How to separate the wheat from chaff online
I know at first the whole comparison sounds ridiculous. The spammer is that sly shady looking bloke who keeps posting all kinds of stuff, while the power user is the knight in the shiny armour who keeps posting all kinds of stuff. And that is exactly the point. Sometimes in terms of behaviour, there is very little difference.
And while you definitely need a handful of power-users in your community you need no spammer at all. So how to tell the difference? Well, here is a little test you can run.
Call both a spammer
Spammers know they are breaking the rules – if you warn them that their behaviour will result in suspension/deletion/blocking, they will apologise, and carry on. Old habits die hard. So if someone has apologised and repeatedly violated your group guidelines, delete them. There is no point arguing.
Only the most conceited of spammers, and indeed powerusers will dispute the legitimacy of these warnings. But if someone disputes your calling them names, chances are that they have no intention to spam the group. Just because they dispute it, does not make them exempt. This is your sandpit, if they want to play in it, no spitting and no peeing. This also applies to Vice presidents and Marketing Director. If they only use your group as a promotional vehicle for their brand, out with them.
The people you actually want to get on well with will reflect on your warning. They may dispute the claim that they are spammers, but will honestly apologise and make an effort to abide by your rules. You can actually read between the lines that these people have swallowed their pride because they have a bad conscience for inavertedly breaking the rules. Look out for these people. Help them improve their image, enlarge their circle of influence, develop their professional brand. Every minute you invest into coaching these people will increase their goodwill towards you and your group. (More on how to cultivate power users in social media / online groups in the next post)