This is one of the biggest things people do wrong when it comes to networking. It doesn’t matter what platform I am on or what group I am. It is there in abundance.
Considering the number of offenses I see of spamming, I don’t think most people know what it is. I would like to give them the benefit of the doubt, but I’m just not sure. According to Webster dictionary, spamming is “unsolicited usually commercial e-mail sent to a large number of addresses.”
This kind of gives us a problem. According to the dictionary, spamming is only email. But the virtual world has stolen the world to include more than just emails. It has come to include all sorts of persistent and unsolicited messaging usually with a commercial agenda.
Emails and Social Media
In regard to spamming in emails, it is better not to send emails out to your contacts unless they have signed up for your newsletter. Any info then should be sent via the newsletter so the receiver can opt out whenever they want. Bulk emails is not generally accepted unless its a newsletter.
For social media….That can get rather grey. You’re not really emailing. The closest you can get is the private messaging most platforms have. And yes people do actually spam that way as I have received many.
Many people consider posting in a forum or group multiple times a day with commercial material spamming. Others say that if you post anything that is the same in more than one group it is spamming.
The Commercial Question
Does spamming only have to be commercial? Per the definition, yes. But that is not how social media sees it. The professional social networking site, LinkedIn, defines spam as “unsolicited marketing emails typically sent in bulk from a source that you don’t have a previous relationship with, with the intention of advertising goods or services…. Inappropriate behavior can range from an unwanted message to calculated spam campaigns. Regardless of the extent, LinkedIn is a professional networking site and we expect members to keep all content professional.” Even they see it as a commercial/marketing tool and not the vast sharing of a link that doesn’t generate money.
Because of this difference between officially recognized definitions of spam and the actual users’ definition, you could easily get yourself into a world of trouble. You need to be very careful, and even then you might get unfairly reported.
How to Avoid
First off, there is no one hundred percent way to avoid getting accused. No matter how careful you are, someone who doesn’t like you can report you for spamming and suddenly you find yourself banned from sites or listed on sites as a person to avoid. Not good! But there are some steps you can do follow that can help you avoid or it or at least give you some protection.
I’ve learned the hard way that you need an anti-spam declaration on your site. Someone incorrectly reported us for sending spamming email which we don’t do. If we send an email, it is because someone has corresponded with us in the past, signed up for a newsletter, or had an email on their site to contact them on the subject matter we do. Someone reported an email as spam. We were put on a blacklist and banned from most social networking platforms. To get off the list, I had to fill out a huge form and show where we had an anti-spam declaration on our site. There are many samples out there you can use.
When you have a newsletter that goes out, you need to have a disclaimer. In fact, you need to have several. The first one is when they sign up for your newsletter stating that you will only use the email address to send out your newsletter and not share or sell the information you obtain. You need to then have one in the newsletter email stating that they are receiving the email because they chose to sign up for your newsletter. Then you need to have a section at the bottom of your newsletter where they can opt out of it. The sad part is that even though they signed up for the newsletter, they are usually given the option to flag you as a spammer as they unsubscribe.
Space Out Posts
As you share posts on the various social networks, don’t do too many at one time. It is easy to just take your post link along with the blurb you have written and just share it everywhere at once. We all have a tendency to do that as we are on timeframes and can’t spend hours waiting to get the word out about our work/product. You want to space them out because it appears you are just posting everywhere at once and not giving any consideration to the group as a whole.
Think about it as a member of a several groups. You visit the groups to see what everyone is sharing and to network with only to find the same post at the top of each group. Someone shared their post, which is great, on every group at the same time, which is not good. It is boring. It is repetitive. It is a turn off. I want to like and maybe visit your link on one group and find something else on another group. I don’t want to see the same thing over and over.
This can be hard to avoid at times. Many people use programs such as Hootsuite to schedule posts. This is great except some groups/communities will kick you out for using such programs. Trust me, I know from personal experience. They usually state them in the group guidelines which means you have to personally post and take your take to space out the posts.
I try to open up all the groups I’m going to post to on my browser and put my blurb and link. Then every fifteen to thirty minutes, I post one. This is tedious but can pay off. That doesn’t mean I don’t goof up. The result has been me put on the naughty list and even removed from groups. Some have no mercy. Be careful in posting.