Spam – once the processed meat-in-a-tin, popular in the 1970s – has evolved into a nuisance sales ploy. My recollection of the jellified meat is that it tasted utterly vile – and the new spam also leaves a nasty taste in the mouth. It’s more than filling someone’s inbox with spam emails. Plenty of people do it on social media too. Some know they’re doing it and don’t care. They’re not likely to get many clients via social media, but maybe that doesn’t bother them. However, others are spamming without being aware of it. Are you one of them? Are you spamming on social media without realising it’s putting off potential customers?
First, it’s probably helpful to define what spamming on social media actually means. Spam is any unwanted, unsolicited digital communication sent out in bulk. The recipient has not requested the information but receives it anyway. And, while it is often in email format, it happens on social media too.
Social spam is when the sender/poster pushes out a stream of promotional material. Sometimes it is a barrage, sometimes not. But it’s always commercial. It’s being pushy about selling your services or products without the recipient having a relationship with you. They may not even know who you are.
Spamming on social media can come in all sorts of forms – it doesn’t always look the same. For example, some business owners use bots to message people automatically when they follow the account. Or perhaps they will message followers to sell a service, without an invitation to do so. In both cases, the messages are unsolicited and almost certainly unwelcome.
What does spam look like?
It might be spamming people in groups. For example, if you joined a Facebook group and only posted links to your own website? That would be considered spamming.
Groups are about community and adding value to members who have a shared interest. So it is spamming when someone joins the group, avoids contributing to discussions and instead chooses to promote their own business. They are making their intentions clear – that they are there to sell, not add value. Most groups have anti-spam rules so those people run the risk of being turfed out of the group.
This makes it sound like all those who are spamming are fully aware of what they’re doing. But, as I said earlier, it is not always done on purpose; sometimes, it happens by accident. And there are coaches and counsellors out there who are spamming without realising it.
Their intentions are not bad – actually, they’re probably good. But they’re going about social media in the wrong way. Social Media Today explains how it’s possible to be a social spammer without knowing it. And this blog post tells you why it will sabotage your ability to attract new clients.
The problem is this. The coach has a service that has the potential to make a big difference to their prospective clients. In fact, it would significantly improve the lives of people. And they want to share that good news on social media so as many people as possible get to hear about it. The trouble is, that’s all they share. And it comes across as spammy.
Accidental spamming on social media
Even if you have a service that you think will be helpful to people, nobody will buy it if you spam them. Bombarding people with unwanted and unsolicited information often results in an unintended and undesirable outcome. It comes across as self-obsessed, overly promotional and off-putting.
Spamming on social media is a trait often seen in new business owners. Yet it is a business killer, as this explains. It has all sorts of negative consequences when you’re spammy, regardless of whether or not you intend to be.
The first is that you will get a bad reputation. A barrage of posts to promote your business is annoying for people to see. People might block you or report you to the social network or group admins. They may decide to unfollow you. At best, they choose to ignore you.
In some ways, it’s the last one that you need to be most worried about. Whilst nobody wants to be blocked or reported, you usually have to really overstep the line for that to happen. You can be ignored for years and not realise it. People disengage. You’ve lost them.
So, what should you do instead? Think more about how you might be perceived. You may think your services should be a top priority for people to buy because of the impact they’ll have. But others might see that as pushy. They might misinterpret your enthusiasm for spam. That’s a worry for any small business, but it’s especially problematic for coaches and counsellors where the focus should be on the client.
Instead, demonstrate value. Build trust.
Don’t stop posting about your services. Those posts still have a place and are important. But think about other content that is interesting to your clients-to-be and share that too.
For example, you offer a service that helps those who have been made redundant. Your service is about boosting their self-confidence, which may have taken a knock, and it’s getting them interview-ready. Your service has the power to transform lives for people at a time when they feel low and disempowered.
But instead of only posting about the service, share other articles too. Show the value you offer in your curated content. By which I mean, put up third-party content that will mean something and is relevant to them right now. Perhaps that’s an article from Mindful about how breathing techniques can help calm interview jitters. Or it might be a piece on how challenging events can prompt personal growth in a way that wouldn’t happen otherwise. If you are tight on time to find that sort of content, Sixty Second Social can do it for you.
Also, remember to dip in and out of the social media networks you are using. Engage with people, chat with them and share their content too. Be open and approachable, just as you would be in real life.
In short, put the client-to-be at the centre of it all. That way, you will build a positive brand that prompts goodwill and trust. As a result, people will be much more likely to learn more about your services and invest in them. And there will be not even the faintest whiff of jellified meat-in-a-tin, and your business will be all the better for it.
Main image by clker-free-vector-images from pixabay.com
Need more help with your social media? Take a look at Sixty Second Social
Sixty Second Social is tailor-made for coaches, counsellors, psychotherapists, and anyone working in the mental health sphere. It provides you with fresh content, curated from around the globe, each month. For £27 per month, you get 35 links to relevant articles, together with the ready-written posts. All you have to do is upload it. In under 30 minutes each month – or 60 seconds a day, hence the name – you’ll schedule content on your social media accounts for the month ahead. Or, if you prefer, I can do it for you, saving you even more time.