Pragmatic Empathy: More Simple Than It Sounds – Employee Journal

/Pragmatic Empathy: More Simple Than It Sounds – Employee Journal

Pragmatic Empathy: More Simple Than It Sounds – Employee Journal



Chilling on a beach like every internet marketing professional should be.

My name is Sam Crabtree. I’ve been with MB3 since September of 2014. Back in those days my title was “Integrated Marketing Specialist.” Simply put, my job was to absorb everything Travis said as quickly as possible and help out with whatever needed to be accomplished in the given day. That was in the hay-day of Teespring and accordingly my main duties included uploading designs, creating niche Facebook pages and starting the initial advertising process. As our business grew, I aided in everything from scheduling social media pages, collaborating with designers to create new products and even coordinating relations between our distributors and monitoring our customer service reps. In January of 2016, I became our Director of eCommerce Operations but of course, the learning process has yet to come to an end.

This Is Where It Gets Weird

So now let’s talk eCommerce. If you’ve made it this far, you’re probably more experienced in online marketing than I was when I first came on board with MB3 and if not, well “Welcome!” You’re in the right place. One of my biggest responsibilities is overseeing the growth and direction of our social media pages. I’m here to tell you that sure, figuring out a solid niche and posting regularly can get you a nice sized following. Sprinkle in some ads and you may get a thousand likes. But if you’re willing to treat growth and engagement as an art form rather than a thoughtless responsibility based in luck, your opportunities to grow will be endless. Take it from the guy that helps run a page of over 153,000 people that like cows.


(Sun Tzu quote alert!) “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory.Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.” In my world, that means never waste a post and know where you’re headed before you head there. When you’re only posting 1-3 times a day (we’ve tested all sorts of different routines), every post counts. It’s incredibly important to track what types of posts do well and to know your audience better than you know yourself. Facebook Insights is an incredibly useful tool to help with that process but monitoring comments and constantly studying trends of activity across your posts will help you gain an understanding of when and what to post to ensure that you never waste a post (why settle for a couple hundred likes when you know what can get a couple thousand?).

Why You Don’t Matter (You Really Do Though, Don’t Worry!) 

If you’re just here for the get-rich-schemes/scams, you can stop reading and go back to emailing that coach that’s never gonna give you a refund. If you’re here for the long run aka actually building a business, we’re glad to have you! Knowing your audience isn’t only crucial to the growth of your following but will also be essential to the growth of your business as well.

As we study the activity on each of our pages, we create data sheets that include everything from what types of captions get the most comments to what type of contests get the most engagement. This has been vital to the health and flow of our company’s growth because our pages maintain a seamless trajectory even as we transition between several moderators. Even though the admin of our pages may change over time, it is urgent that the personality of the respective page never does. If you’re hiring, you’re probably also firing and that’s OK. However, your pages should not take a hit or drastically change direction whenever a new admin takes over.

By understanding what makes your audience tick (their sense of humor, what they find offensive, what they want in life), your page will cease to rely on the personality or sense of humor of the moderator. We often laugh over the things that get immense traffic on our pages because we don’t they’re funny. Get that? If your page’s focus is selling things to cattle ranch housewives  and you’re a metropolitan college student, what you find funny will often fall flat on your page. That doesn’t mean you should switch targets or give up, it just means you have to study and react to the feedback from your audience. Developing a profile of your audience when it is big enough will then allow you to hire out whoever you want to take the reins without having to completely start over fresh.

That’s What I Mean By Pragmatic Empathy

I used to manage a fish market on the North Carolina coast and a common refrain among the fishermen there was “work smarter, not harder.” In the hustler’s mindset, that easily gets amended to “work smarter so that your work works harder.” Building pages efficiently involves both pragmatism and empathy. One without the other impedes progress, but incorporating them both will create synergy within your pages that may surprise you.

Work Smarter

Pragmatism involves the step by step approach (testing, recording, testing, recording and acting upon your results). It also means knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing. You could have a million fans and it’d be a waste if you didn’t know how to monetize their fandom. One way we utilize every post is to use text from designs under consideration overlaid on the pictures we post. That way, we can use the comments and other interaction as a free focus group on the design in question.


Empathy is immensely important in gaining an understanding of how your audience views life. No one cares what you think is funny. Again, No One Cares What You Think Is Funny. I’ll put it this way… Page growth is much more about finding the common bonds between the people naturally reacting to your posts than it is about promoting what you think the message of the page should be. For example, on the cow page, our awareness and attention to the sensitivities of our groups has allowed us to amass farmers, farm life appreciators with vegans and animal rights activists alike. Why segment your market when you could have it all? Understanding your audience will help you at all levels of your marketing i.e. design creation, interest research, ad scaling etc. I’ve enjoyed getting to know our audience’s and it’s a ton easier than worrying whether or not they’ll relate to you as a person.

I look forward to sharing more with y’all next time!