OMFGUB: A Look Back at the Road to 100,000 Facebook Followers
Two years after launching Unicorn Booty, we welcomed our 100,000th follower on Facebook this morning. We could see the numbers ticking upward as soon as we first launched, but we never could have dreamed we would get to where we are today.
Prior to creating Unicorn Booty, my partner Nick and I saw an overcrowded niche full of bloggers telling the exact same stories to the exact same shared audience in the exact same way every single day. Just a glance at most of the leading gay blogs’ Facebook pages then and now confirms this. The majority of our colleagues had/have a ballpark of 5 to 10K followers, and I just had no interest in those sorts of figures. Gay blog world, in my humblebrag opinion, was stagnant and lacking any sort of strategy or creativity.
So we set out to make gay news cool. Seriously. That was it. I work hard every single day to leapfrog gay blog world and get the LGBT community’s stories across other channels, to other audiences who may never have even considered reading a gay news site before. To this day one of my proudest achievements with Unicorn Booty is that over 30% of our readers identify as straight. Our readership is split almost exactly down the middle between women and men, and I remain thankful every day that our audience cares as deeply about women’s rights and health, and transgender issues as much as I do. Content deviating from the straight-up gay news beat is never accused of being offbrand by our readers, who are genuinely interested in the equality and fair treatment of all. Phew!
So what does it mean to have 100,000 Facebook followers? Well, for starters it means that Unicorn Booty news and stories reach about 400,000 people per day on Facebook alone. Unicorn Booty is the social glue of gay news. Period. Shares of our stories each day regularly chart in the tens of thousands, and we often see days that our posts hit 50,000 or even 100,000 shares. In a day.
Two years ago, I never would have guessed that I’d be written up in and name-dropped by Forbes, Mother Jones, The Atlantic, Glamour, New York Magazine, and Vibe – not to mention pretty much every single LGBT media outlet on the planet. I never would have guessed that my work would be cited in legislative hearings or by child advocacy groups in the Supreme Court, or plagiarized by The Huffington Post writers on a nearly daily basis (Zing!). And on a total Vanity Smurf level, I still can’t get over Katy Perry calling me “pure sex.” Meow!
Unicorn Booty has changed my life and helped me to grow up and out. Saving all of those pretty UB pennies for two years financed my move back to New Orleans, where I was blown far, far away from during Hurricane Katrina. UB has taken me to Maui to celebrate Hawaii’s civil unions law going into effect, to Austin for SXSW, to New York for overpriced drinks, and beyond. And Unicorn Booty’s coffers are building my restaurant, Booty’s, in New Orleans’ center-of-the-universe Bywater neighborhood as we speak.
Perhaps my proudest achievement through all of this is the non-profit organization I’m hard at work developing with the social change super geniuses at Propeller, which I’ve christened Gay It Forward. You’ll be hearing much, much more about it very soon.
Which brings me back to that dearth of strategy and creativity that I spoke of first noticing two years ago. Nick and I have big plans for UB, Booty’s, Gay It Forward and beyond in the works for years to come. Thank you to the millions of readers who come to us each month for our brand of social impact and sass. Thank you to the 100,000 Facebook followers who subsidize my iced coffee addiction and refusal to work from an office ever again. Thank you to the entire Oddfellows Cafe staff for making the OG UB “office” a place where we were able to dream up mad designs and plans for the next five years of our business. And many thanks to Christopher Welch, Brent Peterson, Evan Rodd and Derek Lactaoen for being the lead ponies in the UB herd.
And real talk, thank YOU for just showing up here to read this – and for being the superbabe that you are. We couldn’t do it without you, Gorgeous. Smooch!
Kevin Farrell, Co-founder and Editorial Director