What's up with all the SPAM?!
I have been inundated with it lately. From unwanted newsletters, and Facebook messages, to unsolicited tweets from random people wanting me to vote for them, sign-up for their webinar, or purchase their direct sales product. But it doesn't stop there, without permission, business owners and bloggers post their promotions on my Facebook page, Instagram posts, and on blog post comments.
In fact, the excessive amounts of SPAM and shameless self-promotion is one of the reasons why I got rid of The Work at Home Woman's forum.
I’ll be the first to admit, that when I first started blogging, I was so eager to succeed that I did leave some non-thought provoking comments on blogs, and I did email some people abruptly to promote my business. However, what I quickly learned is this is NOT the way to get ahead and establish and cultivate real relationships online.
If you want to successfully promote your business online, follow these tips for authentic participation, relationship building, and faster growth.
1. Target Audience
On my contact page, it offers many details, such as, where to find information about advertising, what types of requests I'm open to, and what types of opportunities and partnerships I'm not open to promoting. But do you know what? People either choose to ignore these details or they don't read them at all — which tells me that they're all about the spray and pray approach of marketing.
If you want to be effective, don't use this method. Familiarize yourself with the person, make sure that your audiences align, read their contact page, and respect their boundaries. Your time is much better spent contacting people who align with your target audience and who are open to the types of requests and partnerships you're seeking.
Related Content: How to Reach Your Target Audience
2. Personalize Your Message
When you are contacting someone, make sure to search out their name either on their About Page or Contact Page. Nothing is worse than receiving an email addressed, Dear Sir or Madam – it shows that you did not care enough to take the time to learn more about this person, let alone learn their name.
Related Content: 6 Essential Tips for Getting Your Pitch Accepted
3. Don't Add Subscribers Without Their Permission
Never, ever, add someone’s email address to your newsletter subscription without their permission! This is SPAM! Participating in this practice can potentially lead to your domain getting blacklisted — which means your email marketing is rendered useless. If you think somebody would be interested in receiving your newsletter, feel free to ask them. But whatever they respond with, be it, yes, or no, you need to respect their decision. If they say yes, keep documentation of these emails so that you have a record of their consent.
Related Content: 8 Bite-Sized Tips to Learn Email Marketing
4. Take Your Time
Take the time to build a relationship with a potential partner before asking them to jump into a partnership. It totally irritates me when people email me for a link exchange or to promote something of theirs when I don’t even know them – often it’s for something totally unrelated, like tanning beds or automotive repair. To me, this signals that the individual doesn't care about forming an actual partnership, it's only about what I can do for them. If you are serious about working or partnering with someone, take the time to learn about them and their business, and most importantly, figure out what's in it for them.
5. Don't Tweet This Way
Twitter … Ahhh, I love it, but I dislike all the spammers! Especially when people tweet … @ann vote for me! @barbara vote for me! @carol vote for me! This is SPAM! Unsolicited, junk tweets! Social networking is about, – gasp, being social, building relationships, and if you want to cultivate relationships, start by following people and responding to the conversations that they are having. Plus, with Twitter’s anti-spam feature people can mark you as a spammer, and this could potentially end in your Twitter account being shut down.
Related Content: Twitter Etiquette Tips – 10 Twitter Dos and Don’ts
6. Facebook Missteps
If you join a Facebook group, please don’t SPAM their feed with your promos or blog posts. If you have something that is related that you think may be of interest to the group, ask the administrator if you can post it or ask if they will post it for you. Better yet, start your own Facebook group, it's free!
Secondly, feel free to suggest a Facebook Fan page to someone, but don’t suggest it more than once. If they didn’t sign up to be a fan, there is probably a reason why they are not interested (and that’s okay – not everyone likes cheesecake). But don’t continue to suggest the same page over and over again, it’s annoying, and it will reflect poorly on you.
Third, if you want to be a friend with someone on Facebook, that you don’t personally know, please add a “hello and I’d like to add you as a friend, because …” note. I personally am not interested in have 10,000 random connections, I want to connect with people on a more personal basis.
7. Before You Leave a Comment …
Before you comment on a blog post or social media update, make sure to read the entire post before deciding if you want to leave a comment. If you have something of value to add and related to the topic, then, by all means, leave your comment. Leaving comments that are just for the purpose of self-promotion and that don't relate to the subject matter discussed will more than likely end up in a SPAM filter and never be published anyway. Most shady, spammy, and overly self-promotional comments on social media updates and blog posts end up getting deleted, and oftentimes, you'll get blocked or marked as a spammer.
8. Add Value to the Conversation
When you participate in forum conversations add value to the conversation, do not just add, “My business is this and if you want to make $$$ click here” – there is absolutely no value in that. Forums are for genuine discussions, finding out information, and sharing information. On many forums, it’s acceptable to post your query along with your signature and a link to your website. Before you do that, be sure to read over the forum's rules and regulations, some do not allow that practice. Besides adding value to the conversation, you always want to make sure that you're following the rules for engagement — not doing so, could potentially ban you from further participation.
There are so many great ways to promote your business online, but don't be so eager that you start taking short cuts and screaming your message on people's screens. When you post SPAM and don't build relationships the right way — you end up looking unprofessional and you burn bridges along the way. By taking the time to add value, target the right people, and build genuine connections you'll have a much easier and successful time of building your business.
Do you have a rule of thumb for tactful self-promotion? If so, drop us a note; we'd love to hear from you! If you enjoyed this post — please share it on your favorite social media site.
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Holly Reisem Hanna is the publisher and founder of The Work at Home Woman, which has been helping individuals find remote careers and businesses that feed their souls since 2009. Through her unconventional career path of holding over 30 jobs and obtaining two college degrees, she's been able to figure out how to find a career path that you're truly passionate about. Holly's had the pleasure of sharing her expertise on sites like CNN, MSN Money, Huffington Post, Woman’s Day Magazine, as well as being recognized by Forbes as one of the “Top 100 Websites for Your Career.” Holly resides in Austin, Texas, with her husband and daughter and enjoys reading, traveling, and yoga.