So, what exactly is Spam? It’s a question that pulls up approximately 531 million Google search results. But beyond that, your guess is as good as mine. Social media spam I do know a thing or two about. And, thanks to a new infographic posted last week on Social News Daily, social media spam can now be pretty well qualified and quantified, according to major social networks’ own stated policies…
For most social media users, the information presented in this “Is-It or Isn’t-It spam?” chart is common sense. Spend some time on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc., and you’ll pick up on what is and isn’t kosher (no Spam pun intended) pretty quickly. However, recognizing your own content as spam – and avoiding publishing spam – is another ballgame.
Have You Been Guilty of Social Media Spam?
Let’s be honest. We’ve all had crazy busy weeks, vacation weeks, and other distractions that prevent us from creating quality content. So, what do we do? Usually, one of three things:
- Go silent, and publish nothing.
- Recycle the old stuff.
- Put out cheap, easy, spammy content.
What is cheap, easy, spammy content? Well, you know it when you see it. Common examples may include:
- Tweeting your product page over and over.
- Doing THIS. (SpaghettiOs’ ill-conceived Pearl Harbor Tweet)
- Asking for RT’s and follows – all the time.
- Commenting on blogs and adding friends with the exclusive intention of getting your content in front of their eyes.
- Using irrelevant hashtags.
- And, as Melonie Dodaro sharply reminds us: being too promotional.
Being “spammy” boils down to: Creating content or traffic that does not inform, enrich, or entertain the user. Have a definition of your own? I’d love to see it in the comments below.
7 Steps to Creating Quality Content
Ok, so no one wants to be labeled a spammer, but how do you create quality content? Here’s my basic outline:
- Determine whom it is you’re addressing. You can’t create quality content without a clear audience in mind.
- Next, take your mind off of yourself for a minute. What is your audience interested in? What are their problems? Their pain points?
- Thirdly, how can you meet those pain points, and what’s the best platform to use in meeting those needs?
At this point, you can start creating content. However, keep these four questions in mind throughout the creation process:
- Why should these people listen to me? Is it because you have something unique to offer? Is it because of your past experience/successes? Think through this question and find a way to answer it through your content.
- What do I want this content to do? Are you trying to be entertaining? Are you pushing a sale? Are you building a relationship?
- What do I want the user to do? Do you want them to share? To buy right now? To join a mailing list and buy later?
- How can I make this engaging and worth the user’s time? It’s a shame when a great piece of content lacks a CTA. All that work… and for what? Always ask your user to do something (implicitly or explicitly) – whether that’s to come back and read a post next week or download your new app. Great content has the right to make a request!
So, Are You Spamming Or Creating Quality Content?
It’s a tough question. And, as I’ve said, many of us are guilty of throwing out the occasional spam as a result of busyness, laziness, or both. Take a look at your most recent content, and think honestly about what it reflects. I’d love to hear the result of your self-evaluation in the comments below!