It’s a Trap! How Not to Blast Away Your Fans

TP roll mouse trap.

Photo by Mark Wilkie via Flickr, Creative Commons license

One of the challenges in marketing on the internet is treading the fine line between useful alerts and annoying spam. Rapid fire emails, tweets and status updates can fill the news stream, causing folks to scroll right past your blocks of promotion so they can get on to other friends and followers. Even great content delivered too fast or in screen hogging chunks may cause fans to unsubscribe simply because you are demanding too much real estate from their screen. So beware the three pitfalls below and take care to promote without blasting your fans away.


It’s pretty well known that folks simply don’t read much on the internet – they scan. When scrolling through the stream on Twitter or Facebook, the scanning is even more intense as we look for the gems in the rubble. But even great content may be skipped over because the reader senses a big commitment ahead if they start to read your lengthy announcement. Be creative and eye catching, but get straight to the point in your bite sized chunk of information. Keep the bulk of the details on your website or blog and use social media to drive traffic to it. When half of my screen is taken up by your single announcement, I will often scroll on by.

The Cannon Blast

Civil War reanactors firing a cannon

Photo by Garrison Gunter via Flickr, Creative Commons license.

Too many, too fast. You might think that you are making an efficient use of time when you do all of your social media updates at once, but beware of becoming a motor mouth. This is especially true for news organizations, venues, theaters and bands who have many announcements to make. Instead of pouring all of your announcements out at once, I suggest a trickle out approach that ensures that you will not be considered spammy while also getting you exposed over a longer period and at different times. When half of my stream is taken up by your dozen posts, again I will just scroll on through.

The One Note Song

Maybe the old-time fruit sellers could get away with singing “strawberries” all day, but that won’t work on social networks. Sounding like a broken record player will make you like the boy who cried wolf, and folks will just skip over your message if they have not already unsubscribed. Spend some time thinking of different ways to state your promotional copy so that even when you are plugging the same announcement as before, you are doing so with fresh words and offering new opportunity for comments. When half of your stream is taken up with the same message, I am not going to check it again anytime soon.

Think about how you like your news feed to look and construct your promotions with some respect for how much of your readers attention and screen space you are asking for.  These are just three of the social media marketing traps that I see on a common basis? How about you? What else has made you unsubscribe, unfriend or unfollow someone’s promotions?


About Mike Ward

Connecting the digital to the local - website management, social media and event promotion.
This entry was posted in community building, facebook, internet presence management, small business, social media, twitter. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to It’s a Trap! How Not to Blast Away Your Fans

  1. Nice blog. This is very down-to-earth and sensible advice. Somehow, it never occurred to me that most individuals probably never read your posts, but scan instead. That may explain why my posts with the most visits are usually the one’s with the best image and cleanest layout.

    Thanks for the advice.


  2. Mike Ward says:

    Glad to have connected with you, Steven. I found the advice on using pictures in a blog from Chris Brogan’s blog . For some reason it really helps the eye navigate through a screen of text in a way that is not always needed on a page of paper text. I try and use my own pictures when I can, but as you see in this post there are lots of good images for free/attribution use under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.

  3. Pingback: Little Birdie: Twitter 101 For Bluegrass Bands | South Mountain Media

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