Spamming vs Outbound Community Management – What’s the difference?

By Grazel Gueco

Community managers are often tasked with increasing their company’s exposure by engaging with customers and potential clients on social media. However, there’s a fine line between this kind of engagement and what could be considered spamming. In this blog, we’ll look at how companies can cross that line without even realising it, as well as how you can avoid making the same mistakes yourself.

What is considered spam?

Spam messaging involves sending unsolicited messages to a large number of people who haven’t given their consent. It’s not a good way to build relationships with your audience, to say the least. In fact, it’s considered a form of harassment by many people as it forces them to engage in unwanted communication. 

Spammers tend to be highly misleading when it comes to their message because they aren’t concerned with actually building a brand— they just want as many clicks as possible. Those who use these tactics usually aren’t legitimate businesses, which is why it has such a bad rep. 

Spam isn’t just limited to emails anymore. You can find them prevalent in messages and comments across major social media networks. If you’ve ever had a “jewellery brand” on Instagram reach out to you to be their “ambassador” that’s probably spam (and a scam). 

What is outbound community management?

While Spam is about quantity, outbound community management is about quality. Outbound community management is about building relationships with people who are interested in your product or service. This means reaching out to potential customers, finding the right people to talk to, and creating a conversation that’s valuable for both parties.

It’s more than just a top-of-funnel tactic too. Outbound community management can also help you establish yourself as an authority figure in your industry and position yourself as someone who knows the problems of its target market.  It’s about building trust, credibility, authority, and influence.

Outbound community practices include selectively commenting on interesting posts about your niche or industry, replying to questions when you have something to contribute to the conversation, and messaging like-minded accounts if they’d like to connect. However, these practices can fall under spam too. The difference lies in your genuine intent to connect. It’s ideal to have a dedicated community manager to engage with these accounts so that the interaction is 100% human and stays true to your brand. 

Another key difference between outbound community management and spamming is that you’re actively seeking out new leads by personally reaching out to your ideal customer base rather than blasting generic information at everyone on the internet in hopes of converting them into customers down the line. Outbound community management is all about getting the right people on board with what you’ve got going on—even if it means sending fewer messages than spamming would require.

How to avoid seeming ‘spammy’ when you’re doing outbound community management

Outbound community management is about sharing content and engaging with potential customers in a way that feels natural, not cold and impersonal. Here’s how to not seem spammy while doing it:

  1. Be friendly, but don’t seem desperate for their attention.

Use a friendly tone with the person you’re reaching out to, but don’t come off as overly eager.  So stay away from phrases like “Hey! We think your content is awesome and we would love it if you shared it with our community!” Instead, try something simple like “Hi there! We found this post helpful and wanted to share it with our audience since we know they’ll love it too 🙂 Thanks for sharing!” 

  1. Personalise your messages and inject some personality

When it comes to building relationships with people online and offline, there is no one-size-fits-all approach; which is why we should approach them differently each time. Personalising your response, whether it be a comment or message, certainly helps your chances of being engaged with, which means more quality connections! Don’t forget to address them by name and also sign off with your own at the end.

  1. Don’t use the same response twice

This is entering spam territory. Plus, copy-pasting the same thing might get you in trouble with the social media network and they could revoke your account access!

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