Inspired Art and Living with Fiona Stolze

Let’s Be Friends but if You Come With the Hard Sell, I’m Off!

I’m sure you’ve all experienced it in social media at some point or other. Someone connects with you, wanting to be friends and before they’ve even taken the time to get to know you properly, they’re in your face trying to sell you something or force the  latest affiliate scheme on you.

My immediate reaction is to put that person on the back burner. I feel as if my space has been violated in some way and certainly don’t feel particularly endeared to them.

inspired art and livingI wonder what it is that gives these people the idea that it’s okay to start spamming you with offers on their products just after they’ve got to know you? It’s the unwritten law on social media sites that you just don’t do this.

Basically it’s a complete lack of awareness. I get this all the time from people I know on all the major SoMe sites and just because many do, it doesn’t mean it’s okay. There seems to be a great deal of confusion around who is friend and who is potential client. To be honest, when I click on the  ‘accept friendship’ button, I don’t remember signing the agreement that you can step into my space  to sell me your stuff.

I think it really boils down to getting an understanding of what social media really is about. If you are interacting  this way on the Facebook, you will be engaging with others first and foremost as a friend. On Twitter you want to hear what others have to say and are building your network (as well as making good friends). You’ll reply to those you’re interested in and build up a relationship. And then, the more you bond with others, they are much more likely to share what you post. This is how your network grows, a support network of people who will recommend what you do.

So just stop and take a moment to reflect on what it’s like for the other person if you immediately overstep that boundary and try to treat this new made friend as a customer.

If you did that to me, I’d find you unattractive, pushy and unfeeling. I would probably stop interacting with you so much and I would have to tell you at some point that I found it unacceptable.  As I write this I am fully aware that there are probably many people who think exactly the same way about me and so it’s always a nice reminder for me to bring awareness to where  I might be exhibiting this behaviour in some form too.

And it gets even more puzzling. There are those people who even ask me to buy reduced goods from them that are similar if not identical  to the products that I create myself.  Really? They obviously don’t know it comes across as needy and desperate and I’m sure that’s not what they are intending.

If this is a practice you use a lot, why not take a moment to think about how others may receive it. Is that really the image you want to project on others? Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and ask yourself how you’d feel if they did that to you.

So if you’d like to connect with me, please remember, I’m glad to be friends with you and be part of your network, but if you try the hard sell stuff with me, I’m off.

Have you had any experiences of so-called friends trying to get you to buy their products and how have you felt? What did you do to deal with it? I’d love to hear your experiences here.


February 17, 2011 - Posted by | INSPIRATIONS


  1. Well said Fiona! The folks who use you to spam, push their products or phish are Not friends! I try to be very careful when letting people enter my SoMe world and if they turn out to be the types you describe, I immediately “unfriend” or even block (if they are That annoying!)
    I hope you get a lot of hits on this post — there are a lot of people who need to read this! Thanks and I’m going to share

    Comment by heidi alberti & atticus | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Heidi. Glad it struck a chord with you and thanks for sharing it around. I am developing a no-tolerance policy around this.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  2. thanks fiona for sharing! sometimes I worry about this with blogging — I hate posting on my fb profile too much with my blogs b/c I do not want to seem pushy with that either!

    Comment by Rachel Blaufeld | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Rachel, thanks for commenting. I think the difference with your profile or page is that it is your profile or page. And people come on there voluntarily because they like what you have to say. It’s the ‘I’ve got a 30% sale on until Sunday’ approach that I’m talking about for something that I am soooo unlikely to buy.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  3. hear hear, I totally agree xxx

    Comment by Judy Szabo | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  4. Thanks Judy. x

    Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 17, 2011 | Reply

  5. I agree, it’s annoying. I find it happens a lot with a DM after I follow someone on Twitter and I don’t even know them or them me yet! Why would I buy from someone I don’t yet know. Are they that clueless? It actually has the opposite effect. I’m so turned off, I’ll probably never buy from them.

    Comment by Susan Berland | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for you comment Susan. Yes, that’s it. It is such a turn-off and they don’t know what effect their action has had.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  6. I haven’t really experienced this yet, but probably because I am relatively new to Facebook and still growing in my understanding and in my networking. But it is good to know that this could happen and also know that it is not the norm and not feel guilty if I don’t like it!

    Comment by Donna McCord | February 17, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Donna, FB is a big stage for many people thinking they have a captive audience, (as indeed is twitter) but as long as we remain discerning and speak up where necessary.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 18, 2011 | Reply

  7. Well, maybe that is an American thing… The USA has become very pushy..
    Our market has diminished all over the world..
    We get stuff from China stuffed up in our stores so it is a personal thing when we go to Sam’s and say why are you selling Garlic from China. when CA grows enough for the whole USA… Artentina maybe but not China.
    We need to charge a tax on everything that comes in to our country… So maybe these people are just trying to share their wares with you?? what they are making.
    I am so shy about posting even on etsy cause I don’t want to step on anyones toes… Most of the people that I know on fb are silk painters and family..
    When i post – i am just sharing..
    So maybe you can tell me how this was done. Maybe my famlly doesnot even want to see what i am trying to sell… I need feed back on that.??
    I have canvas bags of product = everything from 45 and 50 inch delicately painted tableclothes, sarongs, scarves, many chiffon scarves, handies etc and am too shy to put them out there.
    After seeing the work that Marcia does, i felt that my stuff was not good enought. So I guess I am just the opposite
    I don’t ever sell anything except for return clients that I had in Colorado and minnesota.
    I don’t have friends that do art and wonder sometimes if the people that I know are sick of hearing about what I do.
    So just the opposite… What do you thing about what i have said.
    If it had not been for the skypers and people like Marcia and Marina, I was ready to quit the whole art thing..
    let me know… I have not had your experience with people trying to sell to me?? ruthie

    Comment by Ruth Conner | February 19, 2011 | Reply

    • Ruth everyone’s experience is different. If your friends aren’t artists, chances are they may find what you do really great and could already be talking to other people about it. I wouldn’t go looking at what others do and compare. Just remember that you and your form of expression is totallly unique.

      I have had people who make exactly what I make trying to sell their wares to me. I find it tacky to say the least. We network with each other. We are not each other’s customers, at least most probably not.

      I am learning to speak up much more now which is good. Don’t be put off by others Ruth and continue to put your stuff out there. x

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 19, 2011 | Reply

  8. Nice Fiona We all know as SNCC students how to act the right way. Most people see the word “friend’ and the think “customer” I was guilty of that too until Ann taught me better. I think networking is a good thing and i think there is nothing wrong with the idea of “lets do business together” And referring others who may need your (or my) services, but to blatantly just befriend someone with the end result of selling to them is tacky and unprofessional

    Comment by Julie labes | February 20, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks Julie. Networking is so vital to our online presence isn’t it. And as you say, it is okay to team up with others. It’s just that, nice to meet you, I’ve got a special offer on this week, approach that doesn’t go down well.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 21, 2011 | Reply

  9. I guess I’m too picky when I choose my friends. Thankfully I haven’t had this problem and I do not do this to others. I want people to come to my site to learn about whatever is going on inside my business industry or other things going on in Social Media or whatever. To sell isn’t top priority.

    Comment by Leona | February 21, 2011 | Reply

    • Hi Leona, Great to hear this hasn’t happened to you. Like you, I thought I was careful about who I chose as friends and yet…..Twitter is a breeding ground for this. Follow and then get the DM in reply with an offer. For me selling is a top priority as I want to earn a living, but I am focussed on where I do my sales. We always have to earn the right to be in someone else’s space, don’t we. Thanks very much for your comments.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 21, 2011 | Reply

  10. It’s really to bad this happens. I’ve hidden a few people from my FB feed because they were just posting too much “stuff” and then I end up missing something I actually would have cared about. It’s sort of like the boy that cried wolf. Too many times spam spam spam and then the one time you have something valuable to say I miss it because I’m no longer paying attention.

    Comment by Kim Tucker | February 22, 2011 | Reply

    • Thanks for your comment Kim. We have to just make a decision and stick with it. What works for us, what doesn’t. And trust that whatever you need to know will reach you in some form.

      Comment by Fiona Stolze | February 22, 2011 | Reply

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