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10 Steps to Decreasing Social Media Spam

Learn to Maximize Your Business and Sales Potential through Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Linkedin and more in this social media training course.

socialmediaspamAs social media increases in popularity, we should only expect that a rise in spam will accompany it. It’s sad but true. During the first half of 2013, there was a 355% growth of social spam on a typical social media account, according to Social Media Today. “Spammers are turning to the fastest growing communications medium to circumvent traditional security infrastructures that were used to detect email spam,” the website says.

With the rise in social spam, you also run the risk of being labeled as spam by your followers. Make sure to keep good social media practices to avoid having to fix a damaged reputation as a bad, “spammy” social media user.

How to keep yourself clear from attacks:

1. Be aware:  Normally, it’s easy to recognize spam content (those cheesy “You’ll never believe this photo” or “You look so silly in this photo” posts), but sometimes spammers can be a little more clever. If you see a post that isn’t characteristic of the user, don’t click it. By approaching social media with a little more caution, you can save yourself a headache.

2. Keep those passwords strong:  HappyBirthday1 isn’t a strong password. Neither is your birthdate. Pick a real password. It may not have been that important to protect your Facebook page from practical jokesters when it was just you, but if you’re the manager of a business page, it’s very important to keep your password to yourself.

How to keep yourself from getting labeled as spam:

3. Have great content:  This is likely in every blog post you read about social media, but it bears repeating time and time again. If you’re not providing value to your followers, get off social media now. You’re doing yourself more harm than good if you are posting spammy, overly-sales-y content that builds resentment from your fans. I know of a company that has been banned from MailChimp and ConstantContact because too many of their recipients marked their emails as spam. There ARE consequences to skipping this step.

4. Don’t engage with someone unless you have a reason to:  Ungrounded contact is basically the definition of spam. At Shelten Media, we don’t engage with people unless they’ve engaged with us first in the form of a comment, like, share, tweet, etc. Then they’re fair game, but we don’t ask people to buy our product or read our blog posts out of the blue. There are some circumstances when this rule can be bent (if you truly think you can form a quality relationship based on some common interest), but you should have a strong reason to do so. An industry buzzword in their Twitter profile is not a strong reason to do so.

5. Sound like a person:  Spam has a distinctive computer-like feel to it. When you’re behaving on social media (or behaving on behalf of a company), make sure to sound like a person. Crack a joke. Post a candid photo. Respond to people’s comments. Nothing looks more robotic than scheduling a week’s worth of posts and then never checking the page again.

How to come back from bad, spammy content:

6. Stop posting bad content:  Stop. Now. Don’t click “Send” again until you know that what you’re about to put onto the Internet will provide value to your followers.

7. Stop engaging with people who think you’re spam:  You’ve lost them, unfortunately. Instead of trying to win them back, let the process happen naturally. Focus on cultivating the following that you still have with great content. Then, let them become your spokespersons. If they have relationships with the people who marked you as spam, they may influence them to come back.

8. Fix your email lists:  If half of your email following has marked you as spam (and your email marketing company still keeps you on as a client), you’re going to have to sort through your list and clear out the ones who are no longer interested. If you’ve been banned from your email marketing provider (like the above business), you’ll still have to do the same thing so it doesn’t happen again when you switch providers.

9. Be patient:  This process takes a long time. A damaged reputation is a hard thing to fix.

10. Follow steps 3 – 6 repeatedly:  Out with the bad, and in with the new. It will be a learning process to see what “good content” looks like, but that’s what analytics are for. Check to see how each of your posts does in terms of engagement or follower interest. If a lot of people interacted with the post, that usually means it’s good content! If no one touched it, or worse, if it caused negative comments, that’s mediocre or bad content. Avoid that.

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