Don't be that guy: why wedding vendors shouldn't publicly rant about work

February 24 | offbeatbride

angry-wedding-vendor-faceA significant portion of Offbeat Bride's readers are wedding industry folks doing market research and keeping up with industry trends. Some of them are even doing respectful marketing, leaving comments that are thoughtful (and non-self-promotional!) that help them connect with our readers. It's lovely!

Every once and while though, a wedding vendor will perhaps forget that Offbeat Bride isn't an industry publication. Every once and a while, we'll get ranting, vitriolic comments from vendors about how stupid brides are, how little couples understand about what vendors do, how this one time this one couple did this totally awful thing, how they want to strangle a certain mother of the bride, etc etc etc.

But wedding industry friends, for the good of your business: don't be that guy. Do not alienate potential clients by ranting publicly about your work frustrations on a publication read by couples.

I want to be clear about this: I totally get it. Like any job, working in the wedding industry can be frustrating. Like any job, you deal with people making the same mistakes over and over. Unlike some jobs, there are a lot of emotions and family dynamics involved. So I get it: working weddings can be complex and exhausting.

However, when you leave public comments on Facebook about how no one understands how hard you work and you want to assault a bride's mother? That's not a way to win friends and clients. When you leave a comment on a wedding blog about how brides are rude? I've seen our readers reply with comments like, "You're only confirming all the reasons I don't trust anyone in the wedding industry."

For me as a community manager, of course these ranting comments are troubling. I can handle that, though… I deal with troubling comments all day, every day. It's part of MY frustrating job.

My larger concern with ranting vendor comments is that from a marketing perspective, they're TERRIBLE FOR BUSINESS. Not my business, YOUR business. You know a quick way to ensure you won't get clients? By complaining about them to their faces, "educating" them with hostility, or flat-out telling them they don't appreciate you.

My advice? Find a nice private corner of the web to vent. There are numerous private online communities dedicated to wedding vendors networking and kvetching, and I think they're extremely valuable. We all have frustrations we need to get out! Work can be a pain in the ass, and trust me: as a wedding media publisher, I GET IT. I truly, seriously, majorly understand… more than I could ever admit in public, really.

But when wedding vendors leave hostile comments on a publication catering to their potential clients? They're damaging their professional reputations, and missing a marketing opportunity.

Don't be that guy.

  1. When someone presents a common misconception about their job in a way that's insightful, educational, level-headed and positive, I instantly trust that person and my perception of them as an expert in their craft is instantly boosted. It also helps me to be kinder to professionals in that field in the future.

    When someone presents a common misconception about their job in the form of a judgmental, angry, condescending or bitter rant, I instantly consider that person to be unprofessional and assume that this person's career will be ending soon. It comes across as someone who's going to treat me unkindly and will possibly not deliver on the work I've paid them for–even if I don't engage in the behaviors described in the rant.

    I'm just sayin'.

    43 agree
  2. I've seen this a LOT on brands blog or social media pages too. I just saw a post in Facebook group that I belong to about a indie maker who has complained about sales and threatened to quit their business. And it went from about 4 people who said they were aware of the situation to 70-something comments, most of whom said they were glad they never bought from the brand, did not plan to buy from the brand or HAD bought from the brand and now no longer planned on doing a review of their purchase.
    That's not even including people like me who saw the post and didn't comment, but thought, "Holy hell. I wouldn't buy from that seller either." And that's out of a group of 600 people, so even if the post was only seen by 50%… I don't need a CPA to tell me that those numbers suck.

    I really love how we can connect online, but I've unfollowed brands or makers on Twitter and Facebook who treat their accounts like personal accounts. I had a favorite nail polish blogger, but I really got tired of her references to her partner and what they ate that day. (She rarely if ever mentioned the partner on her blog, so it wasn't like he was a supporting member to the blog or anything.) And I had the same issue with a indie maker who kept vetting bottle options and crowd-sourcing labels through her fans. (A little bit of feedback is cool and I'm glad to be a part of it. Just not oads of it before you've even launched…)
    It's not that I don't like getting more personal or behind the scenes with my favorite brands; I just want it done in a more professional way. I mean, let's be friendly, but we're not friends.

    5 agree
    • I have separate twitter and G+ for my personal vs. solopreneur selves and while it is totally a pain in the butt … comments like yours remind me why it is worth it.

      3 agree
    • So, just out of curiosity, if this is true: "It's not that I don't like getting more personal or behind the scenes with my favorite brands; I just want it done in a more professional way. I mean, let's be friendly, but we're not friends."

      What would you prefer brand accounts, and more specifically individuals who "are" their brand, like the nail polish person you mentioned, discuss? Are you following them for something in particular, like discounts or new product announcements, and the rest is just noise to you?

      For what it's worth I'm not a person who has social media accounts like that, your point of view just piques my interest since I have experience in social marketing and PR for (bigger/more corp/less applicable) brands.

      2 agree
      • It is true, because I just prefer that the social media stays relevant to the general backbone of the blog or brand, at least 80/20%. I follow for announcements, sometimes for discounts or giveaways if it's a seller, but a lot of times it's just because I enjoy the content of the blog and want more. I like those accounts that use them like true microblogging; here's some content that is awesome but not substantial enough for a full post. Here's something fun or funny I found that is in line with my humor on my blog. Here's more content like what I already provide, I enjoy this other person's work so you should check them out too.

        I feel like readers follow enough people that are all, "Mmmm, had Mexican today at Mattito's! Yum!" We don't need it from random blogs or companies too, unless it's done in a way that's relevant to their brand.
        Like, if this is the best Mexican food you've ever had, then cool, I'd like to hear about it, maybe I live nearby and could go there.
        And if you're a food blogger, sure, but maybe with a note about a recipe similar on your blog or how you might try it on the blog sometime.
        A nail blogger could go, "Ate at my favorite restaurant today, my mani matched the sopapillas!" and tweet a picture of it.
        With my blog, which the brand is just me (when I update) I might go, "Went to Mattitos today. Mispronounced "enchiladas." Twice. Even the clay burro full of salsa was embarrassed for me. #failedTexan"

        But don't just give me, "Mmmm, had Mexican today at Mattito's! Yum!" type posts twice a week. That's basically, "I put food in my mouth. Yummy yummy, in my tummy." I'm not your mom, I don't care whether you ate or not. And maybe the bigger irritation is not that it's not relevant, but that it's mundane? Talk about your lunch, but for fuck's sake, be interesting about it.
        Again, friendly, but not friends. And to be fair, I don't care for those posts on from people I know either, but you're not my Aunt June whom I can't hide because it will make Thanksgiving uncomfortable. And I'm not just talking about a few posts here and there, I'm thinking of those who do it regularly.

        This is coming across massively cranky, and not as thought out as I would like, but it's just how I feel about the subject. It's not my place to dictate how people run their social media accounts and if I don't like it, I unsubscribe, if I think about it. A lot of times I just ignore it because I'm lazy. Which is almost as good as unsubscribing with the way Facebook works now, because it's my understanding that the less I interact with a brand, the less they show up on my feed. And for some brands, I'm a superfan and don't care what they talk about, I'll probably like it. (Ariel wants to post on Offbeat Empire's Facebook about what she found in the bottom of her shoe the other day? Cool, lemme see!)

        I just feel like social media is a chance to reinforce your brand and remind your readers why they read you in the first place. Use them for mini-content and to show bits of your life and personality, but save the rest for friends and family who love you even though you're sharing that Pin about the iodine and baby oil as a hair remover treatment AGAIN, Aunt June, and I've already told you three times it's doesn't work and you're just going to make a mess!!
        Anyway, that's my two cents as a professional opinion-haver with no recognizable credentials at all.

        13 agree
        • Even cranky, I really liked your breakdown of how to use a mundane event and turn it into a marketing moment. Bravo!

          6 agree
        • Haha, I actually don't think you came across super cranky at all (just a little cranky). 😉

          I probably should have given *even more* insight into where my question was coming from, but I didn't want to be long-winded. Basically, for corps and bigger brands, or brands even just that are definitely more than a single person, it's hard for a social media accounts to trip into the mundane things that bug you anyway… if only because it's WAY too personal, and the people behind those accounts likely have their own personal social media stuff where they can insert their Mexican food adventures.

          But for little, one-person brands I assume a lot of them really only have one set of accounts. I'm not really disagreeing with you on the marketing opportunities front, but I think now would be the time I'd say to anyone listening: Hey folks, maybe don't consider all your social media accounts as marketing opportunities. For the straight dirt, I have pro experience in social media working with some sort of big brands, and it is exhausting. Therefore, my own private accounts are quiet, lurky, and … can I say private again? 🙂

          • Yeah, you saw how long-winded I get, you didn't need to be so considerate. 🙂

            You're definitely right, not everything should be marketing. That would lead to more crankiness because then it's disingenuous. (And it's obviously all about not making me cranky…)
            And I should point out that all of these accounts I'm referring to are supposedly brand accounts; they are fan pages or accounts that are specifically for the blog or seller's store. I have people for whom I follow both their personal and blog FB pages or Twitter, and there are some that post blog info under their personal account. I'm not about to judge what Jane Awesome says about things, but if I'm following the Awesome Blog, I want only Awesome Blog relevant stuff.

            I've derailed the hell out of this, but it all leads back to the original post and part of what I feel like Ariel is saying—separate private and public personas and opinions online. I know some people feel like they need to put all of themselves online and that "my blog IS me!" but it's really really not. Be mindful of what you share, unless you really don't care how you're perceived.

            And don't make me cranky, lest I grouse about you on Offbeat Empire.

            3 agree
        • I just want to give you a massive fist-heart-bump. I hate this stuff from anyone on social media, but I ESPECIALLY hate it from brands. It's so freaking fake, because I know that if I saw that person in the street and was all like "Oh yeah, so Mexican food!", they'd be like "Um, who the hell are you, get away from me." The fake closeness that social media creates really grinds on me.

          Though, I don't feel as much that way here on this blog, because I genuinely feel that Ariel is actually connected to her readers. Like, once I sent an email about not being able to access the Tribe (during the great Tribe-outage-depression of 2013), and Ariel actually replied to me! *swoon* Plus, she comments on people's Tribe posts all the time, and comments with fantastic things like about Terry's boy-parts in the main blog today. And this has now turned into me ranting about how much I love Ariel, so I'll stop, and just say "Dude. I feel you."

        • I couldn't agree more! I've unfollowed many a social media account because they talked about mundane things. Like, "it's raining. boring day at the Lush NL office". Dude, I follow you because I want to know about your products and maybe contact you for customer service some day. If I wanted to know the weather in Amsterdam I'd check the freaking weather report.

  3. I'm just starting out in business. This is very good to know. So far the only things I've posted on my business page are funnies and photos of any of my items that I've created that day.

    • See, unlike Alyssa up there, I'm more inclined to say that businesses can post whatever they want on their business pages (it's your page! You can use it how you like!).

      My goal with this article was to say encourage business owners to think twice about posting rants publicly on publications catering to their target market.

  4. I agree. Everyone has frustrations at work and with life in general, and keeping it to private conversation, email, and a lockdown Facebook page are key.
    There was recently a huge 2 1/2 page article about us in the local paper and while the reporter asked me questions hoping I'd rant I would not go there and kept it to one sentence "there have been tense moments between family members" etc. She then asked to interview a client who did, and then they PRINTED it! I'm embarrassed for the client and what she said about her Mom, but pissed at the paper for making a focus of it. Who's really to blame? All the Bridey TV shows who are dying for drama. It's getting out of hand, don't you agree?

  5. Oooh, I've seen this twice in the past week and felt a little breath of relief to know that I will never, ever hire that person. Thanks for letting me know, Business Person! One was a photographer of kids that posted this attacking, education via hostility type ranting about a particular mom on a Facebook group for selling things in our area. From what anyone could tell, all that mom did was try to match up their schedules for when he could take pics of her kids…but his side was how about how inconsiderate she was not valuing his precious time. What's the real story? No idea. But I certainly don't want to hire him for such behavior.

    The other one was an etsy store owner ranting about selling to people who are gay. Thanks for outing yourself, I won't be needing anything from your store!

  6. Here's a question I've been longing to ask for a while–I was once told off by a wedding vendor for asking too many questions about her products and not being "educated" about what I wanted before I came to her. I was prepared to pay a lot (to me) for her work, but in the end I was scared of her and thought I might order the wrong way and she wouldn't tell and just let it be all messed up because I "should have known." So I went to another vendor who was lovely and told me what the best options for our wedding were–great experience.

    Ok, now the question–I thought about emailing the first vendor and explaining why she lost my business, and my $500. I thought it might help her understand that while she spends all day every day on this stuff, most of us are doing it for the first time and don't have her "education." If she expects her customers to be experts, she's going to lose more business than just me. My (now) husband talked me out of it, saying my comments wouldn't be perceived as helpful and I'd likely get another snarky response. So I left it, even though I felt bad about the whole thing–she obviously did really nice work and people are going to be missing out on that. Would there have been anyway to politely suggest she tone down the snark…?

    1 agrees
    • One thing that I've found in my work in the wedding industry is that I tend to book brides (and grooms) who have personalities that mesh well with mine. I meet with some potential clients and at the end of the meeting we both know that it isn't going to be a good match.

      It sounds like this vendor wasn't a good fit with you–there are some brides who do a simply impressive amount of research before they meet with someone and there are others that don't do any at all. Most are somewhere in the middle. If this vendor only wants to have business from clients who are knowledgeable about her product, that's her choice and her loss.

      I personally am happy to have brides let me know why they don't book with me and take the criticisms of my products or anything else in stride (some things are outside of my control). However, if a snarky response from her would offset any catharsis you would get by letting her know why you didn't choose her services, it's probably not worth it.

      It sounds like you ended up with a vendor who better met your needs, and that's a good place to be!

      2 agree

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