How to Write Status Updates that Don’t Cross the Line into Spam

Last week I was writing social media training for a direct selling company.  Now this particular company does not allow their consultants to blog to promote their businesses (at least not yet), so I’m teaching the topic of content marketing through social networks.  I flipped over to my Facebook account and began to scroll through the updates of my friends in direct selling, looking for a good status update that demonstrated the concept.  And I scrolled.  And I scrolled…  Not one status update that shared content without being overly spammy.  I couldn’t believe it.

So today’s post is about how to write content-driven status updates that don’t cross the line into spam.

Now this post assumes that you have done the necessary strategic planning, so you’ve identified your goals, your target market, and your message.  Once you’ve done that, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • What type of content does my market value (if they were doing a Google search to solve the problem my product or opportunity solves, what would they type in? Hint, it’s not your product’s name.)
  • What blogs and magazine articles do people in my target market read?  (If you don’t know, ASK them!)
  • Have I connected with the people on my social networks who are looking for this type of content?

Once you’ve come up with those answers, it’s time to draft some status updates.  What I recommend you do, right now, is pull up a word processing document and actually type your ideas now.  Have a list to work from.

Here are some sample status updates that are appropriate:

  • Wow!  Had a great workout this morning, and then enjoyed my protein shake!  I swear I have more energy at 40 than I did at 20!
  • Read this great article on XYZ blog this morning about how to apply eye makeup correctly.  Check it out! LINK
  • Oh my gosh I saw the most ADORABLE tablescapes on HGTV last night.  Had to make them myself.  Check out this photo!  What do you think?
  • I am SO PROUD of Sue Smith on my team!!!  She was nervous about whether or not she could do this business, and she had a $1,000 show last night!  Can I get a w00t! w00t!!!!
  • Can I tell you how incredible it feels to see someone break through walls and achieve more than they thought they could?  I love my job!
  • I’ve really seen a difference since I started drinking 8 glasses of water a day.  Do you get your 8 glasses?
  • Check out these great recipes that are on the table in 30 minutes or less…and less than $2 a serving! LINK

The above status updates have some things in common:

  • They are enthusiastic
  • They address common experiences…the desire to lose weight and have more energy, the need to get dinner on the table quickly and frugally, the desire for a beautiful home, the desire to put makeup on correctly…
  • Most don’t go to the immediate sale…they’re more subtle than that
  • Many ask for a response (a call to action)
  • They talk about the opportunity in terms of how it helps others, and put a personal face on it

Now you are NOT allowed to copy my samples above word for word.  (Seriously…I’ll send the internet police after you if you pull that stuff.) 😉  But think about what YOU have to offer.  What I want you to do now is think about YOUR product line, YOUR prospect base, YOUR goals.  Think about what they need, how you can help, and what you’re enthusiastic about.  Make a list of 10-12, and then you’re ready to start using content marketing through your social networks.

It’s not about pitching your product and opportunity.  Instead it’s answering questions they may not have asked yet.  It’s about setting yourself up as a resource with answers.  It’s about building your personal brand with the value you provide.

That’s what brings success in using social networking tools to market your business.

Would love to hear what you think, and if you’re brave, share a status update you’ve written as a result of this post!

24 Responses to How to Write Status Updates that Don’t Cross the Line into Spam
  1. Suzanne Webster-Lowrie
    June 13, 2014 | 11:25 am

    This is a fantastic article! Being a newbie in the world of social media, I never really thought about the content of my status updates in this way. Thank you for your insight. I immediately went to FB and posted a sincere update based on your suggestions:

    “Both of my kids are finally done school for the year! Now comes the BEST part… to make memories with them this summer, and then scrapbook them!”

    And if you couldn’t tell, I sell scrapbooking/stamping supplies :o)

  2. Amy Hagerup
    May 2, 2012 | 10:52 am

    Very good information. I was happy to read that I have been doing it right for the most part and have gotten some great leads too. Thanks, amy
    Amy Hagerup recently posted..Preparing for Baby? A Deadly Mistake You are Probably Making

  3. suzanne
    May 2, 2012 | 10:23 am

    Thanks for the great info, Jennifer! I’m with the other commenter, in that I would like to understand better your opinion about FB pages. I am meeting with frustration anyway, and wonder if I should just let it go, post differently, only post on my personal page…..just don’t know how to handle this, and would love to see you delve further into this topic! Thanks for all you do!!

  4. Marschelle
    February 21, 2012 | 11:30 am

    Much appreciation for the info. I guess it lends truth to “People don’t mind buying; they just don’t want to be sold” – especially on SN sites.

  5. Mari DeZago
    February 20, 2012 | 2:31 pm

    I posted this today on FB. What do you think? Would it have been better as a ‘mini-blog?’ What’s a good length for a status update?
    It’s Monday- a day off for some. Maybe you have some ‘thinking/planning time. If so, consider some food for thought, two definitions/descriptions of success: 1. Success is nothing more than a few disciplines, practiced every day, while failure is simply a few errors in judgment repeated every day. ~ Jim ROHN. 2. We are successful when we achieve objectives we have established in advance. Tony Jeary in his book Strategic Acceleration.
    So, in light of either of those definitions, are you on your way to being successful? What are your thoughts?
    Mari DeZago recently posted..Who’s in Charge?

    • Jennifer Fong
      February 20, 2012 | 2:34 pm

      I think it’s too long. I would have taken each of those points and listed them individually throughout the day. People just don’t read long status updates, unfortunately.

  6. Marit
    September 8, 2011 | 2:55 pm

    Your article is so helpful. I just posted this status – can you tell me if it is appropriate? (and yes, my husband really did just finish the shelves this morning!)

    “Thanks to my awesome husband for building new BIG shelves so I can finally try to get organized and get all of my business stuff in one area! I love using my “business stuff” to organize my business stuff! :)”

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 8, 2011 | 4:34 pm

      Sounds good to me Marit! 🙂

  7. Vicki Leslie
    June 7, 2010 | 10:45 pm

    WOW, I just found this site through my company’s facebook page. I’m really enjoying the information I’m reading tonight. I’m new to using social media in my business and still overwhelmed. This post is very helpful.

  8. Bernice Wood
    June 6, 2010 | 10:44 pm

    This is great information! I think that it is definitely important and more intriguing to readers to provide personal, everyday info, with a little bit of your business woven in. Takes imagination, and thinking deeply!

  9. Sue Dietrich
    June 4, 2010 | 4:26 pm

    I totally agree that positive comments are the way to go!

    I have met so many new amazing and creative friends. I love my job!

  10. Michelle
    March 18, 2010 | 3:20 pm

    I sell land and I also try this approach. I will take some really nice new photos of a property and post them saying how it was such a beautiful day and how I loved my job of going out to this — acres in —- County to take these pictures and maybe comment on a feature I really enjoyed. I also try to use wildlife cameras on larger parcels. Everyone enjoys seeing the results of those.

  11. Walter
    March 17, 2010 | 10:51 am

    Thanks! Blogger just deleted my blog saying it was SPAM because I drove traffic to my site. Until now, I thought that was what I was supposed to do. I guess I get to start all over again the right way.

    • Jennifer
      March 18, 2010 | 12:42 pm

      So sorry you had that experience Walter! A content-driven blog will bring you a lot more results. People don’t come back for ads! Go to the Useful Links page on this blog to find a how-to page with links to articles on how to create an effective network marketing blog.


  12. Angela Chrysler
    March 16, 2010 | 11:47 pm

    Great info for all

  13. Pat Zahn
    March 16, 2010 | 2:20 am

    Jennifer – if you have a FB Page would you do that status update there or on your personal profile?

    • Jennifer
      March 16, 2010 | 8:40 am

      It could be either, although I’m of the opinion that individual direct sellers should focus on profiles, and let their companies handle the pages.

      • Julie
        February 20, 2012 | 3:40 pm

        So Jennifer are you saying that updates like these should be on your personal profile? If we do have business facebook pages that should be more things like product reviews from the company or do you not recommend having a business page?

        Thanks for this great post by the way, it was very informative. I always get great information from you!

  14. Deb Bixler
    March 15, 2010 | 9:53 pm

    Great article Jennifer. Another thing that is so spammy is the every second automatically generated social update about what ever it is that is being marketed. I don’t mind a bit of repetition, even automatically generated at different days and times but I see some followers literally blasting out something (spammy) every second.

  15. Lachelle Yoder
    March 15, 2010 | 4:29 pm

    This is a status I wrote last fall when it started getting cold out. That is the first status I have written that has gotten so much response! I had customers & other consultants telling me about their slippers. One wanted to bring hers over to have cocoa & popcorn with me!! When I wrote it I didn’t even think about selling slippers – I was just cold & cozy!!

    “I’m feeling the cold now. Have my slippers on & am curled up on the couch!”

    But I loved what you said. It’s hard to know where the line is. It takes more effort to write a content based status & that is why we see what we see. We’re in a hurry & it’s easy to throw out an ad.

    • Jennifer
      March 15, 2010 | 5:05 pm

      Love that status Lachelle, and it’s so in the theme of what you do at Private Quarters. You’re right, it does take more effort. But at the end of the day, it’s the people that make the effort who will be successful! Thanks for sharing with us. It’s the real life examples that truly help everyone.



  16. Janine
    March 15, 2010 | 12:15 pm

    This is really helpful.

  17. Karen Fox
    March 15, 2010 | 10:18 am

    Great post Jennifer! This is so true!

  1. Gallery of Bad Status Updates | Direct Sales and Social Media
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