The Thin Line Between Social Media Marketing and Spam

You can share. You can publish. You can broadcast. You can spam.

Today, communication is more accessible than ever before. Anyone with an internet connection can email or Tweet.

With more people publishing and more competition for our attention, free and easy-to-use communication channels lead to spam. Even well-intentioned individuals, marketers and publishers can fall into the spam trap.

Twitter Mention Spam

You have probably seen the spam on Twitter promoting iPhones, gift cards and similar. It’s easy to dismiss these poorly written tweets from accounts that will likely soon be removed.

However, when someone replies to you on Twitter, says “must read, check it out” and the topic is clearly the kind of thing you read and share, you expect it to be a genuine recommendation.

Enter the opportunity for spam.

In this case, a Twitter search showed there were 44 Tweets of an advertising agency’s post in the prior week. 43 of them were copy-paste replies from the same employee of the agency (a “strategist” no less!) sent to 43 people.

One presumably well-intentioned individual spammed influential individuals and organizations in B2B marketing, from BtoB Magazine (@btobmagazine) to Jonathon Block (@jblock) to Steve Farnsworth (@steveology). Some of them multiple times!


Are you engaged in social media enough to recognize spam when you see it? If not, how do you know you are not spamming?

As Jay Baer (@jaybaer) says, “if you don’t love social media, you probably suck at social media.” Social media today requires a commitment of time and energy not only to social media activity, but to understanding it.

If you don’t make an investment in understanding social media today, the ease of social media may turn you into a spammer before you realize it.

Your Turn

How do you respond to spam from marketers and individuals that may be spamming without realizing it?

Share your perspective in the comments below or by spamming mentioning me on Twitter (@wittlake).

Image Credit: SPAM Shrine by arnold | inuyaki on Flickr

Get every post delivered directly to your inbox.

Your email address will not be shared or sold. I hate spam too.

  • Jason

    First of all, I love spam. Visiting Hawaii I ordered it for breakfast several times. I grew up eating it…it’s an acquired taste. 🙂

    Spam, the bad kind, is definitely everywhere, and it’s not going anywhere. I usually just ignore it. I don’t respond, I don’t talk about it. I may go as far as to block the sender/tweeter but that’s about it. It’s really not worth my time, even if I think the spammer doesn’t know their spamming. Unfortunately I’m so accustomed to getting spam, in all communication channels, that it flies under the radar until someone like yourself brings it to the table to discuss.

    This does beg the question though…”Is it really possible for someone to NOT know their spamming?” I mean we’ve been inundated with spam, via email, for years. For years it was a huge issue. Everyone knows what spam is. So do you really think someone who messages 43 people the same message doesn’t know they’re spamming?

    BTW, I’ve had that same kind of spam tweet sent to me. I didn’t recognize the person/profile sending it to me so I went to their Twitter home page and saw the same tweet being sent to many. I remember thinking “What the heck? They really have the guts to do that? Don’t they know that all these tweets are public?”

    • Agree. And yet it happens from accounts that are long-standing, active and have decent followers and engagement. I’m still shaking my head at this one, but I guess given the opportunity, someone will take it.

      Thanks for the comment and good to meet someone that likes SPAM!

  • Pingback: The Thin Line Between Social Media Marketing and Spam |

  • Pingback: The Thin Line Between Social Media Marketing and Spam | Second Income Education()

  • Pingback: 10 New Social Media Blogs to Follow in 2013()

  • Pingback: Social Media Hater - Pousta()

  • Thanks Eric – I figured out the problem I was having. I’ll drop you a note as soon as I get a chance.

  • Pingback: Taking the game off the field – khenard()

  • Pingback: Digital Advertising – Yuwen’s blog()