On Facebook — Are you a Human or a Machine?

I spent a part of the morn­ing, while the builders are work­ing on the changes hap­pen­ing in our bath­room, look­ing at blogs pub­lished by a vari­ety of peo­ple and one post set me think­ing. As writ­ers we wish for every­one in our cir­cle to see out lat­est blog post and we post it in a mul­ti­tude of places soon after we have pub­lished it to our blog. In anoth­er post I talked about mak­ing your lat­est mate­r­i­al more vis­i­ble, but also about cre­at­ing a pub­lic­i­ty sched­ule in order that you max­imise your reach, espe­cial­ly to make your mate­r­i­al attrac­tive to new followers.

Suffering from Over Publicity?

One of the great­est chal­lenges with using social sites, like Face­book, as a part of your pub­lic­i­ty strat­e­gy is that there are times when you can sound more like a machine than a human being. Think about it for one moment, here are a few of the things you may do in rapid suc­ces­sion in order to tell oth­ers about the new mate­r­i­al you have just published:

  • Post it on Facebook.
  • Post on Twitter.
  • Post it on each Face­book Group that you are a mem­ber of.
  • Post on oth­er Face­book pages that you have.

This is good isn’t it? Well you would think so, but it may not be.

Facebook community

My Face­book page is set­up to re-post every­thing that I post on Twit­ter, this is a fea­ture that has long exist­ed that most peo­ple have even for­got­ten it exists. Think about  the impact on your fol­low­ers of the above four actions as you take each step. What do they see?

  1. Your ini­tial Face­book post,
  2. Your Twit­ter post repeat­ed on Facebook,
  3. One post for each group you post the link with,
  4. They see the post that you add to each oth­er page.

Over a peri­od of two hours the per­son fol­low­ing you on Face­book may see ten or twelve ver­sions of your post being pub­li­cised, they feel over­whelmed and tune out, then what many writ­ers do is post it all again tomor­row and per­haps the day after as well in an attempt to max­imise the num­ber of peo­ple view­ing their work imme­di­ate­ly after it is pub­lished, but these con­tin­u­ing stream of posts may actu­al­ly be turn­ing peo­ple off. Was that what you intend­ed? No it isn’t! You want them to read your post and go to your web­site, dis­cov­er oth­er things that you have writ­ten, then become a loy­al read­er. The net impact of all this activ­i­ty is that you seem more like a machine than a per­son, and the prob­lem of appear­ing like a machine in the social world is that peo­ple switch off and may even stop fol­low­ing you.

Think about the pub­lic­i­ty depart­ment for a large cor­po­ra­tion, I have worked with many, it is true they adver­tise, but they also do a lot of word of mouth activ­i­ty which is not nec­es­sar­i­ly direct­ly asso­ci­at­ed with sales but it all works to boost their stand­ing in the mar­ket­place. The same is nec­es­sary for the writer, they need to get the word out with­out adver­tis­ing, and some­times that is about post­ing a quote, some­times it is about answer­ing some­ones ques­tion, some­times it is about inter­act­ing with oth­ers. There is a need to ratio­nalise your activ­i­ty and ensure you are not an adver­tis­ing machine.

Rationalise Your Posting Actions

There are sev­er­al things you should be doing to seem human and have peo­ple wish to see your mate­r­i­al, including:

  • Post con­tent (3 or 4 dif­fer­ent pages with links) in the morn­ing and again in the afternoon.
  • Pub­li­cise oth­er people’s mate­r­i­al, when­ev­er you find a good blog post men­tion it and praise the material.
  • Facebook emotionsShow your emo­tions to oth­er people’s posts (Face­book now only has “Like”, but also love, haha, wow, sad, and angry icons now) and not just your best friends..
  • Hold a con­ver­sa­tion about work or oth­er things of inter­est to you, this shows you are not sim­ply about advertising.
  • Be involved in dis­cus­sions that your fol­low­ers find interesting.
  • Use Face­book in 10 to 20 minute stints, this way your posts are not all on top of one anoth­er and go away for 1 hour or more between sessions.
  • Post your con­tent in one group per day, draw up a sched­ule of group post­ing dates and times and wher­ev­er pos­si­ble avoid dupli­cat­ing any posts on the same day.
  • Your pub­lic­i­ty efforts for a sin­gle post may stretch over 4 to 6 weeks, do not con­dense it into 4 to 6 days.
  • Expand your net­work every day, fol­low new peo­ple who may be inter­est­ed in the sub­jects you write about.

The rea­son for ratio­nal­is­ing your post­ing efforts is that you are using social media as a means of adver­tis­ing your arti­cles, but you are doing it in a way that makes you human. Much of my work is as rel­e­vant today as when I first wrote it so I often post links to old arti­cles that bring with them a lot of visitors.


Buy Peter B. Giblett a cof­fee as a thank you for this article.



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10 Replies to “On Facebook — Are you a Human or a Machine?”

  1. Amaz­ing tips. I nev­er thought I maybe over doing it. I will reme­ber this.

  2. Peter B. Giblett says: Reply

    It is true there are a lot of peo­ple that don’t realise they are over doing it.

  3. Great arti­cle and great tips! I always find it hard find­ing the right way of pro­mot­ing my blog since I usu­al­ly don’t like the idea of self-prom­tion at all. I guess there is no oth­er way though if you want atten­tion for your work.

    1. Peter B. Giblett says: Reply

      I think we all feel that way, Ide­al­ly we want the thou­sands who share an inter­est in our top­ic to mag­i­cal­ly pub­li­cise it for us, but the truth is we have to be our own pub­lic­i­ty machine

  4. I find myself post­ing the work and blogs of oth­ers as well as some edu­ca­tion­al con­tent. I bare­ly share my work or blog, I share the feel­ing of Karo. I don’t pro­mote myself as much as I should.

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