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Direct Message Marketing on Social Media Is Wrong

January 12 2021

social media relationshipsIf you are like me, you get direct messages on LinkedIn every day with offers to help you grow your business. Some of them are from people or companies that you know, and others are spam from people or companies that you do not know.

The come in like this:

My company has helped many other executives, blah blah blah. We should talk if you are interested in exploring this.


I was browsing to connect with executives in the management consulting space. We're seeing great success with our methods specifically in that area and thought it would make sense to reach out. Quick 10k ft view on Sapper: we are a B2B appointment setting firm. We use machine learning and big data to create custom content and campaigns designed to drive sales meetings with interested prospects within your target market -- would be you open to learning more?

I have over 7,000 Linkedin connections, so the number of spam messages like this that I get every day is significant.

The problem with these messages is that they are insincere, and they are spam. Most often, they include non-modal offers of service. Non-modal offers are things that I did not ask for. They suggest a product or service that they assume that I want or need. They are out of context, and I block every one of these people because if they do it once, there is a high likelihood that they will do it again.

Social media is a tender place for marketing that can injure your reputation and injure your brand if you do it wrong. If you want to reach customers using social media, do not use direct messaging unless it is specific and written personally by you with a sincere message. If you want to market yourself on social media, use advertising. Advertising is passive.

Another successful tactic to market services on social media is by listening. Start by building a relationship. If you like or comment on a prospect's post, they will take notice and be thankful that you have engaged with content that they were nice enough to share. If they do not know you, they will click on your profile. If your profile clearly articulates what you do and they have a need, they will reach out to you. At some point, you may want to ask a prospect questions or express your interest in their post and request a call with them to learn more about their post or to ask questions.

If you stay away from direct message marketing and seek to develop trust relationships that are reinforced by social media advertising, you will grow your business and develop some great new customers.

Be safe out there.