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You Might Be a Social Media Spammer (And Not Know It)

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If you have an amazing product or service, which has the potential to greatly improve the lives of your ideal clients, then it’s only natural that you’ll want to talk about it in your social media posts with great enthusiasm.

Every moment your ideal clients don’t have access to your product or service is another moment they unnecessarily suffer from whatever problem or challenge they have. Or perhaps they’re missing out on ways to take their lives or businesses to the next level to enjoy more success and happiness.

I get it, you’re passionate about what you do, and you want to share it with those who need it the most – but in your enthusiasm, you might accidentally be coming across as a social media spammer.

How, when, what and with whom you share on social media matters. If you don’t approach your social sharing the right way, then your messages might be perceived, and labeled as, spam, and ignored by the very people that you’re trying to help. 

In this post, I’ll share three key tips on how to conduct yourself on social media so that you don’t come across as a spammer, and are instead seen as a professional, trustworthy authority on your topic.

1. Did I make it about me?

The first question you always need to ask yourself before posting on social media or sending out a message is “Did I make it about myself or my ideal clients?”

If it isn’t about your ideal clients, do NOT hit the post button.

Your target customers generally don’t care about you or your business, but they do very much care about their own problems and/or challenges. Remember that everything they see or hear goes through their WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) filter. If they don’t care about it, they’ll see it as spam – and in business, it’s their perception of spam that matters, not yours.

Now, this doesn’t mean that you can never talk about yourself, but what it does mean is that everything you post, every message you send, must be viewed through that ‘WIIFM’ filter. Always remember your ideal clients are the stars of the show.

When you do share about yourself or your company, make it clear why your prospects should care about it and how it benefits them. For example, customers prefer to work with experts and will often pay more for their work. You can share your expertise, in order to establish your authority on your topic, and increase trust among your audience.

For example, if I wanted to share this blog post on social media, I may caption it with something like this:

“Each week I share status updates on LinkedIn that get thousands of views and hundreds of people engaging with them. In this post, I’ll show you how to get this kind of engagement, without using tactics that make you look desperate or foolish.”

As you can see, I demonstrate my expertise, while also telling my audience why it’s relevant to them, and how they will benefit from it.

While you can occasionally share information about yourself or your company, the majority of the time it needs to be about your ideal clients – their desires, hopes, fears and challenges.

When posting on social media, keep these three questions in mind:

Does this solve one key problem or challenge of my ideal clients?

If your newsfeeds are anything like mine, they are littered with noise. Do you quickly scroll past posts from people and businesses that don’t immediately catch your attention?

And what’s most likely to catch your attention? Something that directly addresses a problem or desire you have.

Where possible, ensure that you share content which solves a problem or challenge that your ideal clients face. These are tied to the fears or dreams that are top of mind for them.

When you focus the content you share on these hot topics, you’ll get more of your prospects’ time and attention, and avoid being labeled as a spammer.

Is it relevant to them specifically?

Have you ever been tagged in a post that had nothing to do with you, or anything you are even interested in? Annoying, isn’t it?

Never tag people in a post that doesn’t directly relate to them. This is, most definitely, spam.

It’s right up there with posts that have too many, or irrelevant hashtags. They provide no benefit, look spammy and make it harder for people to be interested in what it is you have to say.

Is it easily consumed by them?

If your preferred content is videos, and not blog posts, but a company you’re interested in shares only blog posts, how long will you follow it on social media?

We all have a preference for consuming content. Find out what content formats your ideal clients prefer, whether that be blog posts, videos, podcasts, infographics, etc. Then, of course, share plenty of content in those formats.

2. Did they ask for it?

How annoying do you find it when the first communication you receive from a person you’ve just followed or connected to is their sales pitch? Yet so many professionals and businesses do this.

I cannot stress enough the importance of asking permission to market. Your ideal clients will often treat anything they didn’t ask for or agree to as spam, which is why even messages with links or attachments to valuable content you send to your ideal clients could be seen as spam by them.

To avoid this, first work to establish some level of rapport with your clients. Begin by having a conversation with them, and about them. Find out what’s important to them, and identify any commonalities you share.

Once you’ve built some rapport, you can ask them for permission to share a helpful piece of content with them.

When querying them on this, make sure you also share some interesting facts, stats or quotes from the content that you think they’ll find particularly compelling. Then you can ask them if they’d like for you to send them the link or document.

When they say yes, you’ll know that they’re interested in your offering, and they’ll be more likely to actually consume the content, appreciating that you respected their time and attention.

Change the conversation

Essentially, you have to change your approach and mindset on social media from “What can I sell you?” to “How can I help you?”

“What can I sell you?” says:

  • I care about your money
  • What else can I sell you?
  • Thank you for your business

“How can I help you?” says:

  • I care about you and your business
  • How else can I add value?
  • Thank you for helping us do business better

Which type of conversation do you think is less likely to be perceived as spammy, and ultimately lead to more engagement and foster relationships?

3. Am I engaging in conversations?

Have you ever left a question or comment on a social media post from a business and never got any reply or acknowledgment? How did that feel?

It’s annoying when you hope to have a conversation with a person or business, and they can’t be bothered to engage with you. Think about it this way, would you ever go up to someone at a networking event and say “Hi, nice to meet you. Now buy my stuff!”?

Of course, you wouldn’t. So don’t do it on social media platforms. That is spam.

If you don’t want to be seen as a social media spammer, engage with your ideal clients when they ask questions or leave comments on your posts.

People want to be seen, they want to be acknowledged. Your response can often be as simple as clicking the like button, or leaving a quick thanks.

Instead of blasting your ideal clients with sales information, post with the intention of generating more engagement from them. If you aren’t getting engagement, you aren’t having conversations, and if you aren’t having conversations, you’re not building relationships and establishing trust. And that means you’re very likely not generating clients and sales.

Remember, people buy from people they know, like and trust.

4. Ask yourself “Would I consider this spam?”

Finally, the best way to ensure that you don’t become a social media spammer is to always ask yourself “Would I consider this spam if I received it?’

If you would personally find such annoying or irrelevant, chances are that your ideal clients will feel the same way.

By approaching social media the right way, you’ll be able to build a community comprised of your ideal clients. These clients will be interested in what you share, and will want to know more about how your solution can solve their problems or fulfill their desires.  

Ultimately, this really comes down to common sense. No doubt you use social media in your free time, so you know how you feel about the various types marketing messages you see. Consider why you follow brands on social, what you expect, or appreciate from them, and how you would like to be communicated with.

Take a step back from your own messaging, and consider how your audience is seeing your brand.  

A version of this post was first published on the Top Dog Social Media blog.

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Twitter Applies for US Licenses to Facilitate In-App Payments

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Twitter Applies for US Licenses to Facilitate In-App Payments

Twitter has taken its next steps towards facilitating payments in the app, with The Financial Times reporting that the company has begun applying for regulatory licenses in US states, the next legal requirement for providing payment services in the app.

Payments, which Elon Musk has a long history in, could be another way for Twitter to generate revenue, by enabling transactions between users, from which it would then take a small percentage. Musk has repeatedly flagged his vision for payments as part of his broader push to make Twitter into an ‘everything app’, which would provide more functionality and usage benefits.  

As reported by FT:

In November, Twitter registered with the US Treasury as a payments processor, according to a regulatory filing. It has now also begun to apply for some of the state licenses it would need in order to launch, these people said. The remainder would be filed shortly, in the hope that US licensing was completed within a year, one of the people said.”

From there, Twitter would also look to establish agreements with international regulators to enable payments in all regions.

As noted, payments are a part of Elon’s broader plans for a more functional app, which would replicate the utility of China’s WeChat, which is used by Chinese citizens for everything from ordering groceries, to buying public transport tickets, to paying bills, etc. WeChat has become such a crucial connective element, that it formed a key part of China’s COVID response, with authorities using the app as a means to manage COVID positive citizens and restrict their movement.

Musk isn’t ideally looking to use Twitter as a control device (I don’t think), but the broader concept is to add in more and more functionality, in order to both generate more income for the company, and make the app a more critical element in the interactive landscape.

Twitter’s already exploring several options on this front.

Several app researchers have uncovered mock-ups for Twitter Coins in the back-end of the app.

Via Twitter coins, users would be able to make donations to creators in the app, through on-profile tipping, but beyond that, Twitter’s also exploring options like unlockable tweets, paywalled video, and more, as it seeks to embed broader usage and adoption of in-app payments.

A big opportunity also exists to facilitate remittance, or sending money to family and friends, which is a key use case in many regions. Remittance payment services often charge processing fees, and various social apps have been trying to find new ways to facilitate such without the same costs, with the idea being that once people are moving their money in-app, they’ll then be more likely to spend it in the same place.

Thus far, social platforms that do offer payments haven’t been able to embed this as a use case – but maybe, with Musk’s experience, knowledge and connections, he might be able to make this work in tweets.

Elon, of course, got his start in payments, with his first company, an online bank called X.com, being bought out by PayPal in 1999, his first big business win. And while his focus has since shifted to electric cars and rockets, Musk has keen understanding of the digital payments space, and how it can be adapted for varied usage.

According to reports, Musk told Twitter investors in May last year, that his aim was to see Twitter bring in about $1.3 billion in payment revenues by 2028.

That would give the company a sorely needed boost. After Musk’s cost-cutting efforts, which have resulted in the reduction of around 70% of Twitter staff, the company could be on track to potentially break even this year, or close, but a lot has to go right to get the platform back on track. And with advertisers continuing to back away from Twitter spend, it’s not looking good, while subscriptions to Twitter Blue are unlikely to provide much relief, at least at this stage.

As such, the shift into payments can’t come fast enough, though it’ll still be some time before we see the possibility of in-app payments.

Also, while Musk has made it clear fiat currency will be the main focus of this push in its initial phase, cryptocurrencies could also, eventually, be included. The price of Dogecoin, Musk’s favorite crypto offering, rose to a 24-hour high after news broke of Elon’s expanded payments plan.

Will payments be the answer to Twitter’s revenue woes? Maybe, if Elon’s vision for billions in payments revenue comes to fruition – and with his previous track record, you can’t dismiss the notion entirely.

But it’ll take time, many approvals, and many more steps before we reach the next stage.

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Social Responsibility And Ethics In Influencer Marketing

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Social Responsibility And Ethics In Influencer Marketing

Chief Growth Officer (CGO) at HypeFactory, a global influencer marketing agency.

It’s no secret that influencer marketing popularity has skyrocketed over the past couple of years, and partnering with influencers isn’t a new concept. Just over the past year, the industry was valued at $16.4 billion and still keeps growing, with a whopping revenue forecast of $143.10 billion in 2030.

Since the beginning of influencer marketing, people have talked about how influencers and social responsibility fit together. It stands to reason that influential people would use their large fan bases to help others. However, when influencers and businesses collaborate, they each have specific responsibilities to the communities in which they operate.

Sponsorship Transparency And Gender Stereotypes

One of the most critical skills for an influencer is honesty. Influencers base their marketing strategy on being genuine and sharing personal tales and thoughts with their target audience. They are not celebrities living in a bubble of fame that very few of their followers will ever reach; instead, they live lifestyles that are reachable and use items that their viewers would find helpful. This approach has significantly contributed to their immense level of success.

However, many influencers don’t play by the rules, especially when it comes to impressing brands they’ve made deals with, even though transparency is essential to the sustainability of an influencer’s career. Because of this, many people would think that the most important ethical issue in influencer marketing is sponsorship disclosure.

The United States Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) in the United Kingdom have all put out rules about how influencers should be honest in their posts and about their relationships with brands. If you disobey the regulations, you risk facing penalties, fines and legal bills. You also risk losing the trust of your customers for good.

Moreover, when doing influencer marketing, it’s essential to consider gender stereotypes and how people usually think men and women will act in different situations. The Committee on Advertising Practice (CAP) has said that since June 2019, marketing materials could no longer show men and women in ways that are based on stereotypes. These rules state that ads “must not use gender stereotypes that are likely to hurt or offend a large number of people.” Great campaigns, like Nike’s “Dream Crazier,” have challenged gender preconceptions.

Improving Influencer Marketing’s Reliability And Authenticity

Authenticity is essential in influencer marketing. People listen to influencers who are honest and relatable. In addition to the moral problems I mentioned above, brands and influencers must also follow FTC rules, community guidelines and terms of service on social media platforms.

Based on my experience as a chief growth officer at a global influencer marketing agency, here are some things brands must consider for influencer partnerships that are authentic and reliable.

Outline—and stick to—the ethical principles that your brand stands for.

Before you can begin your search for the ideal influencers, you must first understand the core principles of representing your business. Most businesses start by determining their values and ethics early on. They then use these to build their brand identity. It’s up to each company’s brand to decide where they will draw the line and how they will show their core values on social media.

However, consumers place a high value on consistent honesty. Customers are likely to call out your company for being hypocritical if it says it wants to fight racism but then partners with an influencer who has a history of making small slights against people of color. Or if your company promotes equal pay yet pays female influencers less than it does male influencers, contributing to the continuation of the pay gap between male and female influencers.

As a result, you will likely lose the trust of these customers.

Collaborate with real influencers.

One of the most effective ways to stick to influencer marketing principles is by collaborating with real-life influencers. Choosing the right influencers is crucial for building consumer confidence in your product.

Determine which influencers are authentic and have credibility with your intended audience. Specifically, it would be best to look at how many people engage with their content and how good it is. Even though engagement numbers are essential, they only tell part of the story about an influencer’s reliability. Please pay close attention to their writing style, the brands they’ve worked with, the accuracy of their reviews, etc.

Develop a long-term partnership.

When you’ve found a group of genuine, influential people with whom you can collaborate successfully, it’s crucial to keep in touch with them over time. Even if they are paid to review a product, genuine influencers always give honest opinions. Because they follow all the rules, the spectator can have more faith in them.

Consequently, after a shortlist of influencers has been compiled, you should perform authenticity checks. Check their content feed for branded articles. Make sure that any disclaimers you find adhere to the first point’s disclosure guidelines. Consistently partnering with the same influencers demonstrates to customers that you value their brand’s success just as much as they do, which can increase consumer confidence in your business.

Slutsats

Authenticity serves as the cornerstone of the influencer marketing strategy. Influencers earn the trust of their followers and become successful when they always provide high-quality, authentic, relatable content.

In addition to the concerns over the morality of influencer marketing, brands and influencers must follow the criteria established by the FTC and the community guidelines and terms of service based on social media platforms. You can shield your brand from potential ethical and legal difficulties and still enjoy success with influencer marketing if you are aware of the expectations and follow certain best practices.


Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?


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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

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Key Notes on Building Your Brand via Your Social Profile Visuals [Infographic]

Looking to give your social profiles a visual refresh for the new year?

This could help – the team from Giraffe Social Media recently put together an overview of the whys and hows of building your brand via your social profile visuals.

There are some good notes here – a key consideration is consistency, which ensures that you’re building your brand with every post and update.

Check out the full infographic below.

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