Written by Tarla Makaeff
People have certain ideas on what spam is, but I think that there's a lot more to spam than people take into consideration. And it's really important to be aware of this when you're communicating with people and you have an online business. Here are some social media best practices for female creative entrepreneurs.
Are you unintentionally spamming people?
First, are you inboxing people you don't know, barely saying hi, and already jumping right into selling them your product or service? You can't do that. When that happens to me, I actually block the people and usually don't respond. Very rarely, if I feel bad for the person or they seem nice, I'll respond and try to educate them and let them know that's not the right thing to do because they probably don't know any better. That's considered cold messaging. If you contact somebody you don't know, and you kind of ease into a conversation versus barely say hi, that's one thing. But if you're just inboxing people and going straight for the sale, that's not the way to go.
The next thing you don't want to do is inbox people you know with really pushy messages. So maybe you're repetitively checking in with family and friends and even asking them to buy from you. In my personal experience, all of my sales have been online through social media. In fact, it's very rare that the people you know actually buy from you. It would make it a lot easier for us if they did, but it doesn't really work that way. And that's actually not a real business. In a real business, strangers buy from you. So even if you know people, your messages can be spammy if you're constantly being very pushy about it saying, "hey, you know, I have this business. I'd like you to check it out." Don't do that. If they're interested in supporting you, they'll let you know.
Another thing you must not do is automatically adding people to your Facebook group without their permission. I think that's a form of spam. Fortunately, FB removed this ability in 2019, however people still do this with group chats. Suddenly you're in a group chat in Messenger or your IG DM's without warning and you're like wtf... what's happening? You don't even know what the chat's about, and you don't know the person well or at all. No one invited you, and then it's awkward to leave - plus it looks really bad for whoever set up the chat when there's the constant message "Sandra Smith left the group" and more and more people start leaving in droves. If you want to have a group chat to promote your business, I wouldn't recommend it. But if you really want to do it, at the very least send the person a message and say, "hey, I have this group chat for ways I can help you xyz (ie - get flawless skin, style your wardrobe, start an online business etc...), would you be interested in being a part of it? Sometimes, I share live videos or do giveaways." You can incentivize them this way to join, but you also don't just want people in a chat looking for freebies so be careful with this approach.
Just extend consideration with these groups because otherwise it's like throwing someone in a party without an invitation. It's really, really strange. I don't even know what to compare it to. Whenever that happens, I immediately take myself out of the group chat, and it's happened that people put me back in the chat a second time! I take myself out of the chat again, and I block them because they really should just know out of common sense that is not right to do. But truly, if you're even thinking about this and wanting to communicate with a group of people at once, my best advice is to instead set up an email list that you own.
This is another one I totally can't stand. It's the reverse pitch. Someone creates a post saying to comment and share more about your business. It could be on Facebook. It could be on Instagram. So you mention what you do as you're invited to. After, they inbox you, feigning interest. So you say "hey, what would you like to know about my business?" then they pitch you their product. To me, that's spamming. It's a very tricky way of getting someone to check out at your business. And it's so not cool. This happens in FB groups too. These people jump on other other's posts and start posting about their business. That's spam. They need to make their own posts. Don't trick someone into messaging you and then turn the tables on them because they're never going to want to do business with you. What do I do again when this happens? I just block the people because it's just like come on, they should know better than this.
The other thing you should not do is constantly post about your business on your page. This is something I did in the beginning being actually taught to do it (super scary, I know), but I didn't know any better. You shouldn't be plastering your business all over your page. This screams online newbie. There are different schools of thought on this, but essentially if you're posting on your business at all, it should be every fifth post (following the 80% value, 20% promotion rule), and it shouldn't be a hard sell.
Basically, you shouldn't be posting your link all over the place. It's just too much, and your page is going to look like an infomercial. People are going to feel like you're spamming them. And then on top of it, it's like the people who have chosen to be friends on your page are a captive audience. And that's exactly how they're going to feel. They're going to feel captive... like you've trapped them into looking at your business. They're going to get sick of you and eventually block you or unfriend you.
Just be aware of the actions that you're taking. Providing value to people is key, and you can't do that when you're pushing your business non-stop. The truth is anybody can get a particular product or service anywhere now. Will it be exactly like yours or better? Not necessarily so, but if they want it they can go to someone else with just a couple clicks and get something similar. The reason why they'll get the product or service from you is because they'll think you're relatable. You're a cool person in their eyes. You give them value. And then they'll think... there's something above and beyond with this person.
So just don't make any of these mistakes in terms of spamming. People don't like it. You're going to have people blocking you left and right. Just think about it - I always compare business to dating because I think it's such an easy way to understand it. Think about the guy who is constantly in your face. And he's trying to get you to go out with him and he's always pestering you. You're going to get sick of him and you're going to think... "this person is desperate, I don't want anything to do with them." Compare that to the person who kind of hangs back a little, but they're there in the background. You see them, but you don't know everything about them. Maybe they're a little mysterious. Maybe there are different things you like about them. Then you're going to be attracted to that person - which goes back to attraction marketing.
People need to know you, like you, and trust you. And they can't do any of those three things if you're spamming them. They can only do that if you're providing great content on your page, in your posts, and on your live videos. If you've not doing videos, don't be scared of them. Imagine that you're in your living room, talking to a friend. Get started because that's going to make you stand out.
Social media is already all about video as evidenced by YouTube videos, FB lives, TikTok videos, IGTV videos, IG Reels, and even Stories. And it's continuing to head more and more in that direction. There have been whispers for the last few years that some platforms will turn into all video networks. We're not totally there yet, but it's the reason why so much attention is given to these videos in the Facebook and Instagram algorithms. They're rated very high because the platforms are continuing to move toward more and more video. So if you're not doing live videos now, you're going to be behind everybody else. Don't let them scare you. If you mess up, know I do all the time too, but it's actually a good thing with free content. It shows people you're human just like them. They don't want someone who's Miss Perfect. They're just going to think that's annoying because no one's perfect.
So what is the best way to market yourself on social media? Show up on video, be authentic, create real conversations, and you will see your online business grow.
Want all the secrets on how to sell on social media while creating an asset that you own - your email list? They're all here for the taking.
Has someone spammed you, and how did it make you feel?
Tarla Makaeff is a self-made entrepreneur, online business coach, digital course creator, and the copy queen. She helps creative, heart-centered female entrepreneurs start and grow their purpose-filled business online.