Made in China vs. Made in USA? How to Handle Social Media Questions – Advice

With supply chains at a standstill, many small startups are left holding the short end of the stick. Beyond the frustration of widespread shipping delays and unfulfilled orders, a new layer of tension has been added between companies and their prospective customers—”are your products made in China?” A recent report from Google Trends (accessed 20 My 2020) closely mirrors what we’re seeing across social media.

Coming off the heels of one of the most bullish economic runs in American history, it’s evident that many have become accustomed to reasonably priced goods, achieved only through affordable supply chains that make those prices viable. Americans, unaware of the reality behind achieving sustainable ‘Cost of Goods Sold’ want to have their cake and eat it too. The truth is that American manufacturing isn’t feasible for many startups that don’t have access to the hefty capital required to establish these pipelines.

As COVID-19 continues to engulf our attention in newsfeeds and media headlines across the world, there’s been a subsequent awareness concerning manufacturing details. With more and more customers encouraged to support local businesses and participate in restoring the domestic economy, a question that was at once a rare factor in a customer’s purchase decision is now at the forefront of their mind.

What We’ve Seen

A large increase in the number of comments pertaining to manufacturing in China. Pre-COVID, manufacturing questions would be asked 3 times per week, on average, across all clients. We now see similar questions about products’ manufacturing locations being asked 15+ times per week, on average, across all clients.

Customers’ Potential Concerns

Potential customers might be:

  1. Concerned about getting the virus from products made in China 
    • “Do you sanitize your boxes upon arrival in the US?”
  2. Looking for ways to stimulate the US economy
    • “I will only buy this if it is made in the USA”
  3. Be concerned about poor factory conditions
    • “Do you meet labor standards?”

Post Response Template

For many consumers, there remains a stigma attached to the ‘Made in China’ label. If the inquiry is generic (“are your products made in China?), we recommend a variation of the following:

Hey [NAME OF COMMENTER]! Our products are designed in [YOUR BUSINESS LOCATION]. We manufacture our products in partnership with a factory in China to ensure they meet our expectations. We’re confident in its consistency, high-quality work, and good working conditions. While our team is based in the USA, we’re always thinking about how we can make out products better and streamlining the process from the work table to your front door. Thanks for the question!

Here is an example from major travel brand, Away:

“Our products are designed at our HQ in New York City and manufactured across Asia (in China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Cambodia), and we only partner with suppliers that have the exemplary and thoughtful work environments that we would want for our own employees. We’re always thinking about how we can make Away products better by thoughtfully sourcing our textiles, taking inventory of sustainability efforts, and streamlining the process from the work table to your front door (to the world ahead)”

Here is an alternate statement that we’ve used:

The factory we work with has been vetted extensively, for workplace conditions, safety measures and labor practices, and we’re proud to call them both partners and friends.

Response Strategies

While you should address these concerns, other users may be dissuaded from clicking on the ad if there are negative sentiments in the comments section. We heavily moderate our ads for sentiment. 

Here are our recommendations:

  • Facebook: Add a comment, mentioning (@) the asker with a personalized response. Then, hide their comment from public view, so that it doesn’t confuse other people on Facebook.
  • Instagram: Give a personalized answer via Direct Message. There is no “hide” option, so you may delete the comment after a while.

Call in the Experts

Our Social Media Management is best-in-class. Don’t hesitate to reach out and have us help take care of your growing customer base. We represent small-to-medium businesses with direct-to-consumer sales of $500k-$10M annually.

Let us help you! Contact Us today. 

Photo by Vinay Tadepalli

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