What We Can Learn from Spammers: Turning our worst nightmares into best practices

What…Learn from spam?? Have I lost my senses? In truth, spam is enough to make all of us a little crazy. But there are some lessons about online interactions that legitimate professionals can learn from those annoying spammers.

It’s about your audience, not about you

Spammers push their own agendas rather than provide anything of any value to those receiving their messages. Don’t be a spammer in a bona fide business person’s clothes. Make sure that you’re primarily focused on giving your audience information they can use and learn from, and make advertising your goods and services secondary. Remember the 70/20/10 rule (Thanks ADR Social Media for breaking it down!) for social media communications!

Know who you’re dealing with

Spammers don’t know – and apparently don’t care – about targeting their messages to the right audience. They just shove their sales pitch down as many throats as possible in hopes of scoring. There’s no building relationships, no getting to know what the audience cares about or needs. Make sure that you’re interacting (social media is a two-way street) with your audience online to build trust, loyalty and interest in your brand. Get to know them – and give them the opportunity to get to know you, not just what you’re selling.

Don’t automate too much

Day-to-day demands of running a business have made all of us strapped for time (especially true for solopreneurs who do it all!), but resist the lure of automating too much. Don’t risk appearing robotic. Mike Sansone of Converstations made a recent post that touched on striking the right balance. While I believe it’s necessary to schedule posts and automate to some degree, you need to be sure your intent is to provide greater value to your audience. On my personal list of no-no’s:

  • Automated DMs (direct messages) after someone follows you on Twitter
  • Posts on Linkedin that are in “tweet speak” (not everyone is conversant in Twitter language)

You see, those annoying, infuriating, time-wasting spammers really have taught us a thing or two about how to be more attentive to the needs of our audience. But that doesn’t mean you have to smile or send them a “thank you” the next time you delete their messages from your twitter stream, blog comments and email!

What other spammer-esque tactics have you seen bona fide businesses use? What’s on your list of online interaction no-no’s?


2 comments on “What We Can Learn from Spammers: Turning our worst nightmares into best practices
  1. Mike Sansone says:

    Great advice, Dawn! I believe it’s Karen Salmansohn who says, “Even our tormentors have some “mentor” in it for us. Even the spammers have lessons we can learn from (and thanks for bringing light to that cloud) And for the shouts:-)

    • dawnmentzer says:

      I’d never heard that before – Love it!Thanks for the comment, Mike. And you’re welcome re: the shouts. You always give us small biz folks something to shout about. 🙂

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