You love babywearing. In fact, you love it so much that you’re a Brand Ambassador for one or more companies or even a retailer of baby carriers. You’re a member of several online groups. You attend local babywearing meetups. You loan carriers to friends and strangers, and you adjust the straps of other babywearers in the checkout lines — with consent, of course! However, feeling as passionately as you do, how do you avoid spamming as a babywearing educator?
Arie Brentnall owns the Canadian Babywearing School. She is a passionate advocate for a number of brands, works as a consultant for assorted companies, speaks at conferences across the world, and loves babywearing as a lifestyle and as a tool for public health. She will be the first to tell you that you DON’T EVER need a particular brand to carry a baby, but she will also be quick to tell you which carrier she feels will give you the best experience and value for your situation. She agreed to share some tips for how passionate brand advocates can avoid spamming in local and online groups.
Without further preamble, here is Arie’s advice to you.
-Kristi Hayes-Devlin, owner of the Wrapsody brand
Babywearing Retailers and Brand Ambassadors
If you’re a retailer or a brand ambassador, you represent brands of carriers to the public. This means that a person’s impressions of the brand are often tied to their impressions of you! How can you communicate and interact in a way that isn’t salesy, leaving people curious and wanting more?
SPAM is a daily part of our online lives, so most of us have become adapt at completely ignoring it. SPAM is a lot like that famous description of pornography; it’s tricky to name exactly the spot where it crosses the line, but you’ll know it when you see it!
It’s sometimes hard to know when you’re crossing that line from providing helpful info about a product you have experience with to spamming a group with something they didn’t ask for. How can you learn to keep from crossing it? We’ve got some ideas to help you out.
Clarify Guidelines and Drink In the Culture
Know the rules! Most groups have spam policies or rules that tell you if, when and how you can promote a business, brand or event. Keep a short note with the rules of the groups you are in so you can easily keep track of each group’s boundaries and requirements. Set reminders that tell you when and how to post in each group you’re in, particularly if you’re a retailer or educator who often hosts events in your local community.
Consider the culture! What is the culture and tone of the group? Do members often share details of businesses or brand names? Or are you the only one posting about such things? If you aren’t familiar with the way the group interacts, post nothing and read until you know what the group’s tone is.
Be an educator first! Parents often ask for brand suggestions when what they really need is a bit of information. Consider this common post:
“FTM hoping to wear my new baby…what’s your favourite carrier for newborns?!?”
This might be where you see the perfect chance to respond with “I LOVE MY WRAPSODY!!!”. But what she’s really needing is an educator who can help her understand her own needs. Ask questions about the family’s lifestyle & plans for who will be using the carrier and where they might wear the baby. THEN make suggestions on style and brands of carrier.
Get to know the market
Suggest more than 1 brand or style! In the above example, once you’ve determined, for instance, that they would like something easily washable that fits 2 very differently sized people, you’re ready to make some suggestions.
“Wrapsody Hybrid wraps are great for new babies,like all stretchy wraps, and can be machine washed and dried and fit most people. You could also consider a woven wrap (name 2 available brands) or a mei tai/meh dai (ditto), but check if they can be machine dried since you mentioned that was important. All of these styles will meet your other criteria too!”
Some brand reps are reluctant to bring up other companies, but you increase your helpfulness and level of credibility when you do. As an educator and babywearing enthusiast, hopefully, your first goal is always to get baby up on the caregiver, no matter what brand the family chooses.
In addition to recommending more than one brand, know when to say no. Don’t recommend Wrapsody if it’s not the right fit. While it can be tempting to push your favourite brand, it doesn’t do anybody a favour to have been encouraged to buy something that won’t be the best option. The family won’t be happy with their carrier, and you will have lost credibility as a reliable resource.
Be a community member, not just an educator
Embrace the community! Be an active and genuine participant in the parenting and babywearing worlds in your area. Attend events and be active in online groups! Make sure that you don’t only post or show up to talk about Wrapsody or any other brand or product you’re passionate about. Instead, participate fully on as many topics as you can.
Be the best resource you can be; your knowledge and enthusiasm will shine through! Like most small baby carrier brands, Wrapsody is a brand built on family, fun and a love of connection. The Wrapsody team — and the owners of most baby carrying companies — have as their first goal is for people to be thrilled with their carrier and to feel that they had a supportive experience choosing it. As a brand representative, you are often a person’s first introduction to Wrapsody or other brands you love, and these positive encounters you create go a long way toward your goal of promoting the company or product you love.
Have you found these tips and ideas helpful?
What would you add? Any helpful tips we haven’t included here? Leave your thoughts as a comment on this post!
Latest posts by Arie Brentnall (see all)
- Passionate brand advocate? Avoid spamming as a babywearing educator. - July 1, 2017
- The Guide to Babywearing Weddings - June 6, 2014
- Babywearing Fitness: Give and receive the gift of movement - May 16, 2014