Written by Marta, Editorial Director of GigMasters.com
Although I’ve written versions of this that were definitely rants, I feel like I’ve calmed down a little and now have “a discussion I would like to start with others in the wedding business.”
Let me share some stories. A friend of mine, with a decent size blog following and business was recently booked to appear on a national television show about weddings. Unfortunately, a big, gigantic, mammoth wedding site decided that they wanted to be the sponsor of that show. Not only did they say my friend could no longer appear on the show, they forbid that company’s name from being mentioned.
Now, this would make sense if say the big company was Coke and my friend was Pepsi. But this is more like the big company is Coke my friend is the old lady who runs the Italian Ice stand down the street (without the mole on the chin). She does ok for herself, but does Coke really need to go nuclear on her?
I actually used to work with one of the bigger named wedding companies and a few years ago I switched jobs to work for GigMasters, which is less well known, but much more fabulous! I sent out an email telling all my contacts where I had gone and letting them know all the ways I’d be able to help them out in my new job. These are people I’d worked with and done favors for in the past. One fairly well known name (not as big as my old company but much bigger than me) sent me back an email with no personal message and her advertising rate card.
Recently, we at GigMasters held a contest with two other companies and asked our blogger and social media friends to help promote the contest with a Tweet or FB post. Most (like Bitchless) were super sweet and did so right away. It costs nothing to send a Tweet and she now has three companies waiting to do her a favor in return.
A few people ignored the request, which hey – it happens. But one company, a company that has asked and received favors from all three of us in the past, said she has a policy of only promoting things from people who advertise with her. Another company offered a tweet and a FB post for $100. Let that sink in, $100 for a Tweet from a mid-level wedding company.
Now, I am not one of those people that believe social media is free advertising. I am in fact, a social media strategist. I make good money helping people figure out the best ways to use social media. I believe that if you are going to go to bat for a company and use your resources and friends to help them, you deserve to be paid for it.
But, I also believe that the way the world and social media works is by helping each other out. A few years ago at my old company I worked with a huge name in the industry. She was sweet as can be and very supportive of me when I changed jobs. Then, because of a corporate takeover she lost her own job. She’d jut had a baby and wasn’t really sure what she wanted to do next.
Even though she’s much better known than I am, I was able to hire her to do some freelance work. See how that works? You never know when you’ll be up or down and you never know who might be in a position to help you. It would be great if we all helped each other because we are all nice. But even if you aren’t nice, you should help people – because in the end, it’s good for you!
The company I mentioned that said she wouldn’t tweet because we don’t advertise with her, I noticed that the same day she started a LinkedIn conversation asking, “Do you follow and Like your competition on social media?”
I do. Not only do I follow them, if they have something interesting to say, I RT it or post it on FB, or leave a comment. You know why - because they aren’t just my competition, they’re MY COLLEAGUES!
Also, it ‘s good for my traffic. If brides think of us as a great place to get information, no matter where that info comes from they’ll keep coming back to us. See, again, if you can’t be nice because you’re nice, be nice because it’s good for you personally!
What do you think? Am I naïve and unrealistic in thinking that the least we can do for each other is a little tweet here and there? Should we view each other as competitors or as potential colleagues? Do you charge to be helpful? If you don’t charge do you risk being taken advantage of?
Am I an idiot for putting my name on this post?
Marta, Editorial Director of GigMasters.com
p.s. all the opinions here are mine. So if you don’t like what I said, don’t take it out on GigMasters!