Thursday, September 15, 2011

Marketing Tidbit: "Senno Ecto Gammat!"

NOTE: Because today's "tidbit" is so long, I'll be back on Monday with the next installment.  See you then!

Senno Ecto Gammat
("Never again,
without my permission")
Don't "advertise" on your competitors' pages.  Not ever.  It's one of the fastest ways to get your page banned from posting again and will get you a nasty reputation in the indie business community.

As a matter of fact, don't even do it on your colleagues' pages without express (not assumed or implied) permission.

Now, I know there are a lot of people who think posting their promos all over facebook is an acceptable form of "networking," but it really isn't.  There are even quite a few people who don't mind spam on their pages, so when they spam others, they don't even know they're being rude.

Try thinking of it this way: you live in a small town with a 2 block Main Street and are in Luigi's Italian Restaurant.  Someone from Mario's Sicilian Eatery across the street wanders in and starts handing out sales coupons to absolutely EVERYONE.  Wouldn't you think that a bit unprofessional?  Which response do you think is more likely? (1) Luigi things excitedly "Oh boy! Now I can pass out my coupons in Mario's restaurant!" (2) Luigi tosses Mario and his coupons, a-fluttering in the wind, out the door.

Why is it that when we get behind a keyboard and monitor, all social niceties go out the window?  It's that darned feeling of anonymity we all have on the internet.  Since running a successful indie business means letting your customers get to know you and your company, let's bring back those small town business niceties, shall we?  We'll start with what NOT to do.

DON'T post links or contests to your business on a competitor's page!  Even the name-dropping and flattery in the first couple of lines doesn't excuse this bad behavior. This is very bad manners.

Fan fishing: a post by one artist on another artist's page
Asking for advice is, while acceptable, a little presumptuous.  Most successful indie business owners/artists just don't have time to answer every individual request for help, so those of us willing to help out will write blogs (*ahem*).  Try asking if they have already written or know of a post that addresses the issues you're asking about or, better yet, go search through their blogs yourself first.  If you really need one-on-one advice that only they can answer (meaning you're not just too lazy to do your own research), ask privately and be gracious and understanding if they don't have the time to respond.

DON'T post links on a colleague's page without permission.  Let's say instead of a competing restaurant, Mario owns a little street cafe that just sells coffees and gelato, and instead of coming into the restaurant, he hands coupons to everyone going in or out of Luigi's Italian Restaurant.

A new company's post on an established business' page
While this is admittedly more subtle that our artist friend above, it's still going to be perceived as begging for fans. This person snuck in a hotlink back to her own promotions business page!  Clever girl.  

Here's another, even less obvious, example of self-promotion on another company's page.
Posted on an indie makeup company's page (MUA="makeup artist")
You're not really "showing some <3" if you post like these folks.  No matter what your intent, your post will be received as an attempt to collect someone else's fans for your own business.

There are potential business opportunities here for all the businesses in this example.  They could cross promote, link share or even offer deals to customers who do business with both.  However, if we go back to the restaurant/gelato example again: the problem is that "Mario" didn't even ask "Luigi" if he'd be OK with him handing out coupons to every customer entering or exiting the restaurant.

I saying never post on other business' pages?  Heck no!  Post away!  But if you are going to post on someone's page, DO post something positive and substantive, for example:
☺ a fan photo of their product 
☺ ask a question (but don't pick their brains!) or even better,
☺ answer someone else's question!
☺ a "my [whatever that company makes] arrived, and I love it." 
☺ a link to their page from yours so you're sending your fans to them, like these companies:

It doesn't matter whether you're a Mario, a Luigi, a start-up makeup company or a struggling new artist, don't make a posting faux pas like the companies I pointed out did.  Promoting your business on other pages without permission, no matter how subtle you are, will eventually get you in trouble.  Just ask Korben Dallas. Not asking permission is how he ended up with Leeloo pointing that formidable looking gun in his face.  And none of us want to end up in that situation, now do we?

Do you have an indie business question or tip?  Drop me an e-mail at and let me know!