We all know how yucky it feels to be spammed… but are you accidentally a spammer yourself?
In today’s episode, we’re going to figure it out. You might not even know that you’re being spammy, so I want to share my experience of social media etiquette, and how I ensure I don’t create a spammy feel. Want to learn more? Watch on below!
What makes posts on social media spammy?
First and foremost, what is spam?
At its core, spam is unwanted marketing. In most cases, when we think of spam, we think about unwanted emails. The first iterations of spam were all of the unrequested emails promoting products and services straight into our inbox.
When I first started my business, most businesses didn’t even ask for permission in order to send you emails. You could actually buy lists of email addresses from companies and just cold spam a bunch of people.
We’ve come a long way when it comes to protecting our inboxes from unwanted marketing emails and protecting them from spam! We also have a really great filters these days (sometimes they’re even a little too good at their job). But these filters take what looks like spam or unwanted marketing material and puts it into a separate space for us to go and check it out if we want to, without cluttering things up.
Whilst email is so much more protected and looked after these days, we can also be quite spammy on social media. Social media is another space where you can unintentionally be putting your marketing material in front of a bunch of people who didn’t ask for it. And that can feel really spammy.
We want to be mindful that on social media channels, we have the appropriate permissions to send people information, and that we’re not coming across as spamming the internet with unwanted marketing materials.
How do you know how much is too much? Well, lucky for you, I’ve got four key things for you to look out for!
1. Be mindful of the space you’re in.
The posts you put on your Facebook page are quite different to promoting your products and services in Facebook groups, and still quite different to reaching out and private messaging someone to tell them about your products and services.
Just be mindful of the permission level you have for promoting your products and services in that space.
For example, on your Facebook business page, it is entirely reasonable for you to promote your products and services quite consistently.
In fact, for most women in business, I would say they under-promote their products and services in that space. Your Facebook business page is one place where you have a free ticket to promote as you like.
When it comes to understanding what’s too much, and what’s unsolicited, think about the space. I like to keep a ratio of five non-promo posts to every one promo post for my audience so that there’s a great balance between promoting things and giving tips, advice and information for free. That’s the ratio that I like to keep, but you can 100% have just promos on your Facebook page if you want to. It’s your space. It’s your decision.
The second space to be mindful of is when you’re in other people’s Facebook groups.
In most cases, they have guidelines around how often you can promote products and services. For example, in my Facebook community, the Heart-Centred Soul Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook Community, we have “market day” for promoting paid offers, and on “freebie day” you can promote free offers. We actually have two out of seven days where you are encouraged and asked to promote into that space.
The thing I find a little troubling which can make you look quite spammy without you even realising, is that on the other five days of the week, a lot of people try to weave a little bit of a sneaky thinly veiled promo for their services right into the theme for the day. They might say something like “I’m giving myself a shout out because I’m such a good coach,” or whatever it might be.
If you do that too much in these spaces, you need to be mindful of how that makes you seem spammy in the space, right?
But it’s really easy for people in those Facebook communities to tell when you’re trying to use a selfie post to also sneakily talk about your webinar that’s happening next week, or when you’re trying to use a genius tip post to also sneakily tell people about your book coming out soon.
Honestly, people have really switched on to notice these types of things. And you might think you’re fooling people or tricking the admins and sneaking around the rules of that community. But ultimately, the person you’re doing the biggest disservice to is yourself.
You’re also doing a big disservice to your potential clients, because you’re likely turning them off. Instead, I would suggest that when you are in those groups, make sure you have a really good balance. People want to connect with other human beings. That’s why they are in those groups.
If you’re only there showing up as the perfectly polished person who is constantly trying to mention creating their own healing modality or that they got a $10,000 client or had a $50,000 day, (just hoping to plant a seed for people to be keen on your offer next offer day), then chances are, you’re actually missing the whole point of being in that community. You may actually be turning a lot of good quality leads away.
The third space I want to talk about on social media is private messaging.
Here is my hard and fast rule: If you don’t have explicit permission to send someone a private message, don’t send one. That’s as simple as it gets.
I would have I would say there are about 200 to 300 people in my close circle of entrepreneurs I hang out with who would be totally happy to receive a private message from me.
In 99% of those cases, I wouldn’t be sending them a promo anyway. But I may reach out to those people and say, hey, I’ve got a new boot camp and I think you said something about wanting to do it. Message me to send you the details. So I might private message someone who I knew was interested in my stuff and didn’t have explicit permission to private message, but have a really strong relationship with.
If I don’t know that person, have never met them in real life, or don’t have a strong connection with that person, I would not be private messaging that person with a promo!
This is a really common misconception about social media. Unfortunately it’s a commonly taught, but very dodgy strategy – to befriend as many people as you can on social media. Ugh!
It goes something like this: Start a private message conversation with them not about your products and services, but then try and move the conversation towards your products and services over a period of time.
Honestly, it’s really freaking hard work and most people see through what you’re doing anyway. AND it’s not a smart marketing approach, because you’re starting a relationship with someone based on deception. It’s not fun.
So when it comes to private messaging, I recommend you ask for exclusive permission first. For example, if someone comments on a Facebook post that you’ve done, and they say, oh, wow, that sounds really interesting, I’d love to hear more about that. Then say to them, Oh, wonderful, is it okay if I send you a private message with more info. ASK THEM – it’s totally beautiful for you to do that permission sequence and ask for the permission first.
Now, I want to give you an offline equivalent of what this would be like in terms of how to navigate it because sometimes, online etiquette is really hard because we’re not used to it.
If we think about it in an offline way, we know how to navigate that kind of social setting. Think about yourself going to a networking event, right? Let’s say Facebook is a giant networking event.
You wouldn’t walk into the room and start pulling people aside one by one by saying, Hey did you know I do life coaching and am qualified at the fourth level and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, and my packages start from 295, right? You wouldn’t start a conversation like that with people in real life.
If you went to a networking event, you wouldn’t immediately go and take the microphone off the person running the event to say, “Excuse me, everyone, I just need you all to know I provide VIP health coaching services to help people with overcoming diabetes,” and then every five minutes grab that microphone again to say, “By the way, I just want to remind you in case new people have arrived, I help people with diabetes.”
You don’t want to be that person, right??!
So think of social media as a giant networking event and ask yourself – Is it your space? Are you running that event? If you are, you’re on your own Facebook business page, and that’s your stage, so you get to promote yourself as much as you like.
But at someone else’s networking event, i.e. in a Facebook group, it’s not your stage to take over all of the time. Just behave appropriately as though you were in a networking group that was someone else’s event.
I know that a lot of coaches teach much more aggressive strategies. But I must tell you, after seven years of running my business online, mostly through Facebook, I’ve been very successful, and have grown my business phenomenally without ever needing to be a spammer in the Facebook space.
2. Be mindful of the balance.
You might think about the ratio of giving versus asking in your social media strategy. If on your social media platforms, you are there thinking, “What can I get? What sales can I make? How much money could I make today? How can I make more money?” – Chances are, you’re not going to have that really beautiful balance.
We want to have a balance of showing up and serving and then also asking. It’s the giving and the asking.
When I’m on social media, 80% of the time I’m there to give – doing Facebook Live sharing tips, creating trainings or promos or genius tips or whatever it might be. I’m there, just giving. Helping people with how to create their promo. I might be recommending ways for people to do messaging, or get more followers, or promote themselves.
Whether I’m giving tips and advice, giving space for other people to promote themselves, giving cheer and support, or answering people’s questions, 80% of my time on social media is truly social and in the space of giving. The other 20% of my time on social media is my “ask,” so that might be inviting people to come to my webinar, telling people about my new VIP package, or letting people know about my TakeOff program.
So I have this beautiful balance of 80% giving and 20% asking. Now I’m not saying 80/20 is the perfect balance for everyone. Everyone is unique.
I know some people who are really successful with a 50/50 approach, and some people who are really successful with a 95/5 approach so it’s totally about what feels comfortable for you.
For most women, they are more on the side of giving too much and asking too little. So just be mindful of that. Maybe just push yourself to be a little bit more open about how people can work with you. Be mindful of that balance.
When it comes to being mindful of balance, another thing I would suggest is being in fewer spaces.
Many people get out of balance with giving and asking because they’re trying to spread themselves too thin over social media. They’ve got TikTok, they’ve got Instagram, they’ve got a Facebook page, and they’re in 15 different Facebook groups where they’re trying to show up every single day.
When you’re trying to be in all those spaces at once, the entrepreneurial brain will default to trying to make sales in a rush all the time.
If you find yourself on social media feeling rushed all of the time, and you’re in too many spaces, that is something which can inadvertently tip your balance to be always spamming and asking and never really being truly present giving in that space.
So if you find yourself in that situation, I would recommend thinking about what spaces you can cut out. Can you just be in three Facebook groups? Can you just focus on Facebook and one other social media channel for now? You don’t need to be nailing it in every single space all at once!
In most cases, trying to spread yourself too thin means you nail it nowhere. Be mindful of that balance between giving and asking and maybe just being fewer spaces as well. Instead, show up more fully in the ones that you choose.
3. Be mindful of value.
Think about why other people are actually there in that space.
Most people on social media are there for social things. They are there because they want to see funny cat videos, or keep up to date with what their friends are up to.
Other entrepreneurs are there because they want to be growing their business and being present with their audiences. So don’t just think about why you are in this space. Think about why other people are in that space.
When it comes to your Facebook page or your Instagram – ask yourself: Why are people following you? Are they really following you because they want to be first to know about every single product or service that you’ve got to offer? Or are they following you because they want to get some value or some advice? Maybe they want to be inspired. They want to get to know you as a human being. Consider why people are following you in that space.
Think about Facebook groups. Why are people in those Facebook groups? We don’t turn on the TV just to watch the ads, right? The ads are a necessary price we pay for the quality TV programming that we get to watch (and I say that a little jokingly because I don’t really love commercial TV, but you get the picture, right?)
Most people aren’t going into Facebook groups to see what they can buy. Most people are in those spaces to connect with other people, get some support, see what they can sell, and who they can bring into their own audience.
And the beautiful thing is, we can each get all of our needs met if we are mindful of why everyone else is there. As long as we’re not just focusing on our own selfish desire to go in and just spend 10 minutes to get some sales, get some money, withdraw it from the Facebook bank, and then get on with our lives.
So have a think about why other people are there, what value they’re looking for from their experience, and how you can add to that experience for them.
I know for myself when I’m in Facebook communities, I’m not just there to sell. Sure, I love growing my audience and growing my business, but I’m also there to be supported as a human being, and to feel like I’m not alone in this thing. And I’m also there to feel like I can help and support other people.
We’re all in this together. A rising tide lifts all ships.
I want to find some really light-hearted, like-minded women and take me with them, right? So there are some people who are way better at this stuff than me and there are some people who I’m way better at that stuff than them. And I feel like if we all just work together, we’re all going to be way more successful.
When I go into spaces in which I’m not able to show up as that whole version of myself, and I’m just constantly being bombarded with a bunch of spam, and people there are asking questions but don’t actually care about the answer, they only care about the number of replies they get to grow their algorithm to get better rates to make more sales – I have to tell you, I don’t get value out of that space when I hang out there much. And I don’t hang out there as often.
We are responsible as the members of social media, as the members of those Facebook groups, as the people who are in that space – we are responsible for creating the culture, the environment and the value proposition that we also want to experience.
So just think about that and be mindful of that and think about how you might be able to nurture a more connecting experience for people – something that people are going to enjoy way more.
One thing I know 100% for sure is that the more people getting cheered on in social media, getting supportive comments, being asked really meaningful questions, and being told they’re doing amazing work, the more often they show up every single day.
If I can be more of a cheering person on social media, I am going to be more of that cheering person, because I know that those people are going to come back next the next day. They will keep coming back for weeks and weeks, and we will grow to be a really beautiful community of women who love each other, support each other and we all succeed together.
I’m not just on social media for what I want to say. I’m also there to listen, to witness other people, and to support other people as well. I may do that with encouraging words, by buying their products and services, following their Facebook page, signing up for their mailing list, or coming to their webinar.
I try and do as much of that as I can because I know it creates the kind of space I want to be in.
In most cases, if you’re conscious of wanting to NOT be a spammer, then in most cases you’re likely to not be too spammy. If you’re thinking about this and worrying about being too spammy, in most cases, you’re not.
Usually it’s not the people who worry about it! It’s those who are like, okay, I just need to get in, get out, get my spam done. So I just want to reassure you, that if you have been listening along to this, and you’re like, “Oh, I still don’t know how much is too much. I think I better tone it down. I don’t want to promote my business anymore,” please don’t make that your takeaway from this podcast.
As long as you’re mindful of the space, mindful of the balance and mindful of the value of why people are there, then 99.9% of the time, you are totally fine. And in most cases, I need to encourage women to promote their products and services more often, rather than less.
If you are still new to navigating online spaces and promoting your business on social media, and particularly being part of groups, I have a really great resource for you, and it’s a free course. It’s got four modules, and is really simple, but it’s really powerful.
It’s called Heart Centred Group Strategy.
Head on over to the show notes at tashcorbin.com/211, and you’ll be able to find the link to the Heart Centred Group Strategy training.
I would highly recommend that you check it out because it gives you some really great strategies on how to maximize the return on investment for your time in being involved in Facebook communities, and also how to understand some of the finer points of etiquette so that you are not showing up as a spammer.
You’ll be less likely to have your posts deleted or have admins kick you out of spaces and those sorts of things. So if you’re worried about it, make sure you go and check out the Heart Centred Group Strategy training because it is really helpful, very practical, and goes into a lot of those finer details.
As always, I’d love to know if you’ve got any questions? Have you had any lightbulb moments? Come on over to the Heart-Centred Soul Driven Entrepreneurs Facebook Community, use the #podcastaha and let me know you’ve been listening to episode 211.
Until next time, beautiful entrepreneur, I cannot wait to see you shine. Big Love from me and I’ll see you over on socials. Bye for now!