Social network spam

I’ve been seeing more and more social network spam recently, mostly on twitter. In some ways it’s even more annoying than email spam. Here I am, happily having a conversation with a friend and then some spammer sticks their nose in and tweets “myproduct will solve your problem!”
It’s happened twice in the last week.
In most recent example, I was asking my twitter network for some advice on pasta making. I’ve made pasta a few times, but it’s never been exactly right. Not having an Italian grandmother to ask, I was looking for someone with experience in pasta making to answer a few questions. I was having an ongoing conversation with a friend who was helping me troubleshoot my problems. He gave me his recipe to try to see if that would work better.  I thanked him profusely and replied that I would give it a try but probably not tomorrow because it was accounting day and those tend to run late. Someone replied to that tweet suggesting I try some random accounting software to make my accounting easier.
Just… No.
Interjecting product ads in a conversation may be the “acceptable” and “best practice” way to market through social networking. But, I can promise that you’re no better the guy who interrupts conversations at parties so he can hand out business cards for his affiliate program selling herbal male enhancement drugs.
Don’t be That Guy.
Update: Today’s twitter spam was from one of the email accreditation services attempting to sell me their email delivery services.


  1. Al Iverson says

    Is this specific only to austinpreneurs, or does it apply equally well to others?

  2. Jeff Rutherford says

    Wow, that’s so wrong Laura. I was sure you were leading up to being spammed by some pasta maker. But, to get spam because you randomly mentioned the word accounting – definitely wrong.
    I am curious though where you draw the line on that. Hypothetically, what if some foodie PR person was doing PR for a book about pasta making, and he/she added some cogent thoughts to your discussion, and then sent a link to the book with a, “if you’re interested, you might want to check out this book on pasta making.” Would you feel that that was the same level of spam?
    Obviously, marketers are jumping on the Twitter bandwagon in droves. It will be interesting to watch the painful mistakes as we move forward.

    1. laura says

      Well, there’s clearly a line. I think, generally, you need to add something other than advertising to the conversation.
      I think Return Path is a good example of how to use Twitter as a marketing channel. They have various employees there, as well as a corporate account. Their individual employees tweet relevant and useful things. Their corporate account tweets information about delivery and points to blog posts published on lots of blogs. Sure, they tweet their own posts, but they also tweet posts from a lot of other blogs. They add useful information to a discussion. They contribute more than “buy our services!” While writing this I saw a new tweet up from StephanieSAM talking about working with various EEC members on a call today and another pointing out a useful case study on 50% click through rates. They’re using Twitter as a way to connect with people and are giving back as much (or more) than they’re taking.
      Contrast their involvement with a different email certification company. Today, someone over there happened to notice one of my tweets mentioned delivery. They replied to the tweet offering to help me improve my email deliverability. This doesn’t add anything to the conversation, it’s not relevant (I don’t actually send email). I’ve never seen this company tweet anything relevant to delivery before, and while I knew the company existed I didn’t know they had a presence on twitter. I checked their twitter page and 80% of the tweets are replies to various twitter accounts offering to help with email deliverability. Many of the remaining tweets are announcing their own blog posts. They’re using twitter solely as a way to generate business and are not contributing anything of value.

  3. Dave Smith says

    Boil water, Empty contents of box into said water, Wait 8-10 minutes, Serve.
    (Still lovin’ your blog!)

  4. Jeff Rutherford says

    Laura, I loved your line – you need to add something other than advertising to the conversation.
    That quote should be hanging over the desk of any marketing/PR person who is using Twitter.

  5. Matt V - @emailkarma says

    I wonder how much of this is just auto-posting bots that scan for keywords and then send a caned reply… I get these from time to time during communications like you describe – very annoying.
    I noticed you were not the only advanced level delivery/email marketing type person getting hit with the “We can help with your delivery” type replies…

    1. laura says

      I think much of it is auto posting bots. But, really, if you can’t get relevancy and engagement on Twitter right, then why am I going to trust you to give me good advice on relevancy and engagement in email? Twitter is a whole lot easier.

  6. laura says

    Boil water, Empty contents of box into said water, Wait 8-10 minutes, Serve.
    This comment made me laugh out loud, Dave. Will I see you next week?

  7. Dave Smith says

    You will. Heading out with the usual cast of characters. I think I’m getting in Monday afternoon sometime. I look forward to hooking up with you guys!


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.