If you’re using social media to promote your offering, then you have probably noticed how saturated the online world is. That’s why marketers and businesses alike are constantly looking for ways to cut through the clutter and reach their customers one on one.
So… why not private message that target market of yours over social media?
We decided to look into the specifics to get a greater grasp of the topic, but found the answers were REALLY hard to find. I mean, terms and conditions have never been easy to decode, and when it comes to articles written about it? Well, as we say here at Ampersand: “no one can say they are a social media guru because it changes every second!”. So, with that in mind, many of the articles were already outdated; we had to stick to sifting through those terms and conditions.
To make your lives simpler, here’s what we found:
The biggest theme here is to be careful when you are the first person to reach out about your product or service over direct message, but if a customer messages you first, these rules won’t apply.
Facebook has been known to have a love hate relationship with advertisers on the platform. This is what they had to say about it in their terms and conditions: “We don’t allow people to send messages promoting or advertising a product, service or opportunity.” They use bots to detect if someone is repeatedly sending “salesy” messages to people, so while sending one or two messages may go unnoticed, it’s not a best practice!
Much like Facebook, Twitter doesn’t approve of businesses sending direct messages to users. They say that when you “spam or bother users, or otherwise send them unsolicited messages” it violates their best practices. That particular sentence was related to sending “automated messages”, but the key word “unsolicited” tells us that seeking people out online without them reaching out to you first, whether automated or not, is a no-no.
Although the information wasn’t super easy to locate on any of these platforms, Instagram’s was particularly unclear. Although this is their attitude towards selling in general and NOT just about direct messages, here’s the gist of it: they think its an annoyance, but your page won’t necessarily get shut down if you do message users. As of now, they say “we recommend that you ignore it” if someone tries to sell you something over Instagram.
So how do you choose the right thing to do when its sometimes… cloudy?
In some sense, its easier to ask for forgiveness than permission. Maybe hold off when it comes to Facebook and Twitter, but on Instagram: test it out!
The most important thing to remember is to be thoughtful about how you talk to your target market, and put yourself in their shoes. Think about how you feel when you get a call from a telemarketer. Annoyed, right? The same rules apply to social media, so awareness is key when it comes to breaking down those communication barriers with your customers.
Take these tips with a grain of salt, because as we know, they could very well change tomorrow!