The rapidly growing social media landscape is transforming daily, presenting internet marketers with a slew of new advertising opportunities and the ability to reach thousands, or even millions, of people for free and with ease. From lone bloggers to massive corporations, everyone is doing their very best to leverage social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and their ilk into visitors, subscribers and paying customers.
Like most things in life that are offered for free, social media marketing comes with a price more difficult to measure than dollars and cents, a price in the form of limitations and potential loss in the case of abuse.
‘So What Is Social Media Spam?‘ makes it easy to quickly see what is not allowed and what is frowned upon across different social media networks!
Social media platforms all have stringent terms of service intended to protect their users from unauthorized advertising and other forms of social spam and those using these platforms as a form of marketing would do well to follow a general set of rules when marketing via social media; a social media spammer’s checklist, if you will:
1. Don’t get too aggressive in your following and befriending.
The rules vary slightly from social network to social network regarding making new contacts but, at the root the of all of them, overly aggressive following and befriending is frowned upon and could put your account at risk of being banned. Nothing screams “spammer” like making hundreds of new friends per day and all networks have checks and balances in place to keep an eye on abuse, including the use of third-party apps friend-trading websites.
2. Offset your marketing efforts with legitimate social use.
While your favorite social networks certainly do present a very legitimate advertising opportunity, remember that these networks are intended for socializing, not soliciting. Offset your marketing efforts with posts and content additions that more closely resemble social offerings as opposed to business offerings; not only will you fly under the spammer radar, but your friends and social followers will appreciate your appearance of a human being as opposed to a ad bot.
3. Never send direct messages or emails with unsolicited advertising.
The rules applying to email regarding the sending of unsolicited messages are well-known to us all and apply no less forcefully to direct messages via social networks. Whether you are posting on a user’s Facebook wall or sending a DM via Twitter, you instantly put your account at risk if what is enclosed is unasked-for promotional material.
The rules aside, think about it: no one likes unsolicited emails and messages any more than you do and it simply does not represent a viable marketing option. Besides getting yourself onto the bad side of the social network of your choice, the likelihood of converting an untargeted spam message into a sale, or even a visitor is very low; you also risk estranging potential future customers with your unwelcome tactics.
4. Read and review the terms of service.
While you (or, more specifically, your eyes) may not be keen on reading the endless fine print provided in the terms of service of each social networking site that you utilize for marketing, it pays to keep up to date on how those terms of service affect you and your activity. If 30 minutes of reading saves you from having an account you’ve been building for weeks, months or years from being banned, it will be prove to be a worthwhile endeavor.
5. Everything in moderation.
This general rule, applied to all aspects of your social marketing efforts, will help you to not only avoid drawing the wrath of Facebook, Google+ and company but will also help you to keep your friends and followers happy and engaged. Intersperse your advertising efforts with other, more benign, content, showing the world that you are more than just a marketing machine. Taking the time to engage potential customers one-by-one and appealing to their personal needs and interests will allow you to better leverage the benefits of social media marketing while staying away from the negative results and feedback that is sure to be sent your way if you resort to spam tactics.