Marketers Can Learn from Twitter Spam

Sick of the DM spam you get on Twitter?

It is crazy, I get the same message coming in fifteen times a day from different people. Here are the two recent ones: “I saw a real bad blog about you, you see this?” or “Found a funny picture of you!” followed by some shady .ru link.

Why are people falling for this Twitter spam?

That’s a good question and one that I have answered myself with four letter words and put downs. Sometimes I unfollow, sometimes I send a message telling them they are spamming, sometimes I ignore, but in general I have missed some legit messages because of the flood of spam and my reluctance to look. That pisses me off…  look, I have missed a potential client reaching out to me, and an invitation to speak at Boston University recently. Luckily I think the latter is still going to happen.

Think about it, look at how many people are clicking on these malicious links and how many are clicking on yours. Somewhere out there the person crafting these messages is actually doing a better job get conversions with viruses than you are with your helpful content and pride and joy product. That’s not cool is it? So it is time to take a look at this simple phenomenon and see what we can learn from it.

Twitter Spam Marketing Take-Away: People Love Themselves

people love themselves - spirocks

Its true, Twitter doesn’t let you hide your intent with its limited 140 characters.

“I saw a real bad blog about you, you see this?” or “Found a funny picture of you!”

Some stranger sends this link to your Twitter account and you are going to click on it? Why because you think it is possible that @34y_time ag knows you? You are famous and its possible they are looking out for your best interest without knowing you? NOPE. You click the link because of a natural human psychological response to a message that portrays itself as having information about you in it.

What can we learn from the Spammer?

Think about your service, product, or content. What you are sharing online. Do the messages that you create to entice readers to follow your link hit the psychological spot as well as the spammer? Do you try various ones and test then against each other? Do you make a connection between the message and those who are seeing it, is it personal enough?

  1. I would venture to bet the spammer, tries many messages, some are better than others. You should do the same.
  2. The spammer makes no bones about connecting the message to the reader personally. You should do the same.
  3. The spammer does this with a harmful product, you have the advantage of a helpful one. You should capitalize on that.

Push the Envelope.

To many of the people I work with on marketing play the same note for an entire song. It’s boring and to a large extent tuned out by the audience. Take yourself out of your comfort zone with half of your marketing this week, make them more personal and the rest keep the same. test them versus each other and see how they do. Then do another test the next week. Challenge yourself to try new types of messages, and to push past the fear of offending people with the knowledge that unlike the spammer you are offering a helpful product.

Please: Let me know how it goes.

This is the type of thing I do for my clients, or talk to them about doing for themselves.

Currently I am working on a plan for a community bank, a realtor, and a few restaurants. If you are interested in changing up your approach, I would love to talk to you too.







6 responses to “Marketers Can Learn from Twitter Spam”

  1. Oscar Gonzalez Avatar

    Interesting commentary, I don’t think though that most people are clicking on those links. I think most people dismiss them as spam. Beyond that annoyance of the messages, they aren’t actually spam in the true sense of the word but they’re actually malicious messages trying to get your account hacked or some other phishing attempt. Most of the messages you mentioned actually come in as DMs which means they came from a “friend” that unfortunately got hacked.

    Another interesting thing since we’re in the subject of spammers is to see that the first 4 reactions on your article are from four of your twitter accounts. Which one do you actually engage from? They all have the same exact stream of tweets… I found that pretty interesting.

    1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

      I respectfully disagree, it very much is a form of spam.

      It is Twitter DM Spam. A malicious sender creates messages that they send through Twitter. When the links are clicked by a percentage o those that receive them, the account is compromised and begins sending the same message to it’s connections. So on and so forth. The link itself leads to a conversion site that presumably grabs a percentage of the clickers for monetary gain.

      While it is not email spam alone, it is spam, and I firmly believe that.
      As for my regional twitter presence, I have a twitter account specifically for the regions that I have clients in. Not 100% sold on it’s theory but like I said in the article it is a test, we will decide it’s future when enough data is in.

      Thank you for reading.

      1. Oscar Gonzalez Avatar

        I actually mean that to call it SPAM is to downplay it, it is actually much worse than spam because it is malicious and could actually compromise private data. SPAM is just unsolicited messages, these go way beyond that. 

        1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

          I see what you mean, what can we call it then. I am up for a new term… TWAM!

          hahaha Thanks for reading and interacting.

  2. Karen Frank Avatar

    You make an excellent point here.  The people behind these DM’s are working hard to get their messages read and are doing things that most entrepreneurs are not: testing, looking at results and re-testing to get as many people as possible to click on their link.  I also agree that people are more prone to open something that they perceive as directly affecting them.  That said, if your subject line is too off or misleading the end result is you’ve done more harm than good. My take? Push the envelope, but don’t break it open!!  Thanks for a great read!

    1. Spiro Pappadopoulos Avatar

      Thanks Karen,

      It is pretty clear that the messages are effective, they are so pervasive, and very consistent. Thanks for reading and commenting. -Spiro