#IndieBusiness Social Network

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Hi Everyone!

 

Do you have any suggestions on how to tactfully/professionally address other indies (in my case - other soapmakers) who ask or post inappropriate comments in public forums like on a FaceBook page, etc?  I know some of you must have been there.  I'm on social networks to create buzz with prospective and existing customers - not share techniques with other soapers.  One lady even put a link to another online store for "inspiration". (SMH)

 

I know this will be a re-occurring issue and was hoping for some tips!  I'm trying to think through my response so I don't create hecklers.  Thanks in advance!

 

Brenda

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Yes! I just had this happen to me. Someone tagged my business along with several others in one of those "isn't this fun; let's all do this now" kind of status updates. It took me a couple days (it didn't feel right, but I couldn't figure out why at first) for me to finally realize that this was a post on MY page that included links to competitors. Boom, post gone now!

Oh Ruth, that is awful. I feel this is were FB is lacking. It's fun to tag your friends in pictures, but making business like a game, takes away credibility from the tagger and unfortunatey (in my eyes of late) and the tagee.

Good Job hitting the X button :)

I have two fB pages well really three, my personal non biz page with family and friends, my biz FB page and the private area of my business Fb page with only a few customers/friends I feel I can trust and have a more personal and fun joking relationship with.
I have the same issue come up from time to time, recently a soap network not this one or the soap guild out of the blue posted right on my Business FB page, promoting her and all of her members, never met her in my life,  and she said feel free to link back to her. It did bother me, and many of my customers ( because they are all so nice ) welcomed her and checked out her links, but since she did it in front of all my FB followers  I felt on the spot and said thank you, but never linked up on her page, I didn't want to have 1000 other soap makers feeling it was ok to pop up on my FB page, so I am with you, your FB page is for YOUR biz and customers, not for others.

And pardon me if I am high jacking this thread, I don't know if it is ok or not, please let me know if it isn't ,
But I often have an issue kind of related to this question, how do you handle when a long time customer becomes a competitor inspired by you, and then keeps asking you for trade secrets? anyone else have this problem? I seem to get it often, I can count at least seven customers now soap makers, and I am all for supporting their business, but it makes me  very uncomfortable when asked by them to discuss these things that took me years to perfect. One recently said to me, she tried and tried to recreate one of my perfumes and said she got very close but still not the same, and could I please let her know what suppliers I use??? Am I being over sensitive? I feel so uncomfortable with it , I end up always ignoring the person, once they cross that line. It then becomes a problem because each person I have ignored from embarrassment to say how I really feel about their questions, is now very angry with me. Not to mention I lose the customer everytime-lol, that I can live with , but the anger and sometimes cyber bulling that comes after from them,  I can not.

Hi Lisa,

 

To answer the second part of the response, just tell them no. Since they have now become a competitor, tell them it is best that they now find the manufacturing process that best suits them and the recipe that best suits them. Your trade secrets are just that, YOUR SECRETS. Don't feel bad about protecting what you have worked so hard to develop. Offering advice is one thing, and you would have to determine what you are willing to share with them, but giving up what has helped you to become successful, you should never feel embarrassed to just say no.

I'm with Yoki on this one, Lisa - don't be afraid to draw a very firm line between being helpful and giving up your secrets.  First, make sure your FB page is really drawing a distinction between being a promotional page for just your business, and not a group site for sharing tips.  It sounds a bit like those cyber-bullies have mistaken your page for a group page rather than a business page.  You might want to look into some group pages for tip-sharing, and gently direct these people to such sites.  You can state firmly that you don't share your trade secrets, as they are what make your products special, "but here is a great site for hobbyists who like to share info..."  Distinguishing yourself as a business and not a hobbyist may drive the point home.

This may become more of a problem for all of us as soap and cosmetic-making becomes more and more popular.  I have some one who is dangerously close to inquiring about my secrets, too!  We have to decide what kind of info we will share on our pages and come up with a general response for people who ask for tips.  Have a list of general suppliers (but not necessarily your favorite ones!) and self-help sites available to direct people to, but when they ask directly for your recipe, simply state, "that is something I don't share".  As long as your page is distinguished as a business page rather than a group page, no one can blame you!

 

Thank you Yoki and Katie, very  sound advice:) and  I got a real troll on my FB today-lol it was awful, same old baggage from a long ago forum,  those cyber bullies , they know its my biz page and said so and why they felt it was there place to speak up their complaints as customers, even though they openly admit they will not order and have not in years, but they are mad about the way I run my business, they say it is un-business like and too personal. It has gone around and around, people don't like how they have to fight for product , they want what they want and they also do not want it to take a long time so they want it now, so I can't win. But I have been:) most of my customers this last year say 98% are with me for the artisan quality of my stuff, and don't care I take awhile. So today they were at it again pissed off at how long it takes me to make my stuff and my sales have tripled, even though these cyber bullies don't buy anymore, but they hate seeing all the people that do. I stayed out of it, I said my peace without attacking anyone and that I do my job by making product and concentrating on the the stock counts, who and how much people buy is not my business, but man, this woman had a case of the lastworditous, and 50 comments insued with my faithful customer base getting angry with and into it with her, but I knew if I said a word it would get worse so hopefully it has died down now. FB , friend or foe-lol

Whoa Lisa!

 

What those few did was uncalled for.  You did well by staying out of it, because like you said, it would have gotten worse.  Jealousy is an ugly thing and this was an attack rooted in that.  Why would anyone have to fight for product?  What does that even mean?  I'm gathering you customize and that is what they want but they do not want to have to wait for it.  Fact is, we all must wait for stuff all the time...a stall in the ladies room, a sale to go up on merchandise we want, a red light to turn, a baby to be born, a mate to come along, etc. Why should exclusive artisty be any different?

 

One thing you can do is to closely monitor thing, especially when that stuff is going on and promptly delete the posts as quickly as they go up.  You may check about having all their posts blocked or ban them as well.  Not sure if that is possible on a fan page unless they are on your personal friends lists, where I know you can block their posts. This can be very disruptive and a quick turn off for prospective customers.  They know this and that's why they do it. You don't want it happening too often. I hope this helps in some way

 

~~Ginger

Wow!  it sounds as if these ugly people have been good for business!!  Sometimes a troll gets ganged up on by your loyal customers, and your sales grow!  Joke's on them!  You are right to keep quiet and let the drama ensue.  But Ginger is correct, when they rear their ugly heads again, hit delete fast!  See if you can block them, and definitely report them to facebook if you can.  People who behave this way most likely have very unhappy lives and are just looking for someone to dump on.  Don't let them dump on you or soil your facebook page any longer.  Their problems are not yours.

Katie

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