When trying to promote your online community there can be a fine line between good-hearted self-promotion and down right spam. As an online community administrator, you need to be well aware of that line. It's easy to spam unintentionally, which is what roughly half of spammers are guilty of, but the other half are just plain trolls who have no qualms about blasting out links left and right. For your reading pleasure, the difference between spam and self-promotion:
These things are good (Promoting):
1. Using discount codes.
2. Being active in other communities without posting links in conversations.
3. Having the appropriate links on your email signature and/or business card.
4. Building a relationship before you pitch.
5. Sending newsletters to members or customers that they have chosen to receive
6. Having an active, non promoting-obsessed community of Twitter or Facebook followers.
These things are NOT good (Spamming):
1. Sending out mass emails to persons who have not opted in.
2. When your only involvement in other communities is to comment with a link and/or pitch.
3. When your social media feeds are nothing but links and sales pitches.
4. When you have keyword search alerts on your Twitter account so that you can immediately send a link once someone mentions one of your flagged terms or phrases.
5. You pitch people on your brand/product/business idea without their permission
6. You jump to similar sites and blogs and bombard the site/community manager with "Hey, I think you'd be interested in (fill in the blank)" messages.