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Warm Spam: The Worst Social Media Recipe, Ever.

Delicious warm SpamBack in the old days of the Internet/Email, it was a happy place (we’ll call this time period B.S. “Before Spam”). In the BS years the Internet was pure information and email was a way to communicate useful information and conversation. Every time an email came in, it was like a little butterfly of excitement flew into your computer, knowing it was containing an ingredient of awesome. Then something changed. Email started getting UnAwesome.

Cold-callers, Cold-knockers (those that went door-to-door) and Car-smackers (placing flyers on your windshield) realizing that their methods of sales assault worked less and less, had found a place that they no longer even had to lift a finger to push their useless wares on the public. “Now we can email our crap!” and proceeded to group-high five (which is now evolved to awkward fist-bumping).

The holders of the inboxes started to get angry and classified anything they didn’t ask for as Unsolicited Commercial Email (UCE), or SPAM for short? Laws were passed, ISP’s set up block lists and the word was spread “People don’t like spam. Stop it.”

If you are accused of being a spammer, it’s the biggest shame there is in business.

Now there is a bigger problem. Warm-Spam. Social Spam. Friendly Unsolicited Commercial Contact (FUCC). It’s the practice of spamming your social media contacts and it needs to stop.

Think about it, someone finally accepts you as a contact on LinkedIn, follows you on Twitter, friends you on Facebook and apparently that is yiddish for “SELL SELL SELL!!” to some.

It’s actually worse than old-school spam. With a faceless spammer, we can delete/block and think evil thoughts about them, but with social spam, you sometimes know the person in real life, so removing/blocking them can cause more awkwardness then seeing Uncle Louis at Christmas dinner after he poked you on Facebook.

Some common Warm Spam techniques:

1. Real Event invites – Inviting your entire friend list to an event, regardless of geographic/demographic make-up. (more on this practice in a previous post)

2. Fake Event Invites – An event made for a non-event. It could be your “website launch party” or “Vote for me because my self-esteem is based on artificial online popularity campaigns”. It’s not even the issue of the “event” itself, but the relentless inviting and messaging people who haven’t “RSVP’d” for an event that doesn’t exist that make people stabby.

3. LinkedIn Emails that show everyone’s email address. Nothing like you emailing everyone about your upcoming paralegal training seminar through LinkedIn, which exposed our private email addresses to each other! Yes, this just happened.

4. Tagging – Mostly on Facebook, but now creeping into Google+, it’s the practice of tagging someone in a pic/post for the sole purpose to make them read it and have it appear on their timeline.

5. Auto-DM – Tweeting someone about your Facebook fanpage as soon as they follow you on Twitter is like shaking someone’s hand at a networking event and then asking if they want to go to another event down the street.

6. Publicly Shaming – Asking someone to support a cause publicly by adding their Twitter name is like asking me to support your charity at an event with other people standing around. Ask privately or post a general support message. Don’t shame people.

7. Fan page requests – Inviting people to “fan” your business by sending a request hurts my brain. Add it to your blog, put it in the signature in your email, but going out and picking people to be fans is just awkward.

8. Farms Run By Mafia Ville – I know you want more coins/land/bullets are whatever they’re offering you to invite “your friends” to play a game of Farmville/MafiaWars/TheSims but stop it. While you’re tending to your farm, we talk about you behind your virtual back. (Thanks to Amanda Wood for the reminder on this one!)

Relax your pitchforks, “real” business people, I’m not saying never sell. I’m not even suggesting social media is a sacred ground, never to be sold on. It’s the method. Your wall on Facebook is yours, do as you please. You want to tweet about your upcoming teleclass? Knock yourself out. You lease that space. However, as soon as you add my @UnMarketing to the tweet or tag someone on a page, well, now you’ve FUCC’ed it. Especially if that action also generates an email to that person, now you’ve spammed their email with the notification. Double FUCC’ed.

Your wall, your profile is your real-estate. Post as many promos as you want. But you soon realize that nobody is sharing/liking/clicking/retweeting them. Now, a logical person would realize “Hey, maybe people aren’t engaging with my ads because they don’t really like ads in a social setting.” But sadly, most react “People aren’t clicking because they missed it!! I’ll just post this on their page too!!”

Nobody has joined a social media site to get sold to, but people do actually buy from people they know, like and trust, things that are created by being social with others. See that equation. Be nice, be helpful and don’t FUCC people, and social media can be the greatest thing in the world.

Have you had a friend send constant Warm-Spam? What did you do? Leave a comment below!