I hope you enjoy my new blog, with fluffy love and quacks, Mother Duck xxxx

Saturday, 5 March 2011

All's fair in love & War or can I write graffiti on your shop front to let your customers know what I am selling?

All's fair in love and war ... or maybe not. When you have a business, unless you are someone that literally provides something nobody else on the planet does, you will have business competition. Some businesses in the big wide world do fight dirty when it comes to competition, after all they say business is business, but generally most take the view that to compete they have to be more savvy & produce better products at a competitive price. You advertise your wares where you expect your target market will see it or hear it, you get to know your market and play to it. What you don't do is write on the store front of your neighbouring stores to let their customers know what deals you have on right now. You produce a better window display, better advertising and create better deals for comparable,if not better products.

So why when you use face book to sell your goods do you ignore best practice? Good manners and common sense should come into it somewhere. If you are crafter that sells on facebook or uses face book to gain a following that you can steer towards your website, Esty or Folksy shop etc, then you will no doubt have found others selling similar or the same type of products as you. Look at it as healthy competition, use it to improve your product and services so that people will keep coming back to you BUT don't think that they are 'stealing' your customers, indeed they may even steer people to you if they don't make something they are being asked for but you do.

Don't get me wrong, I know that there are some unscrupulous vendors that will blatantly copy your work, try and pass your photographs off as their own and even directly ask your customers to go to them instead of you. But they are actually in the minority, the majority of vendors on fb do support each other, join business networking pages etc so why not make the most of it.

The problem is deciding what is acceptable, or not, for posting on another Vendor's wall. If they are happy for you to share a link great, but that doesn't mean they want your first visit to their wall to be an advert for your latest special offer, Auction, Sale etc etc  Some businesses would prefer that you never leave such information on their wall and you should respect that.

If you have a special offer, sale or auction and you are trying to get people to your wall to join in there are places you can post, that encourage such advertising & networking. Is it really acceptable to post the same information every 10 minutes or every hour so that it floods the wall of anyone that has signed up to your page? No, I don't believe it is, nor do I think it is acceptable to abuse the support from other vendors by directly posting on their wall about your special events without checking whether they mind or not. It's different if they are directly involved in your sale and are sharing the promotion of it. But why would you go to a page that sells the same or similar products as you and post repeatedly about what you are doing on your page, how would you feel if they did the same to you every few hours?

Manners and common sense should not go out of the window just because you don't have a bricks & mortar store. These things should be your guide in your business, that's not to say that it isn't sometimes hard out there to get customers, because truth be told it is hard for all small businesses to get and keep their customers. But if you forget manners and common sense and abuse the support on offer from other vendors you will find that your page remains hidden from their wall, sent to the spam box or deleted.

So what do you do? Make sure that you know which pages will let you post information on theirs, get yourself signed up to some of the small business networking pages, and get involved in any promotional events they run but don't abuse it; honestly, people really do send your page to the junk box if you over post on their wall.

enjoy your business, embrace the support offered by others and get involved in business networking.

love & fluffy quacks
Mother Duck