Sweet Social Media – The Duds

I’ve made it no secret here on Sweet Phenomena that I am compensated {in one form or another} for certain things, be that sponsored posts, paid opportunities, product reviews, advertising, etc.  I enjoy bringing you guys information about products and services you might not have known about, I enjoy getting to try new things, and I enjoy making a bit of spending money.

While some of this is accomplished by networking, through social media groups, and other means, a good majority is done by direct pitching.  This can be both fun and nauseating, at least for me.  You’re putting yourself out there, hoping that a business will see the value you’re offering, but primed for them to say no.

I have no problem with a polite “No, thank you.”  As a matter of fact, I welcome it.  If your business can’t {or doesn’t want to} work with me, please just let me know.  My feelings won’t be hurt, and I can move on.  And, it’s just plain courteous.

I went to college, I took business classes in high school, and I was taught that you always respond to a personal email.  I’m not talking the emails that you know have been sent to about 500 other folks, but one that has been specially crafted for you.

It annoys the crap out of me when I pitch a business and they can’t even take the time to respond to me.

Story Time

 

In November, Vince and I celebrated our tenth wedding anniversary {yay for us!}.  We never had a honeymoon, and ten is a pretty big milestone in the world we live in, so I thought it would be nice to really enjoy ourselves and celebrate.

Being a blogger, I of course thought, “I should find a few places and pitch them!”  The outcome would be two-fold:  we could get to take a fun little trip and the business would get social media street cred.

I was offering a two month social media package that consisted of a variety of things such as promotion on my blog, social media mentions, and other stuff, tailored to their business, for the duration of the year.  And I really wanted to do this right:  I offered to conduct interviews with chefs, PR folks, owners; I offered a blog series complete with separate posts on each aspect of their location; I truly wanted this to be something that properly showcased what they had to offer.

After all, you guys know if I love something, I let you know.  I get excited about it!

Pitch #1 went to Barnsley Gardens Resort.  I fell in love with the place, just from the website.  It had history, wide open spaces, a spa, outdoor activities, something for both of us.  We could relax, learn, do things together, and we’d both enjoy it.

I put together the email and sent it to their Director of Marketing {as per their Media Center page}, Sharon Ordono Cohen.  Then, crickets.  Nothing.  Still, to this day, nothing.  I would think that a company that has a specific section on their site set up as a media center, with the contact information of a marketing director, and all the special awards they’ve won, would at the very least take the time to reply to an email.

They didn’t.  Now had they done so, I’m pretty sure we still would have gone to the resort.  If we hadn’t gone for our anniversary, we definitely would have visited some time in the near future.  Because of this one small thing, they have lost at least one potential customer for life, and who knows how many more because of the fact that I have let people know how little they thought of me to reply.

I know I’m not a big-shot blogger.  I know I’m small potatoes.  But I am a person, and was a potential customer, which means I deserve respect as does anyone else.  They didn’t give me that, and that’s a big no-no in business.  Their marketing director should know that.

Did the Next Place Get it Right?

 

Um, no.

Next up is Bittersweet Cottage & Suite.  I found them when I decided I wanted to visit the Asheville, NC, area.  We were actually just going to book a few nights there, so I began conversing with one of the owners, Matt Clark, via email.  I had a few questions about the place that I needed answered before booking.  He  was prompt about getting back to me with answers.

Again, being the blogger that I am, I decided to pitch Matt.  I put together a social media promotion {similar to Barnsley, but again, tailored to Bittersweet} and emailed it to him.  I never heard from him again.  That’s right, the man who had promptly replied to my other emails  never sent me another.

As in the case of Barnsley Gardens, if he would have simply let me know they weren’t interested, I would have booked the trip anyway.  I would have told the countless family members we have in NC about them.  I would have eventually stayed there, and if I had loved it, I would have told you guys without being compensated for it.  Yet, just like Barnsley, they’ve lost a potential customer for life.

Final Thoughts

 

I know that I won’t always get what I want when it comes to blogging, or life for that matter.  I know that businesses are cutting costs and have to make tough decisions everyday.  What they did five years ago, they might not be able to do now.  Perhaps they’re already working with a blogger, perhaps I don’t have the numbers they need, there are many reasons that this wouldn’t have worked out for us.

That’s not the point.

Whether you can make something work or not, you always respond.  You give people that courtesy.  And that’s the issue I have with these companies.

So, if you’re a blogger looking to work with companies, just keep this in mind:  everyone doesn’t play nicely in the sandbox.  It’s just a fact.  Nice thing is, though, you can always come to your piece of internet real estate and let the rest of us know…

I’m happy to say, for every sorry experience, I probably get five good ones.  Most companies realize the value of what we do.  They are looking for a mutually beneficial relationship, and working with them is a pleasure.

Next week, we’ll talk about a few of my faves!