Dealing with Bad Consultant Behavior in Social Media

The problem with rants about bad behavior by direct sellers in social media is that it’s the same people reading them, and chances are you’re not the problem. Instead, the bad behavior is caused by people who are either ignorant of social media etiquette, or they really don’t care to get themselves educated.

For example, recently a consultant posted that she was happy she had been receiving product so fast from her company. Another consultant jumped in and complained that she wasn’t receiving it as fast and that an order of hers hadn’t shipped yet (she’d only ordered it a few days before.) Turned a beautiful positive into a big fat negative. I’ve also seen consultants complain that there aren’t enough new products, that they don’t like what has been discontinued, they don’t like certain color patterns, they want different sampling options and sizes…the list goes on. And while some may be legitimate feedback IT DOES NOT BELONG ON THE COMPANY FACEBOOK PAGE FOR CUSTOMERS TO SEE!!!!

So what do we do?

There’s a few things.

  1. Companies MUST provide training on social media etiquette, and incentivize the completion of that training. Companies should also add social media tips to monthly newsletters, calls, etc.
  2. When consultants behave badly on social networks, they need to be contacted personally by someone in the company. Explain to them how they could better direct their feedback through appropriate channels, and the negative impact that could occur from posting out in public. 9 times out of 10, people are just posting from their guts, and not thinking.
  3. Leaders need to train their downlines. Make it a regular part of training meetings. Set an expectation for behavior, and personally coach when someone makes a misstep.
  4. All consultants should counter any negative post they see in public about the company with a positive. This is your RESPONSIBILITY as a representative of the company. Don’t just let the negative hang out there for all the world to see.

Will we ever achieve 100% compliance? Probably not. But if each consultant takes ownership for the people he or she is connected with, we can make a big difference (whether they read this blog or not.)

What drives you crazy about consultant behavior on your company’s Facebook Page? What ideas do you have for fixing it? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments.

7 Responses to Dealing with Bad Consultant Behavior in Social Media
  1. Sarah Henshall
    September 18, 2011 | 6:46 pm

    I think it’s not even just the direct sellers having a pop about “Head Office” (whether it be wrong shipments or discontinued products etc) what really winds me up is when so called “leaders” moan about how hard it is recruiting, how difficult it is to keep their team etc etc. It’s not just your traditional “customers” that you need to be positive with but also your team members (who incidentally are your customers too) – a lot of people forget this.

    Also, I think it is up to “Head Office” to control their brand management on social media. Reputation is an intangible asset which can be worth millions and millions. I don’t think everyone realises that that reputation and goodwill is worth that much…..

    I think the problem is there is a blur between “personal” social media and “business” social media – especially when you have a work from home opportunity.

  2. Janice & Co.
    September 14, 2011 | 10:23 am

    Companies should punish those that do it and block them from commenting. If big companies think it isn’t worth paying a full time person to monitor their social media they are wrong.
    I don’t think people will ever be completely compliant.
    I don’t even look at my companies page. 😉
    Janice & Co. recently posted..Does my company really need a web site?

  3. Anne Marie Gross
    September 12, 2011 | 4:15 pm

    I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that part of this problem stems from companies and recruiters that encourage anyone and everyone to become a rep. Not everyone comes in hoping to have a business, rather they come in to get a personal discount on products as a customer. Referring back to another of your posts, Jennifer — “Are You Approaching Your Business as a Customer or a Representative?” — I believe there are many more customers coming in as reps who really do not consider themselves in business partnership, and as a result they feel no responsibility to act as such. There are so many who wear the title but do not take their role as company representatives seriously. I agree with you that it is the responsibility of the company — from the top down through the many layers of leadership — to educate on and then hold reps accountable for appropriate business-like behavior. I am quite encouraged by a new program in our company designed to reward customer loyalty; I feel that it may provide more customers with an opportunity to receive the discounts they desire without the cumbersome responsibility of owning their own business when that isn’t what they really wanted. Thank you, Jennifer, for your brief, insightful, and thought-provoking articles!

  4. NooraK
    September 9, 2011 | 2:49 pm

    Ironically, I saw a post on my company’s Facebook Page last night where the poster was ranting over the inappropriate posting of other consultants. As if that kind of a post is any better.

    • Jennifer Fong
      September 9, 2011 | 4:33 pm

      Oh dear….

  5. Jessica Misencik
    September 9, 2011 | 2:15 pm

    Wow, this article seems like it was plucked right out of a situation our company is dealing with right now. Call it lack of training, lack of tact or just down right not caring, it is disheartening to see people THAT WORK FOR AN AMAZING COMPANY bad-mouthing said company in any outlet but even more so when it is on a social media FAN page for all the world to see.

    Is our company perfect? Nope, name one that is. Are there outlets to voice your opinions/fears/discontent? Yup, sure are. Should it be on a social media page? ABSOLUTELY not.

    Sadly, as you stated, those reading this blog probably aren’t the source of this embarassing behavior. Hopefully those that are reading this have already taken the steps to counteract the bad behavior with something wonderful.

  6. Heather Kelley
    September 9, 2011 | 1:44 pm

    Hear, hear!!

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