Why Online Social Networks Reject Spam, Embrace Authenticity

Unfortunately, spammers have been observed trying to invade social media, and while they have certainly succeeded in proliferating their messages, it is becoming quite clear that their actual end result – to complete a transaction – is failing horribly. Spam is visible almost everywhere in online social networking websites, from Facebook to Twitter, and other platforms, but it is being seen as significantly less effective than on other online marketing platforms.

online social network

Why is this? Given that social media tends to follow the same interaction patterns as email – message and response, and simple interaction – it would be easy to think that spam would convert in the same fashion. While email marketing spam has a low conversion rate – well below 1% when mass-emailed – it still does convert. There is money in spam, but it seems to be rejected when it comes to online social networks.

Why Spamming Doesn’t Work for Online Social Network Marketing

There are several reasons why spam just does not work on social media. Some reasons are based on viewer attention while others are based on the very nature of social media. While email is private, online social networks are entirely public, attracting a new level of attention and care from those who use it.

To put it into perspective, compare how people act in public to how they act in the privacy of their own homes. For most people, public interaction is slightly more planned and more cautious as it is significantly more exposed. That affects how people behave on online social networking websites.

User Behavior on Online Social Networks

For introverts, social media is a viewing platform rather than a sharing platform. This leads to a divide in how people interact. Extroverts provide the content, while those that are not comfortable sharing tend to absorb it. Spam is a product of ignorance – people that do not understand the medium tend to fall for obnoxious advertising – and it offers an opportunity for those that do not normally speak to reject it.

Beyond the personal rejection, there is another reason for spam’s failure: online social networking websites, even for non-spammers, just does not convert as well as online marketers would like it to through communication strategies that they are used to. Legitimate internet marketing specialists and online advertisers have experimented with online social networking for years, and have still found that it does not convert as effectively as a targeted email marketing campaign or purpose-built online community. The problem is not that social media audiences are not interested in products and offers, but that they are not interested right when they are using online social networking sites.

For example, people use Facebook to connect with friends. There, they escape advertising, not embrace it. While Facebook advertisements perform effectively for some internet marketing specialists and online advertisers, they tend to fail when they are advertising a product that is for sale. Internet advertisers have had success in social media with low-commitment offers – offers that do not require a purchase, but simply an action or a survey. People do not use social networks to find products they can buy; they use it to interact.

Opportunities in Social Networks for Online Marketing

This does not mean that it is the end of the road for internet marketing specialists and online advertisers – far from it, in fact. There are thousands of online marketers out there earning a lot of money from online social networking websites, but they are not the spammers. Social networks value connections and conversations, two currencies that spammers simply can’t offer. Instead of valuing social networks by its conversion rates and potential audience size, it is time for online marketers to start looking at it for what it is: a conversation platform.

To succeed on social networks, internet marketing specialists and online advertisers need to build connections, not just landing pages. They should keep in mind that 10,000 friends to spam are worth less than 10 real friends to sell to. Social network marketing success means a focus on real connections, not on size, scale, and advertising power.

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