Are YOU a Social Media Spammer?

You work in marketing, and since you “understand” all this social media stuff, you’ve been asked to handle the company’s social media accounts. Sometimes, management doesn’t understand why you spend time on social media conversations, or promoting other’s links. Shouldn’t you be promoting the company? Isn’t using the company’s social media networks to socialize against company policy? In other words, they want you to spam the company’s network.

Or… you think you’re doing the right thing with a mix of brand promotion, socializing, and sharing, but sometimes, you’re not certain. When is it over-the-top? When is it too much? When is it spam?

We publish five posts per week on the TKO Brandwire blog. The topics range from leadership and human resources to graphics and signs. We try to write from the heart, in a voice that’s real, about topics we believe are important. And we promote them. We promote our posts on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Google Plus. On all but Twitter, we promote each post once. On Twitter, we share our posts four times over a two to three day period. We do more than recommend our blog — we participate on these networks by sharing others’ content and joining the conversation. Our blog promotion is less than 25% of what we distribute. Is it spam? We don’t think so. We hope we’re offering valuable problem-solving content.

When is it Spam?

Auto DMs — They hit my inbox immediately after I follow, thanking me for following or friending, while suggesting an immediate call to action – SPAM.

Fake Accounts — Several reports suggest up to 40% of social media accounts are fake. These accounts often bomb one message and many only share – never posting new content. This includes almost anything which offers a quick buck or thousands of followers instantly. They can be hateful, profane, sexually inappropriate, and lead to malicious links -SPAM.

Posting Unrelated Updates — Several events I’ve attended — Indy social media breakfast (IndySM) and Blog Indiana (renamed MixWest for 2013) come to mind —- have had hash tags pirated by spammers  Another example is attaching unrelated or misleading posts to a trending topic – SPAM.

Comment Spam — We recently had a series of comments on our blog from one person representing a company. The comments were short and ambiguous (ex: “nice post!”), and they added a link to their company site. Many weren’t appropriate, neither adding to, nor complimenting the post – SPAM.

Unwanted Emails — Collecting emails on social media, then contacting without consent. The question is, why would anyone give their email address to begin with? It happened to me yesterday. I read an excellent post on a national organization’s site, and I composed a comment. My email was required to leave the comment – I gave it. Although I don’t believe it was malicious, I received an email soliciting me to join their club-group-thingy. I never opted-in, or if I did, it was so obscure to be misleading. I hope they’ll listen when I ask them to stop – SPAM.

Network Invites — Getting invites from strangers who’ve not yet bothered to connect and engage with me really annoys me. I used to research who it was inviting me to join – now I pretty much just wave bye-bye – SPAM.

What did I leave out? What irritates you the most? Have you ever been exposed to malware due to spam? This infographic on social media spam from All Twitter shares examples of social media spam across six networks.

In a glorious celebration of this well-hated, yet wide-spread phenomenon that has survived the rigors of internet history, we bring you the original SPAM haters and their dislike for everything chopped pork shoulder meat related.

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