No one wants to think of themselves as a spammer. Because spamming is what other people do. People who are solely “out for themselves”. But this list might surprise you. Are you more of a spammer than you thought? Take my quick assessment below.
According to many common definitions, spam is any kind of unwanted communication. We typically think of it as emails, text messages or instant messages. Cold calling can also be considered a form of spamming.
But with social media, the door is wide open. It is such an easy way to connect with so many new people. It’s tempting to speed up the process of attracting and engaging people. Especially when something with such a low commitment (a follow on Twitter, for example) allows the “followed” so many options to communicate openly.
So if you are unsure if you are spamming people (intentionally or not), read this list and check your score at the bottom.
You are spamming if you:
1. Send automated direct messages on Twitter to anyone who follows you. Yuck.
2. Visit LinkedIn groups, leave your latest blog post as a discussion and leave – never to return. If you do this, you are a seagull.
3. Post photos you haven’t taken (i.e. stock photos) and post them on Instagram as your own. Or you post photos and then tell me I can find your photo somewhere online (advertisement).
4. Buy single shares in people all day long (and start again the next day) on Empire Avenue just to expose your brand or business to people
5. Send emails through LinkedIn to all your connections with a “special offer”. Don’t spam your LinkedIn connections. I don’t think I’ve given you that permission by connecting with you. Especially if these communications are all I get.
6. Send promotional tweets with seven or eight hash tags (or as many as you can fit). #badform #boring #unwanted #hardontheeyes #etc
7. Tag people and businesses on Facebook to make your “marketing message” (vs. an attempt to engage thoughtfully) more interruptive. Instead of this, why not work to develop a strategic content calendar and earn your views?
8. Automate a group #ff list (follow friday) on Twitter so that everyone you follow gets a mention once a week. Next time you get mentioned as part of a list for a #ff, go to that person’s stream and see how many others have received similar treatment. Feel less special? Be smart about using Twitter.
9. Overuse the automation tools available. Everyone uses some form of automation to help get the word out more efficiently (a Foursquare or Instagram update that you’d like to share with more people). Automation’s not the issue. It’s those who use it too much.
10. Find the most popular place to be (a big LinkedIn discussion, a blog post by someone important) and drop a link to your important something without contributing a thing of value. If you do this you are a vulture.
So now I need you to do one of three things:
1. Argue with me – tell me I’m wrong on one or more of these examples.
2. Give me another example – your pet peeve issue with people who spam
3. Calculate your score – give yourself 1 point for every spammy thing you do:
If your score is 8-10, you are a spammer and you scare me. I am going to unfollow you today.
If your score is 5-7, you might want to back off and let people find your great content (or personality) for a change
If your score is 2-4, you are at some risk of frustrating people but perhaps you are flying under the radar
If your score is 0-1, you are doing it right and likely building a more sustainable following
Well…how did you do? Share your score (if you dare) in the comments.
Thanks Sean MacEntee for the image via Flickr