Part 1 - Promotions
Let me start out with the positive stuff. Etsy was my very first forum experience, I met my first troll, saw my first flame war, and over the last two years, I watched some truly amazing acts of kindness unfold. We are, it seems, all in the same boat and because of that we are bonded in a very real way. People freely give advice and wisdom without hesitation. I wonder however, amongst all this goodwill, if people are really forgetting that we are all ultimately, in competition with each other.
Some of us are only competing in a loose sense, for the disposable income of consumers, but others are in very direct competition. I've always been a bit confused at the way this dual relationship plays out, especially in the Promotions forum. To make my point, I'd like to break down the basic kinds of posts we see there:
- New Listing/re listed, etc. - Basic cry for attention.
- Show me your Red/vintage/wedding/flowers, etc. - Focused cry for attention, slightly more likely to draw customers with a specific need.
- BNR/buy from this list - Snake eating its own tail.
- Sale/Milestone/Hearts and Views - advanced cry for attention, unlikely to draw customers, only other sellers with a similar need.
- Let's support each other - often begins with the phrase, "aren't you just sick of people who post and run". Seemingly designed to make people who have other things to do with their time, feel bad.
Let's face it, we all want a little attention for our shops, for our products and for ourselves, but does that mean that we need to spend hours making false compliments and replying in the same forum thread to legitimize posting your newest item. I get it, I do, you don't want to spend your time looking at my listing, if I'm not gonna look at yours. What I think a lot of people don't get is, getting views, especially from other sellers does not equal sales. Sure, we've all gotten a sale or two from the forums, but not because you spent an hour complimenting other people. You got a sale from the forums because someone, a buyer, saw what you posted and liked it enough to buy it. That same buyer could have seen you on the time machine or a simple search.
After I had my baby, I took a long forum break. When I returned, I began to quickly notice that the familiar faces were gone from the forums, but not etsy. I tried to get back into the swing of things on the forums and I'm ashamed to say it took me a long time to figure out why they had most likely left. I'll still jump on the promotion bandwagon from time to time, but I refuse to feel guilty for not looking at something I'm sure I won't buy or not leaving an insincere compliment so you'll look at my stuff. No one really needs 100 views on an item from people who would never buy it, when 1 view from someone who would is so much better.
Next: Part 2 - Street Teams