Solving the Social Media Spam Conundrum

Here’s a fun fact for the day: according to Mark Risher, chief executive of anti-spam company Impermium, as many as 40 percent of active social media accounts have been flagged as spammers. In total, approximately 8 percent of status updates, tweets and other social content is counted as spam.

While Risher is referring to malicious spam, the fact of the matter remains that social media users are growing increasingly cognizant of anything they perceive to be spam. They have absolutely no tolerance for irrelevant messages, and brands hoping to engage consumers in a meaningful way through these social channels need to be very careful with what they say and how they say it. Sending the wrong message – even if it is inadvertently – could cost your brand fans and followers.

Being Social

Companies need to remember that social media sites are about being “social.” Have you ever met someone who talks only about him or herself and their experiences and achievements? If you have, you probably know how annoying that can be – no one likes those kind of people.

The same rules apply to social media. The occasional promotional message is okay, but if your feed consists entirely of content about your products and services, then you’re providing little incentive for consumers to follow you.

Creating Value

While it is clear that no one enjoys receiving malicious spam, there is a gray area when it comes to self promotion. What you believe to be a meaningful comment with a link to your site, could be perceived by others as promotional spam. But do not fear, it is possible to encourage prospects to check out your products, services, and resources without being perceived as a spammer.

One main thing to consider is why people follow your brand on social media. This is different from company to company; some follow for coupons or customer service, and others because you are a thought leader in your industry. Your communities will be unique to you, and you need to understand their likes and dislikes as you post social media content.

The key is engaging the community and adding value to the conversation by being relevant. First, you have to establish a presence in the community. Joining a LinkedIn group to promote your new white paper once and then leaving is inappropriate. Though the audience might benefit from the information; you haven’t made any effort to form a relationship, which shows you don’t understand social media and that you don’t really care about them.

It would be much better if you participated in the group first; working to become a true member of the community. This is the perfect way to learn about your audiences’ needs, and it builds trust – which is a basis for the relationship and for thought leadership.

Avoiding Being Perceived As Spam

The fact of the matter is that people want solutions to their problems and they want to follow and engage with brands that they consider thought leaders. You can prove that you are a leading brand by engaging them in a social conversation. By talking as well as listening you show that you’re not a robot, and you can further show personality by sharing other peoples’ content as well as your own.

Once you truly understand your audience you will know how to position your content so that spam will be the last thing they think of when they see it. More than that, you can now create additional content specifically for them. Being able to produce these relevant materials proves that you understand their needs, which adds value to the community as a whole, and solidifies their trust in your company.

We’d like to get your opinion on this topic – What do you consider social media spam?