social media spam

Spammers who once reserved their messages for email inboxes and IM conversations has made their way to social media, and they haven’t wasted any time. Social media spam increased 355 percent in the first six months of 2013, according to the Nexgate State of Social Media Spam Report released in September.

Nexgate conducted this study from 2011 to 2013 and studied 25 million social media accounts and 60 million pieces of unique content.

The report stated roughly one in 200 social media posts are spam. On Facebook and YouTube, however, the spam ratio is 100 to one. It’s estimated that 4 percent of Facebook posts are spam, compared to just 1.5 percent of Tweets.

What’s the Deal?
There are several contributors to increased social spam, mainly the large potential audience. Facebook alone has more than one billion users around the world. In the business of spam, it pays to be where the people are, especially in an environment where they don’t expect spam to pop up.

It is also more difficult to detect spam on social media. Short links like bit.ly make it impossible to determine what you’re actually clicking on, and some links can be hidden in buttons or images. To make it worse, about 85 percent of spam links aren’t detected by security systems.

Spam Comes in Many Forms
Everyone is accustomed to traditional spam – over-the-top offers and links that lead to seedy sites. Social media spam, however, has introduced a whole other beast.

This is most apparent in the New York Comic Con Twitter scandal. Those who attended Comic Con in October were surprised to find tweets from their accounts praising the convention – tweets they obviously hadn’t written.

Comic Con attributed this act of spam to an opt-in convention goers signed up for when they pre-registered. This is spam for a couple of reasons: it promised users one thing but provided another, and it posted on their social media profile without their permission.

How Does it Effect Content Marketers?
Social media users have become more wary of clicking on links, especially if they have sensational claims like “Make $400,000 a year working from home!” This means content marketers must work even harder to write social media posts that intrigue their followers enough to click through.

To avoid being categorized as spam, post quality content consistently (free of over-the-top or pushy calls to action) and engage with your followers. Like their posts, retweet them, just make it known that there’s an actual person running your account.