Habituating the List – Why your boring posts are killing you.


The other day, someone I remember doing some web form/CGI programming for back in the mid-nineties, Jake Steingart, friended me on facebook. I hadn’t spoken to him in many years and was delighted to learn that he still is working the ‘net.

He posted a link on facebook to a video he made himself, where he discusses direct marketing principles applied to social media. Great stuff.*

In it he talks about “training your list”, specifically teaching your facebook friends to ignore your posts by continuing to post stuff that nobody engages with. If your posts aren’t getting interacted with, your friends will habituate towards considering  you irrelevant – after all the crowd advocated that judgement by not replying, right? His point is that if you’re posting stuff nobody cares about – STOP. It’s actually hurting you.

This is E-mail Marketing 101: you don’t want to over-blast your list, but I honestly hadn’t heard the idea so staunchly applied to Social Media before.

Some of you F1000 types might be inclined to throw up your arms and say “Well what we do is Brand Building!” Even so, the points Jake makes are still something you shouldn’t ignore. If at this point you haven’t watched the video*, maybe you should, at least until you walk away with an understanding of the liability of boring posts.

You might also think that a larger company’s engagement metric is more related to click through on post links. While that’s true and fanpage fans are different than friends, fanpage fans still interact. If you’re not measuring and cultivating more interaction and more engagement with your posts, then you’re only really leveraging social for SEO, inbound links, and essentially just the real-estate. “Social” isn’t just about talking – it’s as much about listening – taking time to look back and doing real analysis. Look back at those hundreds of posts, look at the audience, and continue to improve the quality that gets comments, shares, retweets, mentions, and ultimately more likes and followers.

Is diluting your engagement level with calls-to-action and corporate messaging your definition of “social?” Should you cultivate engagement at all or instead see Social Media as an opportunity for increased visibility, expecting little in terms of engagement or conversion? Even in a Social Media effort that’s thought of as mostly brand building, if those questions aren’t answered as part of the overall strategy lots of opportunity to cultivate real engagement might be lost – your boring posts nobody cares about could be killing you.

Now honestly, doesn’t this compel you to re-examine your posts qualitatively?

* Jake used to make his videos public. Now I believe he has them behind some member’s only type of training site.


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