After taking a week off last week, I spent a considerable amount of time this weekend catching up on my e-communications (FB, tweets, fave blogs, email newsletters, RSS feeds, LinkedIn group updates, etc.). After the first hour of wading through the mass of information, I realized I might need to pare down my inbound communication streams.
In the second hour, I realized I’d been re-reading the same post from some of my sources (they apparently opted for quantity over quality and simply resent the same information multiple times, sometimes three times in one day) . . . needless to say, these sources have gone on the short list of those to cut.
After the third hour, I engaged in a discussion with a friend (who thankfully interrupted my information-review and purge process) about information overload. He indicated that he’d also been trying to cut back. He went on to say that he’s not only cutting back on things he reads sporadically, but is also dropping a feed from his favorite football team “because they don’t send me anything I can’t / don’t already get from ESPN.”
So what did I take from the four hours it took me to clear out/catch up on all my e-information channels (besides a vow to never take a week off from social media again):
Don’t “spam” your recipients!
Repeating the same information (including repeating a series of five or six posts) in a short amount of time may seem like a good idea up front, but, especially for anyone subscribing to your posts in email format, it comes across as spam. You are no longer providing relevant, useful content . . . you are now a nuisance. Nuisances are dropped and unsubscribed to.
Engage and reward your audience.
People that take the time to like/subscribe/add you to lists/ etc. should be acknowledged. Take a lesson from Ann Taylor’s “Loft” FB page management . . . recently, when the Loft’s FB page received its 1 millionth “Like,” it offered a coupon that allowed its FB fans to purchase $100 worth of items for $50. While I’m not sure how the offer economics worked out for the company, they used the offer to generate ongoing social media engagement, and from hitting their 1 millionth customer around January 20, their fan count at my last check was 1,081,315. You don’t need that generous of an acknowledgement, in fact, just thanking your fans or giving your fans/subscribers/etc. a slight scoop before others or some additional information (as my friend’s sports team did not) is enough.
Respect your audience’s time.
Never forget that your audience has a limited time to spend and, unlike your usual sales/service model where your competing with your direct competitors, in social media you’re competing with information-sources across your fan’s/subscriber’s interest base . . . all vying for attention—think of it as a swimming pool full of thousands of children all screaming “look at me” at the same time. If your kid isn’t doing something spectacular, entertaining, or interesting . . . it won’t be able to rise above the din. So before you post, blast, blog, or tweet ask yourself is your kid (what you’re sending out) distinguishable enough to be the kid that at least some, if not all, of your audience will look at.