How to avoid being spammy on the social Web

May 11th, 2012 by | 7 Comments

Image by Matthew Oliphant

Spam has long been a problem for anyone treading the Web. Unfortunately, the problem ballooned during the rise of the social Web, with spammers exploiting the many interaction points within the social sphere. Because of this, people have learned how to identify spam, and are getting educated in ways to prevent being victimized by it online. Companies, on the other hand, spend big bucks every year on malware and anti-spam subscribing to make sure these spammy entities won’t run amok on their Web sites and their e-mail inboxes.

It’s great that a whole lot of us can pride ourselves of being spam-free, and are actively striving to focus on delivering value to our followers. Too bad, some of us can still be deemed guilty of being spammy on the social Web without being aware of it!

Today, we’re listing three of the most spammed areas of the social Web, and how you can make sure you’re not unintentionally abusing them.


Web Copy and Blog Posts

Spammy content commonly describes Web copy and blog posts that are trying too hard to get noticed by the search engines. In their attempts to rank highly on the search engine results pages, some site owners and bloggers blatantly inject keywords and keyphrases into the content, without considering context. This is also true if you’re leaving comments on other people’s Web sites.

  • While great search rankings are important, it’ll be best if you focus on providing value for your readers. Even Google recommends this. Make sure your produce something of actual value that is informative, and focuses on encouraging engagements.
  • If you have keywords and keyphrases to target, work them into your sentences in ways that make them organic parts of the content. This means that the context should be intact, and the inserted keyword won’t cause grammatical errors. Remember, this can also affect your brand’s reputation.
  • Think you’re being clever in hiding all those keywords at your Web site’s footer, or by making them the same font color as the background to make them invisible? This is an awful SEO method that never really works, especially since Google’s last algorithm update actually blocks spammy sites and can even take yours out of their indexes.


Social Media Statuses

To expand their reach online, it is heavily recommended for brands to make use of their social profiles to communicate with their followers. So you have your brand’s news and new product announcements being shared online on tweets, and status updates across the social Web. Unfortunately, some brand managers and online marketers just don’t know when to stop. This is when social media connections start becoming funnels for spam.

  • Don’t just post about your brand’s news and promos, instead focus on status updates that can actually influence interactions. In short: talk to your followers. Join discussions, ask their opinions, joke around, share your own stories, and even share other people’s content that you think would benefit them.
  • Yes, you can send your followers private messages, but don’t get into the habit of sending them promotional materials. That can earn you unfollows.
  • Don’t @mention people you’re not actually conversing with on Twitter just so you can drop your sales schtick on them, and don’t tag people on your product photos on Facebook. They didn’t choose to be part of the interaction, and this can really mess up their own engagement histories. These are really annoying methods of getting noticed.


E-mail Marketing

E-mail has been a favorite spam target for years, and it’ll be for the best if we don’t unwittingly contribute to its propagation.

  • The most important thing to keep in mind is that the only people we can put into our recipient list are those who actually did express their interest to receive e-mails from us. Otherwise, you’re voluntarily sending adrift unsolicited e-mails—the very definition of spam.
  • We also need to understand the words and triggers that can prompt e-mail security filters to raise flags on your e-mails. Blatant capitalization and words like “free,” “Buy now,” and “Viagra” or “Cialis” on the subject line can send your messages to their spam folders.
  • While e-mail marketing applications are great for managing your campaigns and automating responses, they’re better geared towards sending newsletters, and more general messages from your brand. If you want a more intimate relationship with your following, it’ll be best to personalize every e-mail to help them understand your message better, and actually relate with your brand more.

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