Costa Coffee has revealed that it increased its Facebook fans from 240,000 to 500,000 in Q1 after implementing a new content strategy and creating a ‘Fan Favourites’ app.

In the same period average daily page views have increased from 1,500 to 10,000 and the average reach of status updates went from 50,000 users to 200,000.

The campaign to increase engagement on Costa’s Facebook page was implemented by PR agency Paratus Communications.

Paratus head of digital Adam Vincenzini said that the page had previously been updated about six times per month on average, but this was increased to three posts each day with a focus on emotional, visual content.

“We try to create sharable content that will make people laugh. Coffee drinkers tend to be very passionate about it so we try to create stuff that appeals to that community.”

Paratus also created the Fan Favourites app to celebrate the fact that Costa was voted the nation’s favourite coffee shop by Allegra Strategies.

Throughout March the app asked users what else they considered to be their favourite things, ranging from their favourite colour to their favourite smell.

More than 40,000 people used the app and the Fan Favourite tab was accessed 68,000 times. Activity around the app was also promoted using Facebook’s Sponsored Stories ads.

But while the app was important for boosting ‘likes’ in the short term, the content strategy is more important for maintaining long-term engagement.

Vincenzini said that his team creates a weekly content plan and then monitors each post to respond to user comments.

“There isn’t time to respond to each individual comment, so instead we monitor all the comments and create a response that captures the overall mood.”

He said that the switch to Facebook Timeline has been a positive move as it places greater emphasis on visual content and makes it easier for users to engage with older posts.

The success Costa and Paratus have had with the Facebook page shows how important a content strategy is to increasing engagement with a brand’s online community.

Posting numerous updates each day and monitoring feedback is a fairly labour intensive process so not all companies will have the resources available, but those who do have the necessary budget are missing a trick if they fail to use social media to build and engage with an online community.