How not to woo clients: insult your potential clientele online

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This morning we posted a wedding on Offbeat Bride about a bride whose wedding outfit included a shirt she wore on her first date with her husband. The post immediately went viral on Facebook, garnering a thousand Likes and 80k views in a couple hours. Inevitably, there were a ton of comments too, including this one:


While I’ve blurred out the commenter’s name and business name, I want everyone to note that this comment was left by A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER.

We use Facebook’s moderation tools to automatically auto-hide any comments that include the words like “tacky,” “tasteless,” and “cheap,” so no one saw this vendor’s snarky comment… but I want to stress to my wedding industry colleagues: this is not how you woo clients online. This isn’t the first time that a wedding vendor has left comments on our posts insulting the couples we feature. My mind is blown every time I see a vendor do this because, you guys: these comments are seen by your potential clients. When, as a vendor, you publicly insult a wedding, you’re sending several message about your business:

  • That you don’t want the business of anyone who likes this wedding
  • That you might make fun of your clients
  • That you don’t value professional communication, and maybe you’re just generally sort of a dick (remember Wheaton’s Law!)

Again: no one saw this photographer’s comment except for my editors, so it’s not a moderation or community management issue for us at all. I’m not bothered or surprised by it (I watch people be dicks online all day every day) but from a straight-up marketing perspective? Seriously, you guys. Don’t do stuff like this to yourself. It makes you look really, really bad.

Comments on How not to woo clients: insult your potential clientele online

  1. As someone who works in the service industry, as well as wedding gigs, SHEESH! Total faux pas!

    ….but at the same time, more business for me!! Wheee!! I love serving all types! 🙂

    • YES! That’s another reason negative commenting like this is a marketing fail… it gives your competitors a distinct advantage over you if they DON’T do stuff like this. It’s easy to look good when your competition makes a point to behave this poorly.

  2. For me, this sort of behaviour invites me to compare what you’re snarking on to your work–through an intensely negative and critical lens. And trust me, no photographer’s portfolio can escape my snark untarnished.

  3. Rude comments like that on social media and in forums are indeed revealing. It probably shouldn’t, after all the stories out there, but it does still surprise that someone wouldn’t be aware enough not to post something like that as a professional and/or business. That kind of personality often comes out in response to reviews, too, which I think there are also plenty of stories about, lol.

    • Absolutely! I am more likely to patronize a business or vendor that responded tactfully and respectfully to someone that gave them a negative review, even if they are rated slightly lower than a similar person in the same industry. A person who can take criticism and address it like a grown-up is someone that is actively working to improve their business and someone that I will give a chance (within reason, obviously – like a hotel that had bedbugs but “called an exterminator immediately” would NEVER get a second chance to me…..heebyjeebies much?).

  4. It’s just plain tacky (word chosen on purpose!) to be a vendor and say things like that on-line or in any environment! You might be talking to a friend at a restaurant but overheard by someone who had a meeting with you the week before and was considering hiring you!

  5. (1) Learn the difference between “their” and “there” before snarking on someone’s wedding. Idiot.

    (2) I thought it was fantastically awesome and meaningful, so apparently my taste level is “stupid and cheap” according to that photographer. Shockingly, I am unconcerned by this person’s evaluation.

  6. Friends, tell me I can’t be the only one thinking, “You’ve confused ‘there’ with “they’re”, AND you use selective coloring, so all of your opinions are invalid.”

  7. i know that u say you see this all the time…and i guess i don’t…cause i’m still like waaaat????

    But, what i do see is the INDUSTRY and how they say stuff affects me as an artist…..i’m amazed how opinionated we all get online about every single thing…i’ve even had to remove myself from photo groups…just because itz like geez….we don’t all ask for constructive (ah-hem) criticism! LOL

  8. Ariel’s comments are on point. Why would any vendor of any kind do this? It’s like “Anti-Marketing.”

    As a wedding photographer*, creative professional, business owner, and a human being with a sense of propriety and common sense, I am still surprised at some of the things vendors do, say, and even the way they treat their own clients. Ugh!

    *Full disclosure: I proudly advertise on OBB.

  9. CHIN ON FLOOR!!!!! If my toddler called someone else “stupid” she’d be in trouble. I’d hope an entrepreneur would know better than someone still wearing diapers.

  10. Seriously I don’t get how anyone could say anything negative about that outfit?!
    What comments like that make me think of is when people used to insist the world was flat or that women would never vote. The world is always changing and you adapt or die. That photographer obviously doesn’t see the signs.

  11. Ages ago I was working in a PR office and we had a vendor coming up from London. The vendor watched a Program called Britain’s worst pubs (note this was tabloid journalism at its worst and generally inaccurate) and a few of them happened to be in Glasgow. She actually called us up yo check out that it would be safe to come to Glasgow (duh yes). Moral of the story if you are concerned about your safety read the lonely planet don’t call a potential client and insult their city.

  12. As a singular person, saying something like “not my style, but cool idea!” or whatever would be more in line with how I’d approach it if I was even inclined to say anything at all. 99/100 I’m not in the least compelled to say “NOT FOR ME THANKS!” for something like that as, well, the wedding wasn’t for me. *

    As a business (if I am ever a business of myself, which I doubt), leave it the eff alone. Not your client, no one asked what your opinion was and you’ve put yourself out there as a jackass. Just don’t even do it!

    *True story, I tried to remember what I wore on my first date and the only article of clothing I could remember is too small for me at the moment. I do think the idea is really cute, though, if it can be pulled off. I think this bride did it really well, from what I saw in the original article.

  13. Out of interest, when these types of comments appear from those in the industry, do you point out their faux pas and that they’re going to lose potential business from the people reading the posts? Do they ever get a learning opportunity from it or does their comment just seem to disappear into the ether?

      • I feel incredibly naïve for neglecting to consider that now. Oh well, no harm done

        • Case in point: last week a FB commenter left a mildly rude comment about a wedding we featured. Normally we just hide that kind of stuff, but it was right on the edge of being rude and so I tried I replying instead, just saying “Remember, these are real people. Please be kind.”

          The commenter left a long huffy reply that boiled down to, “JEEZ IT’S JUST MY OPINION. IT’S A FREE COUNTRY. I CAN SAY WHAT I WANT.”

          So yeah: telling people on FB that maybe they shouldn’t be rude? Doesn’t generally play out very well.

  14. This reminds me all too well of the backlash that Angelina Jolie has been getting lately about her veil with her kids’ drawings (aw!). Seriously, when will people learn to shut the f*** up and respect others’ choices as to what they want to wear on their wedding days?

    • I can imagine that Angelina must be really broken up by all that backlash. She’s probably crying about it somewhere right now, in a private jet surrounded by her adorable children and super-hot husband, all because a few nobodies didn’t like her wedding dress and veil.

      … No but seriously, people who talk shit about others’ weddings are only making themselves look bad.

      • *googles Angelina Jolie’s veil*

        OH MY GOSH that’s the most precious thing I’ve ever heard of! And it’s so weird, I’ve seen pictures of her wedding dress on the covers of magazines, but none of the covers show the veil at all! I had no idea she’d done that, although maybe it was addressed on the insides of the magazines. I don’t look at those…

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