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 thoughts on “On Facebook – Are you a Human or a Machine?

  1. 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. 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

  2. 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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