How To Be A Social Spammer On Twitter & LinkedIn

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Would they call you a social spammer?

In an effort to clean up spammers, Twitter and LinkedIn are making it easier than ever to block users and report spam. But I bet you don’t think it applies to you, right?


The Twitter Social Spammer

Of the two, Twitter is by far the more social network. It’s a place for personal and professional play where broadcasting is less tolerated.

Broadcasting is traditional advertising and we’re surrounded by enough of that without seeing it on Twitter. The biggest no no is @handle-ing someone. This is what it looks like:

It matters because those irritated by the lack of social media etiquette, can easily report the tweet or worse, block the user and report spam.

Many times you won’t even know you’re getting it wrong but signs are:

  • You have had no other interaction with the user you’re @handle-ing
  • You have fewer followers than you’re following
  • People aren’t engaging in conversation

The way around this is simple, using the above as an example…

  • Have a complete and appealing Twitter profile – mention the event in the bio
  • Follow me – I’ll see that in my notifications & check out your profile
  • RT one of my (thousand) dog snaps or reply with something nice

For example, @embedle followed me on the weekend. I checked out their profile and, by my own choice, am now using their seriously cool tool for meeting new Twitter people while browsing web pages.  No hard sell, just followed me. [It helps that their product is cool]

If you wonder if you’re getting it wrong, grab a copy of The Essential Guide To Recruiting On Twitter.


The LinkedIn Social Spammer

Over the weekend I received 5 unexplained invitations to connect (yawn) and as my analogy of walking up to a complete stranger and giving them a pitch, without so much as a hello, is having zero impact… an example of why you look like a spammer.

A few weeks back I received one of those blank LinkedIn invitations that says “since you’re a person I trust…” which means that it was sent from a mobile so makes me more forgiving.

I looked at his profile, and ran my usual thought pattern.

  • Does he look like a spam bot? No
  • Do we have shared connections? Yes
  • Does he have a product that my clients might like? Yes
  • Does it make sense to connect? Maybe


In this instance, I accepted, replied and and got this, “Thank you for your message. I am networking and educating about our revolutionary service called [blah, blah] I am the Account Manager in your territory. It’s an innovative way for employers to find the best candidates for a job….. [blah, blah, blah]… when you sign up.”

Wait a minute…. sign up?

Ok, on the outside it could be useful for my clients but… a 187 word reply with no mention of looking at my profile or taking the time to ask first. Unimpressed, I replied and gave him my walking up to a stranger analogy. Politely 😉

He replied with “Sorry, I didn’t mean to try and sell you on anything right away. I just wanted to let you know what we were doing with [blah, blah] Can I ask what kind of business you are involved in?”

Seriously? This is an exchange on LinkedIn and I am pretty confident my profile is clear… so I didn’t reply.

Then 6 days later I got this, “I wanted to ask what kind of business you are in? Are you involved in hiring people? We are offering clients to try [blah, blah] for a month for free.”

Annoyed, this time I did reply, “You can see my LinkedIn profile right? In under 1 minute you could work out what I do. Please don’t ask me to explain to you what I do when it’s all here to be seen… especially when all you are wanting to do is sell your product.”

He’s since read my profile and apologised but, I won’t be using or recommending his product because he came across as lazy, pushy and inconsiderate.

LinkedIn social spammer

And LinkedIn is making it even easier to report people as spam. Even genuine people.

All sides of recruitment are guilty of similar and I hear complaints about this all the time.

Before you send your connection request, read their profile, and take a moment and think:

  • How do I feel when I receive invitations to connect lacking a personal touch or explanation?
  • How does sending this make me look? Lazy? Unprofessional? Rude?
  • Will I be blocked because I look like a spammer? i.e. Do I look genuine with a completed profile and photo?

How inconvenient will it be if you end up blocked on either network?

It’s just a matter of courtesy and remembering that you catch more bees with honey than vinegar.