Spamming — the act of sending the same message indiscriminately to (large numbers of recipients) on the Internet.
The urban dictionary defines spamming as “the act of obnoxiously doing something repeatedly for attention or in order to disturb others.” As someone else, less than eloquently put it: “posting useless crap on forums over and over”.
Other thoughts about spam include:
Unsolicited posts or emails.
Undesired electronic messages.
Electronic junk mail.
Often based on a lie, or
Tries to con you into taking an action you would not otherwise perform.
Not about Hackers
It is necessary to be very clear, this article is NOT about other people hacking your Facebook account. That is, thankfully, a rare occurrence. Flagging your post as spam is, sadly, because of an action you have taken. These are problems, you as a blogger may encounter when using Facebook to publicise your own material. Especially if you make use of automation tools.
Website “That’s Nonsense” is clear “if your Facebook account is posting spam… somewhere along the line, you’ve done something you shouldn’t have”.
Maybe you have never had posts flagged, pray that continues. But this is about being prepared should it happen.
The Challenge for the Blogger
The challenge for the blogger Is that they wish to get their message out to as wide an audience as possible and doing so at zero cost. Social media seems the ideal way to do precisely that. Yet, Facebook now checks all your messages for spam. This means they may block messages that you post repeatedly, you will see a notification like:
“We removed this post because it looks like spam and doesn’t follow our Community Standards…
We removed this post because it looks like spam to us. If you did post this and don’t believe that it’s spam, you can let us know.”
According to the Facebook Help Centre “Spam involves contacting people with unwanted content or requests”.
Are you Spamming?
Are you? Let us consider this for one moment. Your “Who should see this?” settings are normally set to either “Friends” or “Public”. You get a wider reach when set as “Public”. Additionally, those posts are searchable, sometimes they are visible in the stream of a person you are not connected to, which can be a good thing.
If you create a post with a link to one of your blog pages, is that spamming? That is an interesting question, because it is certain someone, somewhere, isn’t interested in the content you post. It is simply the natural order of things and there is nothing you can do to change that.
Facebook goes on to explain further. “This includes sending bulk messages, excessively posting links or images to people’s timelines and sending friend requests to people you don’t know personally”.
When the target readership to “Public” then all messages are surely ‘bulk’. Arguably any message that provides a link could be considered spamming. It is a fine line to tread for anyone on Facebook. I never post things in other people’s Facebook wall, the news feed is the right place to post.
To use social media as a publicity tool then it is necessary to understand how posts, particularly automated ones, can be considered spamming. Think about your actions for one moment. You are, above all, trying to entice people to go to your web site. It is true that you are not trying to con people, nor are you posting ‘useless crap’.
By definition it is spamming. Yet, think about this for one second. How many posts do you see on Facebook that you ignore? This is a large number. Mary is posting about her family holiday, Joe about his new motorbike. Perhaps a work colleague has a peculiar political opinion you dislike, but they share great insights on work problems. People have a variety of feelings and experiences to share. Some we like others we dislike. You tune out the elements you dislike and tune in to relevant material. Everyone does it. It is natural.
As a blogger you are trying to publicise your material, which has relevance to other people. Many of those will use Facebook regularly. Your actions may have some similarities to spamming, but any material you publish is not spam, even if you are posting regularly via an automation tool. Readers have a choice.
Day and Night
The reason it is not spam is that good bloggers will concentrate on publishing quality material. They will NEVER act obnoxiously. They will never deliberately post useless material with cynical disregard for their readers. Indeed bloggers should demonstrate good manners and act respectfully at all times. The difference between a blogger and spammer is as clear as the difference between day and night.
Bloggers are doing everything with the best of intentions, trying to reach a forever wider audience. Their actions are driven by the need to find one additional reader.
Of course conscientious bloggers do make mistakes. They do publish things that turn out as untrue. It is a part of being human. We err. There is no need to apologise. The difference between the blogger and the spammer is that bloggers do things with the best of intentions and get penalised because of it. The spammer finds a way to live on the edge, spamming and manipulating any system they encounter, twisting it to their advantage and unashamedly make money from it.
Facebook Regularly Sends you Spam
A massive difference exists between a blogger trying to gain readers for his site and corporate sponsored spamming. Even if their site does carry advertising, the blogger is unlikely to profit greatly from the action.
Facebook uses spamming as a technique to earn money from promoted posts. Remember those messages that say “John Smith, Max Baker and Bonny Cooke like Tablet Software”. They are promotional posts. It should also fall under one of the criteria of spamming, which is giving an impression that isn’t true.
Bonnie Cooke would never “Like” this company, because she works for a direct competitor and could lose her job if she did “Like” that company. Also Max Baker will never support any promotional page for any company, he never presses “Like” for any corporate page. Yet your news feed contains such information every day of the week. They try to tempt you into taking an action you would not otherwise perform by liking the page or going to the advertiser’s website.
Of course Facebook targets promotional postings around your interests because the site retains a search history.
These posts fit my definition of spam. But of course there is a difference. Facebook makes money from this message. They make more money if you click the link. It is a form of advertising. However these types of sponsored posts may be contrary to advertising standards in your nation.
I have no objection to Facebook making money through advertising but there is a difference between the impression given by these sponsored posts and the type of advertising I carry on GobbledeGoox. With this site it is clear what is advertising and what is content. Having a panel that says “Sponsored” is one thing, the advertising is clear.
Posting in a person’s news feed is, arguably, spamming, especially when a mis-truth is perpetrated. Can we change how Facebook operates? No. They do what they wish. It is after-all their site. Nearly a billion views a day is certainly fertile ground to make money. My point is merely to inform bloggers so that they are prepared for all possibilities when posting on Facebook.
I am not suggesting that bloggers should leave Facebook. It is one of the few places where you can get the word out. There are plenty of automation tools that you can use to get your message out through social sites.
Addressing as large a potential audience as possible is a necessary part of blogging.
A earlier post has highlighted the capabilities of the Buffer application. I also use another tool called Recurpost, to generate automated postings on Facebook and Twitter. There are plenty of tools that will help automate social media postings.
Remember by the definition I gave earlier any post enticing people to view our blog is potentially spam. Yet it is still the best tool to inform people about the articles that bloggers publish. Repeating posts is not spamming, but just good common sense.
If some of your posts are rejected as being spam, simply go to the notification screen and make it clear what you post is not spam. If possible turn off all automated posting systems for a couple of days. This can help resetting everything.
Friends Have a Choice
Your Facebook friends have a choice, they don’t have to read your post. They could un-friend you if they really dislike your material. If they are staying with you that your material has value.
Generally, I have positive feedback from a wide swath of Facebook friends, perhaps more so than for any other social network.
Related Material on GobbledeGoox
- Hate Facebook? 9 Ways it can Build Blog Traffic!
- On Facebook — Are you a Human or a Machine?
- Should you use Hashtags in your #Blog Content Title?
- Search, Friend or Enemy of the Blog?
- Consistency, Mood and Publicity — The Social Challenge