Social Media Politeness Tip 101

Yes, this is kind of a rant but also meant to be informational for those sending out solicitation emails. After my burger rant I guess you could put me in the category of ranter with occasional useful information.

I recently got an unsolicited email from someone that does some of what I do, plus some things I don’t do.

The email was started with:

“Hi Everyone,

John Doe Company is proud to announce that we won two Jane Doe awards last night!

Yada yada yada

So, needless to say we are really excited and wanted to share the news with all you. (all you?)

Please see more info and links on the awards below.

Enjoy the rest of your week,

John Doe

PS.  Of course if any of you need help with your online, social or search marketing please never hesitate to call on me – my contact info is on the bottom of this email.”

Followed by the chaps name, plus his email, his twitter name, his linked in name, etc. etc. etc. (that part was good marketing, —maybe)

I have no idea who this person is, have never come across him before, have never talked to him, interacted with him, etc. etc.

The email had no unsubscribe option on it, not only that but he cced himself as the copy recipient (must have sent it through outlook instead of a legit email service so bbced everyone else at least) so as a result of that, I have no idea which email address this got sent to. I have 6 primary emails plus also webmaster@…….com equaling about 4 dozen others. Ouch! What happens when this happens is I usually send a somewhat snippy reply to them saying please unsubscribe me and I (sometimes) get a response back saying, “what email address was this sent to? ” HELLOOOO, haven’t the foggiest. But that’s not the point. So I figured instead of going through the usual hoopla, I’d just vent. I’m getting sick of trying to educate people who should know better.

You are probably wondering why on earth I opened the email. The email title looked an awful lot like my MarketingVox newsletter headlines that I get and I wasn’t paying attention apparently.

Now if this company had sent this letter out to me saying.


Our company does this and this and this and we offer services that might compliment yours because…..

And by the way our company just won two Jane Does awards for excellence in spaghetti rolling………”

I would have NOT been tweaked about it and I might have gone to check out their site because of it, instead of checking out their site and BEING tweaked about it. I mean from a customers perspective, “gee dude, congrats, and I give a rats tuckus about this why? Because you are basically telling me to use you because you won two awards?”  Yeehaw!

Someone, somewhere, added my email address to this email list as a potential “prospect” but the result of it is a potential “never will be” prospect. This falls into a similar category of going to a large conference, meeting 100 new people and adding them to your email newsletter list without asking them.

I did go to a conference recently and had this happen, 3 people added me to their newsletter lists, 2 were for things that I am totally not and will never be, interested in, thankfully they had unsubscribe options at the bottom of their emails. The 3rd actually sent me a nice solicitation email saying “it was great to meet you recently and by the way we have this great newsletter, we were wondering if you would be interested in subscribing to it..” I wasn’t, but as I result of that, if I ever need a company that sells purple widgets, they would be someone I would keep in mind or would refer someone to them that I know is in need of purple widgets.

The thing that surprised me about this, is the company is someone that touts themselves as a company that specializes in social media marketing. From a customer service (or potential future) standpoint = FAIL, from a marketing perspective = major FAIL, from a CAN-SPAM compliant perspective that one was off the charts.

Maybe I get too touchy about the unsolicited emails or maybe I’m just a wench (yup sometimes) but there is a reason laws get in-acted. I think I am probably about the typical small business person, I might read more newsletters then average maybe, but as an example daily I surf/weed through first thing at 6:00 am, about 3 dozen newsletters and about 20-40 emails from clients, plus a couple personal, a couple totally irrelevant and occasionally some spam (which I don’t get that much of). I do get a couple of solicitation emails per weekk from other companies and if they are legit, I do take the time to check their business out. I recently hooked up with a great new printer that contacted me. So I do look and respond. But in an average workday I get between 200-300 emails. But to have to spend extra time getting my email address removed and exchange emails with people that can not only NOT track down my email address but in many occasion repeat offend, gets really old, really fast.

Where I am going with this is, in this new age of marketing and social media, Be Careful. Be Compliant. While I get mildly irked to get something I didn’t subscribe to, there is the “un-subscribe” or there SHOULD be. I would not be as irked if the company was tiny and sold rainbow widgets and didn’t know better but coming from a company that apparently does a lot of online media I find it appalling. There is no excuse for that.

I was reminded of Scott Stratten’s recent interaction (on a much smaller scale) of his “An Idiot Calling the Kettle Black” experience with a PR company. I did laugh hysterically at that one.


  • Beta test your marketing emails. To prospective customers, how is this going to come across? In this case, blabbing about awards won and nothing else did nada for me, “where’s the hook? And why should I care? My call to action was to get A. slightly peeved because the email was unsolicited B. Quite peeved, because, there was no unsubscribe and C. the fact that some company won two awards for yada yada did zippo for me as a potential consumer and then they sent me an email about it. Wow Yowza send in the Queen.
  • Email soliciting is a lot like cold calling: Fine tune your message. Do it legally. Use a hook. Even the above email would have grabbed me more if it said, “we won this award out of 500 other businesses because……………” I still would have looked and maybe been more open minded about being interested.
  • Don’t harvest email addresses, from the net or from business cards, it’s just not the right thing to do among other things.
  • Twitter and other social media networks: If you come across someone on twitter, or they follow you and /or you follow them back, or connect on Linked-in or any other network, it is NOT polite to send them unsolicited emails. (not the case here but it does happen frequently)
  • There are great email services out there that can help you manage your email lists and do it legally. USE THEM!

Most importantly:


About Chef Forfeng

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This entry was posted in General Rants & Raves, Observations and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Social Media Politeness Tip 101

  1. John Doe Company is proud to announce that we won two Jane Doe awards last night!

    It could be worse than that. A couple of months ago at Unison we got an announcement that we had won an award! There was a nice web page somewhere that we could point to as confirmation, and they would send us a lovely plaque. All we had to do was send them $80. Or get the supercharged award with deluxe plaque for only $300. Such a deal!

    I bet this guy’s awards are like that.

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