ENOUGH with Social Media Advice that Doesn’t Apply to the Realities of our Industry

Sometimes I get a bit frustrated when I see “social media experts” dole out social media advice to direct sellers.  “Everyone should have a Facebook Page!”  “If you’re in business, you must be on Twitter!”  And on and on.  The problem with this advice is that it doesn’t take into account the realities of most direct sellers.  Yes, there are the select few who actually have the time to devote to that level of social media strategy.  And if you do, it will probably work for you.

But let’s be honest here.  The vast majority of direct sellers devote about 5 hours per week to their businesses.  Maybe a few more hours if they have a party that week.  Now I know leaders and full-timers devote more time.  But the MAJORITY spend a minimum amount of time.

Now if you’re spending those 5 hours trying to support all your social media presences, and think you’re working your business, you are sadly mistaken.

I am calling out social media people that are giving advice to the direct selling industry.  You MUST understand your market if you’re going to give good advice.  It is not realistic or practical for most direct sellers to have a Facebook Profile, a Facebook Page, a LinkedIn account, a blog, and a Twitter account, and support them all effectively.  There will be no time left to book, sell, and recruit (in other words, work the business and make money.)

Stop looking at the advice given to businesses working 40+ hours per week, and focus on the needs of THIS industry.  And that is NOT to sign up for every service under the sun.

The average direct seller will do JUST FINE with just a Facebook Profile.  If you add a Group to the mix, great.  It makes it easier for customers to find your contact info.

But enough with telling direct sellers to do everything else.  Social media has to be just as duplicatable as everything else we teach in this business.  Let’s focus on THIS model, and encourage people to get out there and make some money, OK?

Your thoughts?

Image Credit: Shooting Brooklyn

12 Responses to ENOUGH with Social Media Advice that Doesn’t Apply to the Realities of our Industry
  1. Hakki
    July 2, 2010 | 4:27 am

    Very well said, Jennifer. Thank you for this. It is a must to know the tools available to us, but it is just as important to pick the right ones among them.

    All the best,

    Hakki

  2. Michael Ruiz
    June 25, 2010 | 10:43 am

    Jen, you are so right on!! I have Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and a facebook group and I’m overwhelmed. I’m concentrating on my facebook presences for now and just watching the others until I get more experienced with social media. Then I may try to expand into the others. If I spent all the necessary time to do all of them, I’d never pick up the phone. Thanks for the great advice.

  3. Pola Schacter
    June 24, 2010 | 3:09 pm

    Thanks you for that… is right the best advice I have heard on this topic…I will just stick with the one face book account. SIGH

  4. Tim Haran
    June 24, 2010 | 1:25 pm

    Hi Jen,
    Great post! As a corporate social media guy, people sometimes think we’re crazy for advising our distributors that social media shouldn’t replace other forms of business building — it should supplement what they’re already doing (another way to reach out). If it’s taking away from your main focus, perhaps you should assess how/why you’re using social media in the first place.

    Also, it’s important not to bite off more than you can chew. One solid, regularly-updated Facebook profile is definitely better than five set-up-and-give-up social media profiles.

    Thanks!
    Tim

  5. Melody
    June 24, 2010 | 11:27 am

    Thank you Jennifer, I’ve been feeling guilty because I haven’t been teaching my consultants how to use social media. You always post very timely articles for me, are you reading my mind?

    For me I work 30 hours per week and 95-99% of my business is generated online so I need to use some social media. However, for the average direct sales consultant a Facebook personal profile is probably all they need.

    Guilt be gone!

    • Jennifer Fong
      June 24, 2010 | 2:51 pm

      Melody,
      I think it’s good for folks to be aware of social media and how it can help them. (That’s why I give away my social media 101 call, plus a handout you can copy for team meetings, for free.) But folks shouldn’t feel like they SHOULD do it all. That’s not your core business. Selling and recruiting is. It’s too easy to get swept away with these tools and forget that!
      Jennifer

  6. Christine Staib
    June 24, 2010 | 11:10 am

    Your knowledge is so appreciated. I know I was struggling with trying to do it all. Then I took your advise to focus on Facebook and not worry about the rest. I personally never got Twitter. So I have closed my account. Now I don’t have to waste my time thinking about keeping up with it. I appreciate your blog! Keep it coming.

  7. Janette Stoll
    June 24, 2010 | 11:04 am

    Right on Jen! This is why I encourage direct sellers to pick a medium and stick w/it. If it’s blogging, focus on it and market it, but you can’t do everything. BUT, you do need to have an online presence. I don’t have a Facebook fan page and doing just fine with my blog :). I don’t even recommend it for most people.

    Janette

  8. Brett Duncan
    June 24, 2010 | 10:29 am

    Preach it, sister!! Working on the corporate side of a direct sales companies, the standard answer for most courting vendors is, “Yeah, but that won’t exactly work for our company,” or “We really don’t want our reps spending that much time online.”

    And you’re so right about just focusing on your Facebook Profile. This is enough for 90% of direct sellers.

    bd
    @bdunc1

    • Jennifer Fong
      June 24, 2010 | 10:43 am

      Thanks Brett. I just get so tired of people who think they’ve figured out social media, and just cookie-cutter apply it to our industry. It’s NOT the same and it MUST be duplicatable. And that means taking into account the realities of our industry. Maybe it’s because I work so often on the corporate side and can see these things from the 20,000 foot view. But the bad advice being given to our folks just drives me nuts.

      Glad others agree. 🙂

  9. Jill Shea
    June 24, 2010 | 10:23 am

    I LOVE this post Jennifer! After taking your social media course last summer I always kept in mind what you said about planning out how much time you can devote to each social media tool first and that it’s ok if you can’t do it all. You are so right, if you spend all your time on social media when do you then have time to hostess coach and get ready for your parties? Talk about feeling overwhelmed! I personally don’t use LinkedIn or a Facebook page for my direct sales business and everything is GREAT! I find building relationships through my personal profile and blog have been very effective without consuming all my time.

    Thanks for all your valuable training and advice!

    Love & Success,
    Jill Shea

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