Is advertising on twitter allowed at all?
October 12, 2011 8:41 PM   Subscribe

Hello All! Is using an automated script to send a tweet at some reasonable interval (like every 15 minutes or half an hour) for the purpose of advertising an online store considered SPAM or is it OK? If detected is the account suspended? Thank you!
posted by raphael19 to Shopping (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Seems like that's what 90% of Twitter is already, isn't it? I'm pretty sure you won't be breaking any rules. Still, that sort of thing comes across as pretty spammy though, so it is not likely to be very effective unless you are unusually clever about it.
posted by spilon at 8:47 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: Spam is the use of electronic messaging systems (including most broadcast media, digital delivery systems) to send unsolicited bulk messages indiscriminately.

If they didn't ask for it, it's spam.
posted by Static Vagabond at 8:48 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: It's spam.
posted by garlic at 8:54 PM on October 12, 2011 [5 favorites]

Best answer: Is it the same tweet over and over again? If so, that's mega spam and it's very likely to get you suspended. Even if it's not the exact same tweet, tweeting that often (which is super insanely often) and about the same thing over and over again really is still spam, deserves suspending whether it happens or not, and isn't likely to be very effective anyway because it's so darn annoying. Like, nuke from space annoying.

I say this as someone who tweets for an online store for a living. Honestly, that kind of behavior makes us all look bad.
posted by mostlymartha at 8:59 PM on October 12, 2011 [3 favorites]

Best answer: The Twitter Rules have a section on spam.
posted by exogenous at 9:00 PM on October 12, 2011

Response by poster: @mostlymartha So you tweet for your store and do not spam at the same time? How do you achieve that? You keep telling about the features of your store at every new tweet? Or maybe price updates?
posted by raphael19 at 9:14 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: If you need to ask, it's probably spam.

Sounds like the sort of thing I'd unsubscribe from pretty soon, and if I felt it was spam you'd get nothing from me but bad press... just FYI.
posted by dirm at 9:17 PM on October 12, 2011

Best answer: Are you familiar with how Twitter works? People will only see your content if:

a) they started following your feed, which they will quickly unfollow within the same day once they see how much spam your sending.

b) if the words show up in search results or in use a hash tag.

The first option isn't going to win you any followers, the second one might get some attention but people will probably block you and you'll just get a reputation of a spammer. If your frequency was down to a few times a day you could probably get away with it.
posted by furtive at 9:18 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I work for an online clothing store as a part of the marketing writing and social media team. I write (what I hope is) engaging, amusing, evocative tweets about sections and features of the site, sales, games, and contests. I also tweet links to other websites, blogs, videos, etc. that are interesting to our Twitter community. I engage in tons and tons one-on-one conversations, answer questions, tell jokes, post behind the scenes pictures, and peeks at upcoming products.

Along with Facebook and our various other social media channels, Twitter is an incredibly important source of revenue, public relations, customer engagement and research, and brand-building for us. But that only works because we focus on writing excellent content that's relevant, fun, and valuable.
posted by mostlymartha at 9:27 PM on October 12, 2011 [17 favorites]

Best answer: I am a relatively active Twitter user. I follow companies that I like and use and I follow some brands in my field. I have a personal twitter account, one for my business and I also manage some school accounts.

If a brand sends out automated tweets I unfollow pretty quickly. Twitter is about context and conversation. That's how you engage followers and that's how you keep them.
posted by chairish at 10:38 PM on October 12, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: This is completely Not Getting Twitter.

There are myriad tutorials on how to market using social media. I suggest you read some of them.
posted by dhartung at 11:03 PM on October 12, 2011 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I suggest finding the twitter accounts of some businesses and products that you use or that interest you, following them and then reading them for a few weeks - taking notice of which ones engage you, which ones are annoying and which ones engage you enough that you spend money with them.

I'll wager that you won't follow any 15 minute automated sales bots for very long.
posted by emilyw at 4:26 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: I wouldn't say it's spam, as anyone receiving it (your followers) would have to opt in. However, I'd say it's a very easy way to lose followers quickly. I'd drop you like a hot potato if you started doing that, even if I'd previously been interested in your brand.
posted by altolinguistic at 5:19 AM on October 13, 2011

Best answer: I've stopped following a few businesses for just that reason.
posted by Blake at 5:50 AM on October 13, 2011

Best answer: Twitter has a limit limit of 100 tweets per hour/1000 per day, so an every 15 minute update is permissible depending on content. Doing what you propose would get the account suspended though. Unless the updates are quality don't do what you propose. An automated stream of crap is still a stream of crap.

You don't say what the online store is, but I would be that with most products you could make this interesting.

Here's my super quick guide to twitter streams:

1. Be real. Be genuine. People will follow fake cartoon characters or cats on twitter. They aren't looking for a "verified" badge and an email address, but if you come across as completely manufactured no one will care.

2. Be interesting. Post interesting things. Here you're wanting to consider your market, but people who are into what you're doing will find it interesting. Let's say you make bullets. Posting your prices every 15 minutes or a link to your store will bore people. Posting a link to a video of how bullets are made or the history of teflon coated armor piecing rounds will keep people's interest. I'm not a bullet fan, but I'd watch a "how it's made video" in a heartbeat.

3. If you are not global make sure you concentrate on your market's hours. If you run a local cupcake shop there's very little need to make sure you are maintaining a 24 hour presence. People in Australia don't care that you have a cupcake shop. On the other hand if what you are selling is global going dark with your stream for any part of the day will hurt you.

4. Interact! Read people's streams, respond to relevant tweets or tweets you find funny. Ask questions. Address criticism. If you are a broadcaster only no one will care. Become someone people look forward to reading.

5. Promote other people's stuff. This one seems counter-intuitive, but it's demonstrably true that pimping other people's sites or twitter streams or products will only help you. I'm not suggesting you promote a competitor, but picking out a follower, checking out his website, and letting people know "Hey, @cooldude23 has a great site on fishing for all you wildlife enthusiasts!" will get you goodwill from @cooldude23 and if he does indeed have a great site people will be grateful you sent them there.

6. Monitor your mentions. Do searches on your name, the product you sell, your url, anything that could possibly be people talking about you. Thank people for their kind words and address criticism. Worry about not only these customers but the potential customers they interact with. If you can diffuse a situation where someone is upset with you do so. A bad experience convert can become a fiercely loyal customer, but a spurned customer knows no bounds. Don't mess this one up.

7. Tell the truth. Admit mistakes. Be gracious.

8. Cross pollinate. Have your most recent twitter messages on your website. Post links on twitter to notes on your Facebook page. Identify where you want to maintain a presence and be there. Most of the rules above apply to Facebook or google+ or myspace or wherever. But if all you are doing is sending people in circles you'll waste their time. Figure out what each site does best and try to engage in the manner or that site.

There are exceptions to all the above, but you really need to know what you are doing before you go down that path.
posted by cjorgensen at 7:38 AM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

Best answer: So you tweet for your store and do not spam at the same time? How do you achieve that?

I recommend you follow some businesses (say, a hundred or so that interest you) on Twitter for a short period. Keep a chart, and notate it every time one of them tweets something that annoys you. Also notate it every time someone posts something and you say to yourself, "OMG I have to forward that to my friend!"

By the end of 3 days or so, delete everyone who wound up in the former column more than once.

You'll then know EXACTLY how to not spam people.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:09 PM on October 13, 2011 [2 favorites]

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