Or… where does Spam start?

I teach businesses how to use Social Media effectively. At some point sooner or later the Spam question comes out: “how much can I talk about my business?”

Despite all the ratios like “1ad per 10posts” there is really no answer that fits for every case. What is important to remember is that people want to follow people rather than billboards. Remember:

Marketing doesn’t spread, Stories do ~ @joeyinteractive

On the other hand if I follow a brand on Social Media or anywhere else I do expect to learn more about the business and everything around it. So, what does this mean for you? How do we avoid SPAM?

photo credit: janetgalore via photopin cc

Wait…. what is SPAM?


Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately. While the most widely recognized form of spam is e-mail spam, the term is applied to similar abuses in other media

We all know the typical email spam messages clogging up our email boxes or the ones that end up in our email-spam-filter. There is a whole industry out there offering their services to companies and trying to figure out how to stay ahead of the race against spam filters. Read more about Spam and the legal implications on this blog and others.

I have yet to meet anyone who likes ad-Spam and the only reason it is still used is that it costs next to nothing to produce and spread it around.

So, what’s the problem with SPAM?

  1. SPAM can be devastating to your companies’ reputation. I relate spamming to bullying – If you would start bullying the pedestrians that walk by your store to buy your product you would soon notice that people start avoiding your street. You want to convince your audience that your business is the best option to fill their need but not by being a bully.
  2. Digital SPAM messages are often combined with malicious software that can invite viruses to your computer – read more about this on “What the hack?”
  3. On Social Media platforms stepping off the SPAM tightrope means losing the followers and fans that actually read your updates – the ones you want to encourage to spread your message

Social Media is unfiltered

So, why is there no effective Spam-filter for Social Media platforms?

If you ever looked at the header information of an Email you can see that it contains a whole lot of information about the path the email took, who received it and what server sent it. It is possible to use this information to catch a large percentage of junk before you have to delete it manually. If you have ever found a legitimate email in your junk-mail folder you know that this doesn’t always work but generally it’s pretty accurate.

Social Media doesn’t have this – anybody can post an update and it would be pretty hard to establish an accurate filter.

Where does SPAM start?

Contrary to a real tightrope there is no defined point where information becomes Spam. Sometimes I think someone is spamming me while they really have a solution for my need. Spam can come as a posting to your Facebook page or a message to your inbox. It can come as a Direct Message on Twitter or a @mention seemingly directly sent to you.

Ok, this is a Tweet4Ok blog post so here is the “hands-on advice”:

How to avoid being a Spammer on Social Media:

  1.  Never ever Auto-DM on Twitter! “Follow me on Facebook too” “Thanks for following – buy some more followers” “I use a validation service – log in here”…. we all know the automatic messages we often receive from accounts that we follow. This information is “unsolicited advertising” for sure and has become so prevalent that many Twitter users never look at their Direkt Messages anymore. Instead start an open conversation with your new follower and try to find something from their bio or recent tweets to comment on.
  2. Report Spam to Twitter, Facebook and the other sites. You can imagine 200 Million Twitter accounts are a juicy target for Spammers. The only way to make the life of a spammer difficult is to block them from your stream and report them for sending Spam.
  3. You will find people on Social Media Platform that you can help, that are the perfect customer for your business. You offer what they are seeking. Make sure you start a conversation before sending them your offer: “hi @soundso I read your tweet about #thisnthat …”
    Never send a tweet addressed to someone that contains no comment but just a link to your web site
  4. The best advice: Put yourself in your audiences shoes – think about how your posting may come across and design it to carry a message without bullying

Let’s all be friends!

I built my business around helping companies and organizations being effective in the world of Social Media. I strongly believe that Social Media success is linked to consistent, honest and responsive conversations between people. Spammers might actually have short term success with their campaign but in the long term the brands that share high quality content will be the ones benefiting most from these essential new business tools.

Let’s help each other out: Report Spammers and if you feel that someone else has stepped off the tightrope and is about to become a spammer – talk to them about it! They might not know how they come across.

Published by Frithjof

Digital media strategist, coach, community manager and CEO of BlueBird Business Consulting. Blogger, podcaster, content creator and teacher with a passion. Favourite quote: “To succeed in the business of the future we have to become the very people we are trying to reach” ~ Brian Solis

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