This is going to be brief. But it’s important. And it’s not new so I’m not even sure why I have to write this but here I am, writing it. 

If you are a small business trying to attract new customers, here’s a great way to be unsuccessful: 


What’s a spam-tag? Well, let’s start with a tag. Here’s an example of when the use of a tag is appropriate: 

This is my husband and me at the Kentucky Derby last year. In this photo, I tagged a few other Instagram accounts: clothing brands we are wearing, the milliner who made my fascinator, the store where I bought my dress and of course, my husband. 

In this example, these tags are applicable and make sense. For the milliner, the boutique and the brands, they may want to share that someone wore their products to this international event. For a small business, especially, it’s good to build rapport this way and show off their brand. 

I wish I could show you an example of what I’m seeing on a local Instagram account, but I don’t feel that screenshotting their content and publishing it here as “what not to do” is very kind, so I won’t. 

But I will say this…. I did not tag any companies or people in this photo that do not apply to this specific photo.

There is a local business in my community welcoming customers in their Instagram feed which is great and shows the new customer they are so happy to have them. However, they are also tagging about 20 other local vendors in these posts… assumably their prospect list, including one of my clients. 

The number of spam tags our client has from this one company is overwhelming. It’s a bad sales tactic and frankly, is annoying. Our client is not currently involved with this business and by tagging them, it’s presenting a falsehood that they are connected. 

Earning business is tough work. It’s gotten harder through the years and no short-cut is going to make it any easier on anyone. Companies who simply tag other companies in their posts are trying to find an easy way to lure customers in. I’m not the only person who believes this practice backfires and leaves potential customers with a bad taste about that business. 

There are a plethora of other ways to get in front of a potential client and earn their business. Tagging them unnecessarily isn’t going to cut it. Please do not use this practice and if you currently do, please cease doing so. It makes you look unprofessional. 

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