Self Promotion VS Spam: What Makes The Difference?

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Why is it that some bloggers can promote themselves all day long with nary a flinch from their readers and others can send out one single Tweet and suddenly everyone’s screaming “Spammer!

I have my own theory, and yes, I’ve tested it and it works.

I’ll share mine and then you can share yours.

Here’s my theory on when self promotion tips into Spam

Self promotion tips into Spam if you’ve mislead your followers or subscribers.

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Trust me.

I’ve tested this theory and it works.

Over the years I’ve had at least a dozen different Twitter and Facebook accounts and six or eight newsletters, and until about two years ago I was convinced that social media marketing was a complete waste of time.

Email marketing, too.

So convinced that I completely withdrew from both arenas.

Now, I know better but in the past, here’s what I did wrong…

I followed the advice of “gurus” who said you should focus on building “social” relationships.

You should look for people to follow who had similar interests and join in their conversations.

They said that by being “social” and letting these people get to know me as a “real person” they’d be more receptive to visiting my blog or clicking my links.

The problem is, this is the exact same approach that spammy bloggers use.

They present themselves as “just regular people” then they start spewing out promotional links.

So no matter how much time you spend trying to develop social relationships you’re always going to have people calling you a spammer when you start promoting your links – even if you only promote them once a month.

Consequently, most of the time you spend on social media is wasted.

But, as I said, self promotion only tips into spam if you’ve misled your readers

And by readers I mean the people who read your blog, the people who follow you in the social networks and the people who subscribe to your newsletters.

All of these people will view you as a spammer if you mislead them.

However, if you let these people know right from the very beginning that you are a business person and you’ll be promoting your business, then people will know exactly what to expect.

When you include an affiliate link on your blog they’re not going to be offended.

When you promote your blog in the social networks they’re going to expect it.

When you send them a promotional email they’re actually going to read it.

Here’s why…

If you’re up front from the very beginning, the only people who are going to follow you or subscribe are going to be people who want to receive your promotional messages.

And there will be many, I assure you.

That means you’ll completely eliminate spam complaints.

You probably follow or subscribe to a few of these same types of sites.

For example, millions of people follow Pizza Hut online.

Are they expecting to meet and socialize with a Pizza Hut representative?


They’re expecting to receive self-promoting links from Pizza Hut because they knew going into it that’s what Pizza Hut was going to do.

When they “liked” their page or subscribed to their email list, Pizza Hut said “Like our page and we’ll send you promotional information.

They followed Pizza Hut because they wanted their promotional messages, they have plenty of friends already.

What Have I Done Differently?

Two years ago I started new Twitter and Facebook accounts and used my profiles to let people know exactly what to expect if they followed me.

My business is my blog and that’s what I’m here to promote.

I’m busy.

I’ll be sharing information but I’m not here to socialize and make friends.

My attitude was:

If you don’t like it, don’t follow me because you’re not going to respond to my links, anyway.

And ya know what?

I instantly started getting Twitter and Facebook traffic.


And it continues to grow.

And I spend less than 15 minutes a day on social media.

The same thing happens when you’re up-front with your email subscribers.

Quit hiding behind the pretense of “getting to know” your readers and let them know that if they subscribe they’re going to be getting your self-promotional links.

If they don’t like it, they won’t subscribe, but it doesn’t matter because those are the people who call you a spammer and don’t open your emails anyway.

If they do subscribe then you’ll know it’s because they want to see your links and you won’t have to waste time socializing.

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One Comment

  1. Steven,

    Be genuine. Be true to yourself and your audience!Same as in most situations. Manage the expectations of your audience so they won’t be disappointed.

    So long as you give folks what they expect, how could they not like it?


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