Is Your Social Media Presence Helping or HURTING Your Direct Sales Business?

04/07/2017 10:43 am ET

If you’re involved in direct sales, you probably spend most of your time promoting your business on social media. These days, the newsfeeds are flooded with commission-chasing entrepreneurs in search of new leads, connections, and a soapbox for product promotions. But are all those virtual parties, unsolicited Facebook group invites, and emoji-heavy product pitches actually “revenue-producing activities” or cringe-worthy social networking mistakes in disguise?

Be wary of how your current posting habits are being perceived by the public; they could have a negative effect on your business, relationships, and your personal brand.

Psssst—your agenda is showing

Direct selling is also called “relationship marketing” for a reason; don’t be that networker who adds or engages with colleagues on social media just to schmooze them into buying your product. Cutting to the chase and lunging for your friends’ wallets too soon isn’t just awkward, it’s rude; it’s also a quick and easy way to get unfriended and badmouthed to other members of the community. Take off your entrepreneur cap for a moment and focus on building genuine connections first, allowing curiosity and interest to grow organically.

Never give your colleagues a reason to stamp you “duplicitous” as you build your business. This includes invading people’s personal space by placing them in a group they never asked to join, and butting in on someone else’s conversation just to push your product in their face. Knowing your boundaries and respecting those of others is simply a smarter way to sell! If and when your friend shares a dilemma that your product can solve, or asks how you’re able to work from home and spend so much time with your kids, consider the floor now open to make your sales pitch.

Breaking news: your personal page is not a sales hub

When you’re first starting out and are over-the-moon excited about building your business, it can be hard to find a balance when it comes to social sharing—but for the sake of your relationships, try.

Your personal page is where your EXPERIENCES should shine. Post a picture of your team pursuing your passions together; share the breathtaking views on your company’s incentive vacation, or snap a selfie with your family at the amusement park (ticket purchase courtesy of your last commission check). That’s what friends want to see, and what will keep them interested (and cheering you on).

Creating a business page is a great way to maintain social poise and moderation while you hustle. Here, you can post to your heart’s content about your business, share special offers, and extend the occasional invitation to take a closer look to friends and family. Marketing your business on its own page is courteous and smart, as using a personal account to represent your business is against Facebook’s legal terms and could even result in permanently losing account access.

A proper way to promote

When you do share your products with your followers, it should never be blatantly self-serving. Focus on relevancy by putting your audience’s interest first and speaking in value. Ask yourself, “How will this post benefit my audience?” And always put yourself in their shoes: “If I were on the outside looking in, would this irk me or grab my attention?"

And while you may be an independent distributor, remember that you’re also a walking, talking representation of a reputable corporation. So before you post that status, Tweet, or caption, double-check for:

  • Misspelled words
  • Overuse of exclamation points!!!!
  • Misleading claims about your products or earnings
  • Embarrassing grammar mistakes
  • Phrasing similar to yesterday’s post (and the one before that, and the one before that…)
  • Commentary that may come off as offensive

The integrity of your business should always hold a higher priority than making fast sales.

Is social networking the end-all, be-all?

When I first got involved in direct sales over 20 years ago, social media wasn’t an option in the networker’s tool belt. I built my business one cassette tape, referral or sample, and 3-way call at a time. I often question if today’s entrepreneurs could “make it” without their Instagram filters, Facebook groups, and Periscope streams.

So if you’re pursuing your dreams through direct sales, here’s my advice: step back from your computer desk for a moment. Success in this industry isn’t tied to a specific personality type or skillset, but you must be industrious, committed, and above all, willing to do what others won’t do. While today’s direct sellers use social media as a crutch to build their networks, don’t be afraid to go back to basics: joining organizations, attending networking events and conventions, and building in-person relationships with local business owners and acquaintances. A strong handshake, a confident elevator pitch, and the art of an appealing conversation will take you—and your business—a lot further than notifications and friend requests any day.

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