and send more traffic to her website.

She currently has around 7,000 subscribers. Chantal said she’s still figuring out the best way to grow and use her list, but she’s seen an increase in sales and traffic to her site as a result of emailing her list.

A pop-up on her site telling visitors they can save money on their first order by signing up for her newsletter is what’s converting the best for her right now. Chantal said she is getting around 500 sign-ups a month doing this.

Self-Publishing and Amazon KDP

Chantal has created a number of books that she sells on her website and Amazon. The first was a tracing book for toddlers, and she’s since added more sensory-related books.

She told me she didn’t create books to make money, it was just something she wanted to do. But her books have become bestsellers and are doing very well.

The best part about her books is that they’re fulfilled by Amazon, so there is no inventory being held.

“Once you get a feel for this life of creating content….it’s hard to stick with products,” Chantal told me, talking about print-on-demand.

Building Multiple Revenue Streams

Chantal’s goal is to build multiple revenue streams and focus on building up the more passive ones.

“My goal is that if I can pay my bills with my passive revenue, then I’m golden,” Chantal told me.

She wants that security that if something like COVID hits again and schools are forced to close, she doesn’t have to worry about paying her bills.

When we spoke, Chantal was on track to make $2,000+ profit in the month. That’s a combination of book sales, printables, and display ads.

The Pros of Using Third Party Platforms

There is always the discussion of whether or not you should rely on third-party platforms like Facebook to run a business. There is always the risk that something could happen to your account.

Chantal said when you’re starting out, “You should be wherever your audience is.” She also added that people trust platforms like Facebook, and are more likely to buy from you when they find you on there.

For Chantal’s business, it was necessary to start on Facebook to find her audience. She’s also built out a large ecosystem across multiple other platforms like Pinterest, TeachersPayTeachers, Etsy, and Amazon.

Chantal’s also started testing out TikTok. Her idea is to find as many ways to repurpose and syndicate her content across as many platforms as possible.

Her long-term goal, however, is to focus on growing her email list and driving more traffic to her own website. That’s where the highest profit margins are made and she can collect ad revenue money.

What’s Next?

Chantal’s motivation is helping moms and kids learn more through playing and using sensory activities, so she’s going to continue working on more products and growing her brand.

She said there is a consulting part of her that would like to help other moms build something similar to what she has, so that may be in her future, too.

Chantal’s #1 Tip for Side Hustle Nation

“Look at other pages in your niche and draw inspiration.”

Links and Resources from this Episode

Download 25 Viral Facebook Content Prompts to Grow Your Audience

Don't reinvent the wheel or start blind. Here are some proven post ideas to try.

Enter your email to grab the free resource now:

You'll also receive my best side hustle tips and weekly-ish newsletter. Opt-out anytime.

Sponsors

  • ODYS – Get $100 off your first premium, aged domain when you mention Side Hustle Nation!

Domainate banner

ODYS is a platform that curates premium aged domains. It helps affiliate marketers and online business owners gain a head start over the competition. The premium aged domains from ODYS can save you years of building authority and help you kickstart your digital presence.

Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes video of the marketplace. (You may have to request to join the Side Hustle Nation FB group to see it.)

  • Skillshare – Get a free trial of Skillshare Premium Membership, with unlimited access to 30,000+ on-demand classes!

skillshare 2021

Want More Side Hustle Show?

The Side Hustle Show podcast

Find The Side Hustle Show in your favorite podcast player app, or listen in right in your browser.

listen on spotifylisten on google podcasts

Like That? There's More!

Join the 65,000 Who Get My Best Stuff via Email

I'll also send you my free guide: The 5 Fastest Ways to Make More Money.

4 thoughts on “How to Build and Monetize a Facebook Audience: Zero to 50,000 Followers in 12 Months”

  1. Wow, this is inspiring and seems easy with dedication and little creativity and hard work. Thanks Nick for this article and congrats to Chantal.

    Reply

Leave a Comment

Usually Hustling, Occasionally Social

1percentfortheplanet
plutus winner