Has anyone else noticed that everyone and their mother, brother, uncle and best friend is part of some direct sales company on Facebook? For real! From eye lash extensions, nail accessories to weight loss products, jewelry and essential oils. Someone is selling something and adding me to a new group (without my permission) and inviting me to an online event or in-person party. Mind you, all of this is happening on my personal Facebook feed. Not business pages that I’ve liked and that I follow and want to receive updates to.
Interestingly enough, I am pro direct sales and multi-level marketing. I’m all about it and as you might know, I’m a Shaklee Distributor and was a consultant for The Shaklee Corporation for two years. I handled their blogger outreach, blogger relations and programs, consulted on social media and spoke at their global conferences training distributors on how to use social media. So in a nutshell, I’m not against anyone sharing their love for a brand or product online, I’m against how some people are doing it. And truthfully, from what I’ve seen, I can tell that most of the people doing it wrong just have no idea what they are doing. Or they are being taught by the wrong people who don’t know what they are doing. That is why I’m writing this post, to share tips on how to be in direct sales online and promote your business the correct way.
- Start a business page. If you’ve signed up to be a distributor for a company, you’re a business. Invite your friends to join you and like your business page. This is where you can freely talk about your products, parties, etc. If you talk about your business only on your personal page and you do it every-single-gosh-darn-day…you’re spamming your friends and family. It’s true and you need to stop because it’s super annoying. If I’m your personal friend, I want to see photos of your kids, hear about your great day and sure even see a photo of you loving that new health smoothie and your weight loss success. I just don’t want to see the sales and promotion 80% of the time. Oh and make sure your Facebook fans know how to see what you post because remember that is where you should be posting, not on your personal Facebook page. Should I repeat that? Do not post all of your direct sales stuff on your personal Facebook page.
- Tread carefully with groups. I’ve been added to more groups than I can count and I was never, ever asked if I wanted to join. That’s rude. If you want to start a private group, let your friends know that you’ll be sharing special information in this exclusive group and discounts, sales, etc. If they want to join have them send you a direct message and you’ll add them to the group. The other alternative is, send your friend a message and ask if you can add him/her. Be polite and considerate.
- Host online events in a private group or on your business page. I kid you not, I am seeing friends host “live” events on their personal page and it is blowing my Facebook feed up. I’m seeing a new photo of the essential oil, piece of jewelry or favorite new weight loss shake, every 5 minutes. That is nuts! If you want to host an online event, live, do this on a business Facebook page, a private Facebook group or on Twitter.
- Handle friend requests and direct messaging with care. Do not send someone a friend request only to sell to them. You ask someone to be your friend on Facebook because you want to get to know them better, stay in touch, communicate with them, etc. You do not friend someone to sell to them. If that is what you’re doing, you won’t succeed in direct sales or on social media. Don’t send direct messages to current friends asking them to try your product or if you can talk to them and sell them something. If they are interested, they’ll message you.
- Post a photo that doesn’t just sell. For example, if you sell jewelry, maybe post a selfie of you and some stunning earnings that you sell. People that love the earnings will comment and ask you about them. You’re not doing a hard sell but a soft sell and it isn’t pushy. If you’ve lost 10 pounds and 3 inches, shout it to the roof top and maybe share a before and after photo. People will ask you how and then you can tell them you’ll send them a direct message or add a link to your website for more information. If you’ve earned a special trip because you’ve done so well with your direct sales business, share the trip and people will ask you about it and message you to learn how they can earn a trip too! When you lead with the sale, people are turned off. People by from people, so be a person first and those that are drawn to you by your stories, your photos, your passions, they’ll connect with you.
- Don’t be impatient. The one thing I’ve learned about direct sales and that I’ve seen over-and-over is that it won’t happen overnight. It takes time and those that build the best direct sale businesses are spending time on cultivating relationships. So if someone doesn’t buy today, that is okay. Be you and keep at it but if you shove your Facebook posts down their throat, they’ll just be turned off. You’ll see, be more subtle and they’ll come to you, when they are ready.
- Stop announcing who is joining your team or business. I am seeing a huge trend with this and I get why some companies are teaching it but from my perspective, it is annoying and I don’t need to see 50 Facebook posts where you tell me that you’re welcoming Joe Blow to your team. Instead, have a Facebook business page, invite Joe to like you’re Facebook business page and welcome him over there. Or welcome Joe in your private group but your personal page isn’t supposed to be for business and when you use it for business 80% of the time, you turn off your personal friends. If I was your mom and you were doing this, I would unfriend you. Seriously.
I understand that direct sales can be competitive and social media is free, which is why everyone who is in direct sales wants to use social media. It’s a platform that is readily available to shout to the masses that you’ve got something to offer. Think of social media differently though. Think of it like a water cooler at work or a coffee shop that you hang out at with your friends. If every time you go the water cooler or coffee shop you try to sell something and only talk about you, you’re products, your next party, your sale, etc., people will stop coming to the water cooler or coffee shop and talking to you.
It’s the truth. When all you want to do is attract people your actions are actually pushing people AWAY.
I wish everyone in direct sales all the success in the world and I know it is possible to be successful, just think before you make another Facebook post or invite someone to a group without asking. Use the simple 80/20 rule and post 80% of the time on your personal page about you and 20% about your business, clubs, what you sell, etc. And if you’ve made a mistake or did one of the no-no’s listed, move on and just learn from your mistakes and do better from here on out. We’re all learning when it comes to business, selling and using social media.