I have blogged on this subject before but all signs are that it is time to mention it again. In just the last 24 hours I have received 5 spam communications. I know that most of these people do not know that they are engaging in illegal behavior. Most are perfectly nice, law abiding citizens. Unfortunately they got some bad business advice along the way. So let’s try and shed some light on the subject!
Let’s first start with the softer side of things… relationships, manners and human interaction. Think of FaceBook as a cocktail party. It is called SOCIAL media, social rules apply. Ask your self would you EVER walk up to a group of people at a party and say “Would you like to make 10,000 a month? I can show you a residual income stream that is just $14.95 a month…? Of course not! And what would you think of a person who did such a thing? Would you ever in a million years buy what they were offering? Probably not.
That is exactly what you are doing when you send unsolicited business messages to people on FaceBook or via email. That kind of behavior will also get you unfriended or blocked in a heart beat! It is completely counter productive. And it is… well… it’s lazy. It is the action of someone who doesn’t want to take the time to learn about you and share their business with you in a manner you are open to receive. For example, if I post “Trying to get this weight off”, then I would find it permissible for people to email me with weight loss products. The acceptable way to go about that is “Hi Michelle, I saw your post about weightloss. I have a product that I am really pleased with. Let me know if you would like some info. I have lost ___ pounds.” It is rude to blow up my inbox with canned sales pitches. It is deplorable to fill my inbox up with canned sales pitches at random!
How should you go about it? Well, go back to what your Mother taught you… MIND YOUR MANNERS! Get to know people in SOCIAL media! Read their posts, watch their activity. The same business rules apply. The best way to start a conversation is with a NON-BUSINESS question. This is sales 101. People don’t like to be sold to. We have an OLD saying, “People don’t care how much you know, till they know how much you care’. Sales is about RELATIONSHIPS. So build the relationships. Then ask yourself “How can I be of service to that individual?”. A good salesperson never “sells”. That is a entire topic for another day.
So there is the softer side of the issue, now let’s look at the legal ramifications. The CAN-SPAM Act stands for Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography And Marketing. It is a federal law that carries up to $16,000 fine PER incident. Many things fall into the SPAM category. Basically any unsolicited communication that seeks to recruit someone into a business or to sell product. Unsolicited means that they did not ASK for the information. All email lists and newsletter lists must be PERMISSION based. This means you can not add people to them, without asking first.
Let’s cover some common abuses. These are things that happen everyday. The defense is always the same… “Everyone else is doing it”. Again, let’s go back to Mother’s wisdom… “If everyone else were jumping off a bridge, would you?”. So here are common scenarios:
-Unsolicited Face book messages that “share” an opportunity or product
-Bulk emails (yes even if you bcc)
-Posts to someones wall or fan page about a product or a business opportunity.
-Pulling email addresses form your FB “friends” and adding them to your email lists.
-Programs that scour the internet harvesting email addresses
I would close by saving you some money, those “lead generating systems” engage in many or all of the above methods to obtain the “hot leads”. You could do as well by saving your money and opening the white pages. They are not quality leads, and they are unlikely to help you grow your business. It is a money making scheme concocted by scam artists. Ask yourself this… If they had all of those quality leads, why would they not just recruit them into their business?????
THERE ARE NO SHORT CUTS TO SUCCESS! And anyone who says different, is just trying to sell you something…probably in a spam communication!
Read what the government has to say http://business.ftc.gov/documents/bus61-can-spam-act-compliance-guide-business
Read what Facebook says http://www.facebook.com/help/search/?q=spam
Visit the Direct Sales Institute at http://directsalesinstitute.com/