Protecting Your Business: All About Trademarks

Starting a new business venture is an exciting life decision that comes with many considerations; one of these considerations is the choosing of your business name! Soap and cosmetic businesses are popping up at a fast pace, and this means more names and trademarks are being registered each day.

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A trademark is defined as a symbol, term or terms that are legally registered or established by use as a representation of a company or a product. This means your company’s business name, logo, and unique product names can be trademarked-and if they are, using them may be unwise. In this article, we’ll touch on the basics of performing a trademark search and offer non-legal advice on why securing a trademark is an important way to protect your business!

History and Overview 

The first registered trademark was secured by the Averill Chemical Paint Company on August 30th, 1870-it was an eagle with a ribbon and the words, “Economical, Brilliant”. The oldest United States trademark still in use is trademark number 11210, an illustration of the biblical person Samson wrestling a lion, registered in the United States on May 27th, 1884 by J.P. Tolman Company (a rope-making company). Entrepreneurs have been protecting their business names and representations for nearly 150 years, and modern entrepreneurs are no different!

When talking about trademarks, the terms brand, logo and mark are used interchangeably trademark. Trademark also includes (but is not limited to) any brand, name, signature, smell, sound, movement or any combination of these components which separates the products and services of a business from other businesses. Trademarks are considered a form of property, and proprietary rights to the trademark can be established in two ways: either through use in the marketplace, or through the legal registration of the desired mark with the trademark office.

Registering a Trademark 

In the United States, there are a few steps to follow when registering a trademark:

  • An application is filed by the desired trademark’s prospective owner for registration.
  • Several months after filing the application, it is reviewed by an examining attorney at the U.S Patent and Trademark Office. This attorney will check for compliance with the rules of the Trademark Manual of Examination Procedure.
  • If the attorney finds fault with the application, the applicant will be required to address the specific issues or refusals before the mark can be registered.
  • If the attorney approves the application, it will then be “published for opposition”. During this 30-day period, any third parties who feel they might be affected by the registration of the proposed trademark can step forward and file an Opposition Proceeding to stop the registration from moving forward.
  • If no third-party steps forward to oppose the trademark registration, or if the Trademark Trial and Appeal board determines there is no grounds for opposition, the mark will eventually be registered.

Trademark registration can range from $275 to $325 per class and can be applied for online. It is imperative that, while completing all of the requested information for your trademark, you are very accurate. Inaccuracies in your application can result in the cancellation of your application, costing you valuable time and money.

Searching for a Trademark 

Performing a trademark search on your own is an important part of the application process. There are a few things to keep in mind when you begin your search:

  • Go broad within your industry. A trademark owner acquires the rights not just for its specific goods, but also for goods and services it is reasonably likely to offer. Performing a broad search, although time consuming, will help you get a firm handle on the availability of your desired mark.
  • Search for substantially similar names. If you are naming your company “Creative Scents”, for example, you should also do a search for “Kreative Scents” or “Creative Sense”. Similar names should be paid attention to; ignoring them could be costly down the road.
  • If you find that your name is already in use, stop. It is time consuming and a creative headache to find the name you want to use, and it can be very disappointing to find out it’s already taken. However, if you disregard unfavorable search results and decide to use the mark anyway, the consequences could be costly in regards to monetary damages and attorney’s fees.
  • If your search does not reveal anything, don’t stop there. Sometimes, performing a search on your own can be confusing. Especially if you are using a common term or phrase as a logo/company name, consider consulting a trademark attorney who is specialized in searching for registered trademarks on a client’s behalf. This can be costly, but for large businesses who are very successful and very public, this could be a business-saving step in avoiding a disastrous infringement.

Now that we’ve covered a few guidelines for searching, let’s talk about how to search. The U.S Patent and Trademark Office offers a valuable online search engine that is open to the public, called the Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS). TESS is a great tool for home use, but can be a bit confusing for those not versed in legal terminology. Regardless, using this as a first point of reference can save you quite a bit of time and money!

TESS is located on the USPTO website (www.uspto.gov). Once you are on this site, locate a section entitled Search Trademark Database. This will take you to another page with more details on the search process. When you’re ready, click on Search Trademarks under the heading, Trademark Electronic Search System (TESS).

Once you click on Search Trademarks, you’ll be brought to a page with several search options. At the top of this page, you’ll also see a link for TESS TIPS. We recommend taking a look at this page before you continue; it contains a lot of useful information about TESS and the search process.

After you’ve visited the TESS TIPS page, you’re ready to search. You can select any options, but the two that are easiest are Basic Word Mark Search (New User) and Word and/or Design Mark Search (Free Form).

Once you click on your desired method, you’ll be brought to the search screen. To get started, you can enter your desired mark. For the purpose of this article, we’ll be using the sample desired business name Creative Scents.

From here, you can search a few different ways. First, you can input the exact name of your desired mark; this will bring up every mark containing your search words (for example: searching Creative Scents will bring up every mark that contains both “Creative” and “Scents”, in no particular order). However, if you’d like to narrow your search, you can use quotation marks (“) to surround your search terms to find only marks that use the desired phrase. (For example: Creative Scents will yield every mark that contains both Creative and Scents. Searching “Creative Scents” will narrow the search results to include only marks in that exact order). 

Even if your search provides no matching results or similar names, don’t stop there! Now it’s time to look at the big picture. Companies love to come up with different ways of spelling names to be unique in a saturated market. It is very important to do a search for these variations too.

Using an asterisk (*) in your search will help to find trademarks that begin and end with your word. (For example: say you are searching for Creative Scents. Typing “Creative* and *Scents” will result in marks starting with Creative and ending in Scents. By connecting them with the word “and”, you will get Creative Scents as a result, but also results like “Creative Scentsations”.) These search methods will help you to find similar marks. Also, search for vowel and consonant substitutions (like “x” for “c”, “oo” in place of a long “u” sound, etc) to maximize your reach and eliminate the possibility of overlooking a very similar name with only a few letters different. Use the same consideration with numbers; try searching “4” in place of “for”, “2” for “too”, etc. Additionally, search your desired mark with abbreviations like “R” for “are”, or “4U” for “for you”. Searching for alternative name spellings is also very important; if you are attempting to register “Smith Soaps”, check for “Smithe Soaps”. Although it is technically a different name, it can still present a potential infringement.

To make things a bit easier, you can also use the wildcard character “$” in your search. “$” represents one or more optional characters and can be used to find alternative spellings. (For example: searching for $reative* and *Scents will yield both Creative Scents and Kreative Scents.) You can also use “$N” in your search; this can be used to search for a number of letter variations, where N is the limit of letter variables. (For example: Essent$2l would produce both Essential and Escentual.) 

I’ve Searched…Now What? 

Now that you’ve searched TESS, it is also strongly recommended that you perform a basic internet search for your company’s name. Much like your search in TESS, you will want to search in a variety of ways.

To perform an internet search, open Google (or your search engine of choice) and type your company’s name precisely as you’d like it. Then, enter your company’s name with an alternate spelling (if you’d like Creative Scents, type Kreative Sense, Kreative Scents, etc). Even if there is not already a registered trademark for the name, if there is another company using the name already, they can dispute your attempts to both use and trademark the name. Be thorough, and most importantly, take your time. Although searching TESS and search engines can be time-consuming, taking the time initially will save you a potential financial headache later on.

Maintaining Your Trademark 

If you do decide to register your trademark, there are special considerations when it comes to maintaining it. In the United States for example, failure to actively use a trademark for a certain period of time will constitute abandonment of the mark, and then anyone can use it. Abandonment also applies if a mark is registered with a description of a specific type of product or service, and is then used in a different category; if you believe you may span categories, it’s best to register it for each one. Also, if you register a trademark and it becomes generic or commonly used, it may be ruled invalid.

If you register your trademark and continuously use it, in theory, it will last in perpetuity, as long as the trademark owner keeps the mark registered with the USPTO by filing an Affidavit(s) of Continuous Use as well as Applications for renewal, if/when required. You’ll need to file an Affidavit of Continuous Use specifically between the 5th and 6th anniversaries of the registration of the mark or during the 6-month grace period that automatically follows the 6 year anniversary. During this renewal period, you can also choose to file a Declaration of Incontestability; this declaration will protect you by making your mark incontestable (meaning, immune from any future challenges). In the case of filing this declaration, you would still need to actively use the trademark, as it can still be subject to abandonment. You must also be mindful that you have registered it properly; fraudulent trademark registration is not protected under any declaration, and such a registration can cause a revocation of your mark. Additionally, U.S trademark registrations must be renewed on or before every 10-year anniversary.

Final Thoughts 

Trademark law is designed to protect the general public from being misled about either the quality or maker of a good or service offered. Those who register their trademarks are also viewed at a higher standard by consumers, because it is an incentive for business owners to maintain a positive reputation. We’ve given you quite a bit to consider in this article, but if there is one thing you can take away from it, it should be that protecting your business name, your products, and your reputation is tantamount to every other important business decision you will make. After all, if the adage “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” holds true, doing your due diligence before building your business around a particular name or mark can save you from costly rebranding or litigation down the road; a process that will inevitably cause financial hardship for you and your business, as well as potential damage to your reputation.

Don’t miss out on your opportunity to learn about trademark law at our 2017 Annual Conference! We are fortunate to welcome Robert Lippman, a Principal with the law firm of Lemery Greisler LLC, to our Speaker Lineup for the conference! He will be hosting a session called Protecting Your Business Brand-don’t miss out on this valuable discussion about intellectual property including trademarks, patents, trade secrets, and much more.

Register for the 2017 Conference today by visiting http://www.soapguild.org/cart/conference.php/!

Fantastic Fragrances and How to Blend Them

Making soaps and cosmetics yourself is an art form made up of numerous art forms; formulating, color theory, and fragrance blending are just some of the creative components needed to make a truly standout product. The art of perfumery and fragrance blending is extensive and complex; today, we are going to cover the basics and also take a peek back into the rich history behind the human race’s fascination and love for pleasing scent combinations.

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 People have been blending scents to create olfactory experiences for thousands of years; at least 5,316 years to be exact! The world’s first recorded chemist was a perfume maker named Tapputi, a woman who is mentioned in the Cuneiform tablet from the 2nd millennium BC in Mesopotamia. Between 3300-1300 BCE, perfume and perfumery was documented in the Indus Civilization, too. In fact, one of the earliest distillations of ittar (also known as attar) was mentioned in the Hindu Ayurvedic Texts (Charaka Samhita and Sushruta Samhita). 

Between 2004 and 2005, the oldest perfumery known to date was discovered on the island of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean. This factory existed approximately 4,000 years ago, during the Bronze age; it is estimated to have covered a little over 43,000 sq-ft (4000 m2), which tells us that at this point, perfume manufacturing was on an industrial scale.

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Islamic cultures made significant contributions to the development of Western perfumery in two ways: by honing the process of extracting fragrances through steam distillation, and by introducing new raw materials. After the rise of Christianity ended the use of perfume in most of the Middle East, Muslims improved its production and kept using it in their daily routines and while practicing their religion. In Islamic culture, use of perfume and fragrance blends dates back to the 6th century.

The very first modern perfume was produced by the Hungarians in 1370, commissioned by Queen Elizabeth of Hungary and known in Europe as “Hungary Water”. In the 16th century, Catherine de’ Medici’s personal perfumer, Rene le Florentin, brought Italian refinements to the perfumery and fragrance blending process from Renaissance Italy to France; his laboratory was kept a secret, and was connected via hidden passageways to Catherine’s apartment so that no one could steal his formulas en route!

Perfume grew in popularity exponentially in France during the 17th century. Perfumed gloves fragranceblending3were extremely popular, but with a caveat; French perfumers would also create poisons disguised as perfumes to be worn by unsuspecting victims.

The 18th century was the golden era of perfume, as Louis XV came to the throne; his court was called la cour parfumée (the perfumed court). King Louis demanded a different fragrance in his presence each day. Perfume was substituted for soap and water, and by the end of the 18th century, aromatic plants were being growing in France to subsidize the rapidly expanding perfume industry.

Fast forward to modern times; perfume and fragrance blends are still sought after luxuries that have become a part of both men and women’s daily routines. Fragrance is everywhere; perfumes, soaps, cosmetics, candles, cleaning products; comforting and clean scents can elevate a person’s mood or bring back memories, and consumers love the experience a well made fragrance elicits.

 

Speaking Fragrance 

As we said in the beginning of this article, fragrance blending is a complex and extensive art form that is not mastered overnight. The best thing to do when you decide to blend your own scents is to become familiar with some of the terms and definitions you will commonly find while learning about fragrance blending and perfumery.

Note(s): Notes in fragrance blending and perfumery describe the level, intensity and vibrancy of scents detected in a blend. There are three classes of notes: top (head), middle (heart), and base notes. 

Top Note: Also referred to as a “head note”, top notes are the scent that is recognized immediately upon smelling the blend. Top notes form a consumer’s first impression, and play a key part in sales based on their appeal. Usually, top notes are described as “assertive”, “robust” or “strong”. Some examples of top notes are: lavender, lemongrass, peppermint, eucalyptus, and bergamot. 

Middle Note: Also referred to as the “heart note”, middle notes can be described as the scent that becomes apparent just as the top note is dissipating. Typically described as “well rounded” or “mellow”. Some examples of middle notes are: rose, marjoram, cinnamon, chamomile, and tea tree. 

Base Note: Base notes are best described as the scent that appears just as the middle note is disappearing. Some examples of base notes are: frankincense, cedarwood, sandalwood, patchouli, and vanilla. 

Aroma: A term used to describe the sensation between taste and smell. This sensation can be invoked by scents like vanilla, chocolate or coffee. 

Cloying: A descriptive word for a smell that is excessively or “sticky” sweet. An example of this would be cotton candy fragrance oil. 

Earthy: A descriptive word for a scent that smells of freshly overturned earth, roots and a mustiness. For example, oakmoss and vetiver. 

Floral: Describes flower type scents, such as rose or lilac. 

Dry: A scent that can be described as lacking in the dewy or watery element that brings to mind crisp vegetables or fruits. A dry scent can be mineral-like or woody. 

Bitter: Describes a smell that is without sweetness and “sharp”. Not always an unpleasant quality, when utilized properly. 

Flat: A blend or scent lacking in richness and variety; can be perceived as bland. 

Forest/Woodsy: Described as an earthy or mossy scent. For example, cedar and oak. 

Fresh: A scent that energizes the person smelling it. Typically, this will nature-inspired or citrusy scents.

Herbaceous: Scents that are also frequently used in cooking and have a warm, earthy smell. For example, rosemary and basil. 

Medicinal or Camphorous: Pungent scents that have been used for the treatment of a variety of ailments. For example, eucalyptus and tea tree. 

Minty: A strong, crisp smell; usually associated with cleanliness. For example, pepperming and spearmint. 

Oriental: Warm, tangy scents. For example, patchouli and ginger. 

Fruity: Evokes the thought of fresh, ripe edible fruits. 

Citrus: A crisp, clean smell produced by citrus fruits like orange, lemon and lime. 

Spicy: Pungent notes like cinnamon and ginger that give a pleasant (or sometimes unpleasant) warm sensation. 

Sweet: Can be described as a scent that shares characteristics with a sweet taste. 

Fungal: Scents like mushrooms or mold are categorized as fungal. 

Green: A family of scents comprised of smells like fresh cut grass or a warm, live forest. 

Harmonious: In fragrance blending, harmonious indicates a blend that is well balanced and unified using amicable scents. 

Harsh: The opposite of harmonious; unbalanced, unpleasant. 

Light: Typically a non-sweet, non-cloying fragrance with a prevailing fresh note. 

Depth: This refers to the complexity and richness of the blend; full-bodied is also used to describe this sensation. 

Profile: The makeup of the blend and notes within. 

These are just some of the many terms and definitions used when blending fragrances; this is by no means the comprehensive and definitive list of all terms.

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Blending Basics 

As with any project, taking the proper safety precautions when blending fragrances is very important. Wearing gloves and goggles or glasses will ensure that you do not get the oils you are working with in your eyes; an unpleasant sensation that will take away from your blending experience for sure!

Safety: check. Now it’s time to take a look at what scents blend well together to create a harmonious, pleasant scent! Generally, oils that share a category will blend well. Here are a few examples to get you started:

Florals: Blend well with woodsy, citrusy or spicy oils (think cedar, cinnamon, orange).

Woodsy: These oils are versatile because they can really be combined with any of the categories (floral, earthy, herbaceous, minty, medicinal, spicy, oriental or citrus).

Spicy: Spicy scents blend well with floral, citrus and oriental oils, but be mindful not to overpower your blend with the spicy oils. Oriental type oils also share these matches, and the same risk of overpowering a blend; use sparingly for the best results.

Minty: Minty oils blend well with citrus, woodsy, herbaceous and earthy oils.

Now that you’ve got an idea of what oils go together, think about how you will blend them. Starting out small with a new mixture is the key to perfecting the blend; start out with drops in increments of 5 (5, 10, 15, 20, etc). Try not to exceed 20 drops total; a small scale like this will give you plenty of wiggle room to add as you like, without producing as much waste if you do not like the results. Speaking of waste, skip the carrier oils and alcohol during your formulation process to avoid wasting them if you are not happy with how your blend has turned out.

Establishing a ratio for your blends is also important. A common ratio for beginners: 30% top notes, 50% middle notes, and 20% base notes. The beauty of fragrance blending, like any other creative art form, is that there are no strict rules; this is merely a suggestion to get you started. Tweak and configure your ratio to fit your desired scent. Once you have blended your oils, let them sit for a bit; it can be tempting to use them immediately, or dislike them immediately. Instead, let them sit for a few days to allow the chemicals to truly interact and round out your blend.

Keeping Track 

Keeping your blends organized is crucial in the creative process. Keep a notebook or binder detailing the contents of each blend. Include things like the name of the supplier you received your oils and carriers from, the contents of the notes, and pros and cons of the scent. Describe what you enjoy about the scent, or what it reminds you of. Also, it is a good idea to note whether the scent changed after being left for a number of days, and if it was allowed to sit, how long this process took. Recording your recipe in detail like this will help you to revisit your best or worst blends intuitively, and either improve upon them or use them time and again with continued success.

In addition to keeping a notebook, make sure to label the bottles you are storing your blends in clearly and neatly; if the name or combination is too long, you can use numbers instead to correspond with the description in your notebook or binder to make things a bit easier. Make sure that the outside of your container is clean

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Final Thoughts 

Blending fragrances is an intense practice in patience and creativity. Mastering fragrance blending is no easy feat, and can take years to accomplish. The most important part of this process is to remember that, although there are guidelines for blending to help streamline the creative process, no two blenders employ the exact same techniques. Use your own preferences and vision for your product to determine its contents; each sense of smell is different; what smells a bit questionable to you might be someone else’s new favorite scent!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this article on fragrance blending basics! We’d love to hear about your favorite creations and the creative techniques you’ve used to perfect them. You can leave a comment here, or feel free to leave a comment on the Facebook post for this article!

Mind Your Manners: Social Media Etiquette for Your Business

 

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Social media; whether you love it or hate it on a personal level, its positive advertising potential is undeniable. A large majority of people, businesses, and organizations utilize at least one social media site; many take advantage of multiple platforms to get the most visibility. As with any advertising opportunity, one of the most important things to consider when you are in the public eye is your etiquette.

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“Did you see Ye Olde Shoppe’s awful response to my inquiry on their Facebook page? #Rude.”

Etiquette (or when referring to online behavior, netiquette)  is relative to the situation, but manners have changed quite a bit over the past few decades. Businesses are expected to put forth a professional and polite image at all times; even if they may think the customer is wrong. Where interactions between customer and business were primarily face to face before, now, some of your only interactions with your customers will be online. Because social media is public, this poses interesting opportunities; both the opportunity to spread the word positively about your business, and opportunity to lose dozens, if not hundreds, of current and potential buyers with a single post.

Following a few common sense rules of etiquette for your social media presence will help you to avoid situations where negative customer feedback or misunderstood posts could jeopardize your business. So, let’s talk manners!

 

Building a Positive Presence

 Before you’re ready to create your very first post, you must set up your business account on whichever social media platform(s) you have chosen. Avoid using your personaetiquette2l account to promote your business; having a separate page that your friends can choose to like and follow will be much easier down the road when others who may not be friends with you personally would like to check out your business. Once you’ve set up your business’ page, you’re not done. Resist the temptation to set a profile picture and begin posting. Set up your page completely and with all pertinent information filled out. An empty page will tell people that you are not ready to sell, are not organized, or are a spam page; all things which will deter potential customers.

Let’s Talk About Grammar

etiquette3 As a business, one of the most important things you can do on social media is make sure that you are spelling your posts correctly, using correct grammar, and utilizing proper punctuation. It is more common to write posts on our mobile devices now, and even though that’s convenient, autocorrect is not always our friend. Double and triple check your post to make sure that it reads properly. Also, avoid posting in all caps; this looks very unprofessional if used through an entire post.

 

On the subject of proper language use, let’s talk about hashtags! Hashtags are a marvelous tool that, when used properly, will allow your post to be organized with other like posts. There are a few things to remember when using hashtags, however:

-#Do #Not #Make #Your #Entire #Post #Hashtags. That wasn’t fun to read, was it? It won’t be fun for your customers either; in fact, they will most likely disregard your post completely. A proper hashtag would be: Do not make your entire post hashtags. #properhashtag #socialmediaetiquette. Easy, right?

Search your hashtag first. Recently, several large companies used hashtags to promote their product that were actually associated with serious issues such as domestic violence. Make sure that you search whatever hashtag you intend to use first so that you can avoid any social blunders when you post.

 

Consistency vs. Repetition

 In social media marketing, it is important to be consistent without become repetitive. For example, you’ve just begun selling a fantastic holiday scented soap; great! Your buyers will love to hear about this; but they will not love to hear about it over, and over, and over again via a copied and pasted post. If you have a new product or event that you’d like to promote, find inventive ways to do it. Avoid being repetitive by writing a new post each time with different wording. Is it snowing? Mention how wonderful a holiday scented soap would smell in the shower. Two weeks until Thanksgiving? Holiday scented soap makes a perfect gift for whoever is hosting your meal. By tying the item or event you’d like to market in with different posts, you will appeal to a wider audience without losing followers because of perceived spam.

Consistency is also key. Try to post once per day in order to stay relevant, but no more than three times per day (two should be your maximum goal). Try not to post too close together, or your previous post may get lost in the shuffle; posting once in the morning and once in the afternoon is a great way to get more views.  A common rule when it comes to posting on social media is the 80/20 rule: post 80% information and entertainment posts, 20% marketing posts for your business. In this aggressive era of internet marketing, those who follow your page have likely trained themselves to skip past posts aimed at marketing to them. Make your page likable and relatable by posting funny, industry related memes, thought provoking, industry related questions, and interesting, industry related news. You’ll notice there’s a common denominator there; industry related. 

 

Draw the Appropriate Line

 Let’s talk about the content of your posts. There are many things in the news now that spark differing and sometimes angry opinions; before you share that political meme or article to your business page, take a moment to consider the following;

Does this article teach my followers about my business or the industry I’m a part of?

-Is this meme relatable without making any of my followers feel targeted?

-Is this post detracting from the point of my page?

 

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Avoid giving your followers a reason to make this face at their phone.

It’s nearly impossible to please everyone, but it is possible to keep your business image separate from your personal beliefs to represent your product; this is why it is imperative to keep your business and personal pages separate. Try posting things to engage your customers; for example, try something simple like “What is your favorite fall scent?” or “What products would you like to see in the future?” Asking open ended questions will start a dialogue between you and your customers and can also give you valuable insight into your customer base. Now that you have people talking on your page, let’s move on to the next topic-replying to your customers.

 

To Reply or Not to Reply

 Have you asked an open-ended question and gotten some great feedback? Wonderful! Reply to it. Even if it’s something as simple as “Thank you for your input”, people like to know that they’ve been heard. It makes them feel appreciated for supporting your business, and let’s face it; without their input or loyalty, your business wouldn’t exist. On the flip-side, have you asked an open ended question and gotten a complaint? The uncomfortable news is, you still need to answer it. The better news is, you can decide how to do that.

If the complaint is constructive and polite, answer it publicly, and then follow up privately . If someone points out that they have waited additional days to receive product, or that a product didn’t arrive to their liking, don’t ignore it, and definitely don’t delete it. Respond honestly. “I’m so sorry that our service wasn’t up to our usual standards. Please check your inbox, we’ll be sending you a message in a few moments to get more feedback and your information! Thank you for giving us a chance to correct this.” Something along these lines will show others that you take complaints seriously, and handle them politely. Once you’ve posted this, proceed to send the person either an email or a direct message through whichever social media platform you are using. If you don’t follow up, there is a chance they will post publicly again, and the second time it might not be as polite.

If the complaint is rude, and/or uses obscene or derogatory language, remove it. You do not have to tolerate rude and abusive posts on your business’ page. In this case, it would be wise to remove the offending post and then reach out to the person directly to solve the issue.

In any communication that you have, it is important to reply quickly and professionally. Doing this shows your buyers that you truly care about their business, and it will help to build a stronger relationship; most people now would rather send a quick message than make a phone call, and making that option available and reliable is a good business practice.

Don’t Spam.

 No one likes a spammer! Don’t go to other business’ pages (unless of course you’ve been specifically asked to) and post your business information. If you find a brilliant status and you want to use it, give credit where it’s due; giving this kind of of recognition will help you to build respectful relationships with other business pages or customers. Lastly, don’t retaliate. This one can be difficult, especially if another business is taking the moral low-ground against your business on social media. Resist the urge to fight back; your customers will respect you more for not engaging in social media battles. If this is an ongoing issue and you feel it must be addressed, issue a polite, professionally worded public statement clearing up any misunderstandings about your company without name-calling or derogatory hate-speak.

 

Final Thoughts

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 Social media is an amazing tool that can help you spread the word about your business and products and can connect you with thousands of potential buyers. However, it is also important to remember that written communication such as emails, social media posts, text messages or even letters, can be easily taken out of context. Be mindful of what you post so that you can give others the best possible impression of your business!