As direct sellers begin to use social media for business, sometimes some mind shift needs to happen. If you’ve been using social media for personal conversations up until now, you probably haven’t had to have much of a self-edit button. After all, you know what your friends enjoy, what they think is funny, what they’ll console you over, etc. It’s been easy to upload those photos of the last beer bash, complain about your deepest woes, and comment on that idiot who cut you off as you were driving home. After all this is personal, and your friends love you no matter what, right?
As direct sales companies and leaders in various companies, we have to be very aware that our new generation of recruits is coming from a demographic that is used to doing just that. And that means some education right from day one is going to be necessary. After all, using social media for business is very different from using it for personal communication. Just like a sales associate in a store wouldn’t start talking to a customer the way he might talk to his friends, the independent sales consultant needs to learn that changes must be made as well.
The challenge of course is finding the line between a business endeavor and a personal communication tool. A new recruit might resent the fact that a tool she’s used to using to communicate with her friends now has to be somewhat regulated and “cleaned up.” And if that new recruit does not intend to use the tool for business at all, that might not be a requirement. However, if a consultant DOES plan to use social media to build his business, then I think it’s important for a company to provide some guidelines as to what is appropriate, and what is not, when the brand is to be represented online.
If you’re a consultant, here are some things to keep in mind when you represent your company through social media:
- Keep the content G-rated – Make sure people would be OK with their kids and their mom seeing what you post.
- Keep it positive – Business contacts aren’t there to make your day and don’t want to be dragged down either. They might tolerate it once, but not over and over.
- Keep it clean – It’s never OK to use foul language when you’re representing a company. Period.
- Avoid TMI – People really don’t want to hear gross stuff. Keep your rashes and your bowel movements to yourself.
- Avoid spam – I’ll say it again…this is not the place to pitch your products and opportunity. Social media is for building relationships.
Don’t rely on privacy settings to protect things the general public shouldn’t consume. Mistakes happen and they can reflect poorly on your business, your company, and every other consultant trying to do business through social media. Don’t make it harder for everybody. If you’re a direct seller, clean up your social media profiles, reflect a professional persona, and have your personal conversations on the phone or in person…a place they don’t live forever!
What do you think? Have you seen examples of “bad” behavior by direct sellers? What changes did you make when you began using social media for your business? Looking forward to reading your comments below.
Photo Credit: CometStarMoon