How to Lose Friends and Waste Your Social Media Efforts

megaphoneEvery day, more and more direct sellers and network marketers decide to try their hand at using social media to promote their businesses.  Unfortunately, way too many of these well-meaning folks dive in without doing a lick of research.  Instead, they think the best approach is the direct one.  After all, we’re taught that if you want a sale, you have to ask for it!  So why not use that approach in social media?  The answer is because it doesn’t work.  Listen up: PEOPLE DO NOT WANT TO BE SOLD IN SOCIAL MEDIA.

So here are some of the best ways to make social media a complete waste of your time for your direct sales business:

  • “Friend” up to 1,000 people per day.  Send them all a link to your website in the first message.
  • Make every tweet about your opportunity.  Be sure to include a link.
  • Send private messages to everyone you’re connected with telling them you can help them make at least $1,000 per day.
  • Message everyone you’re connected with on LinkedIn, and tell them how they can help you with your business.
  • Talk about yourself constantly.  Never ask questions unless you’re asking if they want to join your company or buy your products.
  • Subject your Facebook friends to a constant barrage of invitations to fan your page or book a party.  If they don’t respond the first time, just keep sending it.
  • Jump in on conversations of others to tell people about your products.  Be sure to include a link.
  • Create a blog where you can be a constant commercial for your company.  Make every post about your products, or your opportunity.  Make sure it’s all about you and your products, and your opportunity.  Don’t worry about the needs of the people reading it.
  • Send emails to your list daily through your autoresponder.  Make every email about your products and opportunity.  Oh, you can also include specials.

I know all these sound funny.  Unfortunately, I see WAY too many direct sellers do exactly this, and one of the big problems is that you’re completely wasting your time when you engage in these activities.  Most people will not want to do business with you, and you’ll get labeled a spammer.

Another problem…many good online services are starting to forbid good direct sellers outright from using their services because of the actions of a few overenthusiastic folks, classifying direct sellers as “pyramid schemes” and “affiliate marketers,” even though those are two very different things from legitimate direct selling.  It’s only going to get worse if we don’t clean up our act.

It’s important for all of us to wake up, learn how to do REAL content marketing that provides value to the consumer, and stop using social media to spam the world.  Only then will we be taken seriously, and prevent a lot of the problems coming down the pike.  We must ALL do our part.

Your thoughts?

Photo Credit: Roland

27 Responses to How to Lose Friends and Waste Your Social Media Efforts
  1. AJ
    June 8, 2015 | 6:54 am

    Hi, I know that this is an older post but it helped me a lot. I’m not a ‘Facebook person’ and I’m pretty sensitive and introverted by nature. my first Facebook reach out private message ended up with a nasty response and immediately being blocked even though I did ask questions and make the message very personal to the individual. Is there a Facebook free way to make these MLM businesses work?

  2. Dora
    February 26, 2014 | 3:56 pm

    Wish I knew all these when I started with Facebook!
    I just want to know about some Facebook pages that invites you to share or advertise your business opportunity on their page. What do you think about that? Does it work?

    • Jennifer Fong
      February 27, 2014 | 11:12 am

      Dora, I think your best bet is to give it a go and see if it works! A lot of social networking is trial and error. Good luck!

  3. Carol Firth
    March 23, 2011 | 2:58 pm

    Thank you so much for more pearls of wisdom Jennifer! People who self-promote need to learn the phrase “know me, like me, trust me!”

    • Jennifer Fong
      March 23, 2011 | 3:17 pm

      Amen Carol!

  4. Kristen Lands
    March 23, 2011 | 1:49 pm

    Jenn, I think YOU should start spamming the offenders. OBVIOUSLY, they don’t subcribe to your blog! 😛 GREAT article! Thanks for the giggles! 🙂

    • Jennifer Fong
      March 23, 2011 | 2:06 pm


  5. Sarah Wood
    March 7, 2010 | 8:09 pm

    Jennifer, funny post. It always amazes me how this advice is given over and over but people STILL embarrass themselves with self-promotion. Appreciate the list of things that will make your SMM experience a complete waste of time. 🙂 Thanks!
    Sarah Wood

  6. Julie Leithner
    December 7, 2009 | 3:51 pm

    I am continually turned off by “sales”. I don’t like being approached to buy something randomly from someone I don’t know. One of the biggest reasons I started my business is to do something for myself, broaden my social circle by meeting new people, and sharing something I believe in that I would with any real friend of mine. I don’t like such direct efforts as mentioned above like throwing their business card in my hand and only talking about their success and whatever they’re selling. I aim for quality relationships and the bonus in the end is that relationship, not the sale. The product should sell itself in my opinion.
    As good as my intentions are to create these relationships with people I’m not close with (aquaintences), I’m not getting results so I’m researching better methods. I look forward to learning more with your help.

  7. Diane Aksten
    November 22, 2009 | 2:15 pm

    Jennifer: I couldn’t agree more; I’ve actually “unfriended” a number of individuals on FB because all I ever saw on my feed were endless videos and links for their “ground floor opportunities”. I still maintain that people want to do business with others they know, like and trust–that starts with providing valuable content (as you’ve always taught us) and forming relationships by just allowing people to get to know you, both personally and professionally.

    Thanks again, Jennifer, for an excellent post–unfortunately, the people who need to see this probably won’t recognize themselves and will continue to do what they have always done but I hope your post provides some with an “ah-ha” moment.

  8. Larna Pittiglio
    November 20, 2009 | 3:47 pm

    As usual fantastic post Jennifer…..

    As you have discussed in earlier posts, some of this behavior could be avoided if companies participated and educated their field on the correct way to use social media for their direct sales business…

    Altho I have to say, I have alot of friends on my list who are WAHM not in direct sales, they have a product or service in their own small business working from home…. and many of them suffer the same disease….

    There is nothing more frustrating that endless links in your news feed that are purely product and service promotions….. makes it very easy to hit the hide button…. As a direct seller using any of these methods to promote your product or business, you could find your friends not receiving any of your content because they have hidden you from their news feed altogether.

    The first question I ask when I see these links or updates is…. has this person ever bothered to interact with me and get to know what my needs or interests are? or have they ever offered any content that has been even remotely useful to me? If the answer is no….. there is no way I would ever be interested in their product!

    Thank you Jen for your fantastic contribution again to improving the credibility and professionalism of direct sales….

    Melbourne, Australia

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2009 | 4:09 pm

      Thank you for you comment Larna! I appreciate you taking the time to do so.

      You make such a good point…those that continue these spammy behaviors are absolutely going to be hidden. And that defeats the purpose in the first place. But there’s even more bad news coming down the pike…specific social media sites are actually putting in “No MLM” clauses. That’s going to hurt us as an industry if we don’t do something about this, and quickly!

      Thank you again, my friend. I appreciate you!


  9. Karen Clark
    November 20, 2009 | 3:43 pm

    Great post Jen! Those who do the “no-no’s” discredit the entire direct sales profession. Hopefully many will read this post and realize their (usually innocent but misguided) mistakes and change their approach.

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2009 | 4:08 pm

      Thanks for commenting, Karen, and also thanks for the shout-out on your blog! If enough of us spend the time talking about this, hopefully it will begin to solve a pressing problem that is going to have more and more negative consequences for direct sellers everywhere.


  10. Andrea
    November 20, 2009 | 1:02 pm

    I completely agree! I have users who I follow on twitter- who use some auto program to auto-spam every 2 hours- their sales pitch.. so annoying! It’s all marketing… and you can’t market in the same way to every market segment in your target market. I follow a local tv stations day show on facebook and I think they have done a WONDERFUL job. (granted there is a difference between a tv show and direct sales..) They have found a perfect blend of having the girls who host the show- post updates and interact with users and give out lots of prizes and feature fans on their show etc… My point is- I get 5+ facebook updates from them a day- but it never once has felt like spam- vs. others who post once a day about their business and it instantly is a turn-off because I view it as spam.

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2009 | 3:05 pm

      Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. There are certainly some good examples out there to follow. That’s why it’s so important for us as direct sellers to do some research before diving in. Only in that way will we experience success with social media marketing, and ensure that social media remains a place that direct sellers can be active participants.


  11. Awnya Boam
    November 20, 2009 | 12:55 pm

    So true!!

    I hear all the time that “Its a numbers game”. Sure…but its not about quantity, its the QUALITY of connection with the people who are your friends or you are networking with. I prefer to think of it more like a golf game…smaller numbers are good because I’m working on quality connections…deep and meaningful.

    I’m so glad you touched on these DO NOTs. Thanks for your great insights!

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2009 | 3:06 pm

      I am so with you on the quality of the contacts Awnya. It’s the RESPONSIVE list that brings success, not sheer volume of followers. Let’s hear it for deep and meaningful connections!!! Thanks for commenting!


  12. Lisa Young
    November 20, 2009 | 12:11 pm


    Sadly, this is the very reason most companies prohibit their sales force from using socialmedia in the first place – and it all stems from ignorance.

    People haven’t taken the time to learn how to use social media appropriately, and have gone online to do what amounts to shoving their business card into the had of everyone they meet.


    Ivette had a positive experience – people basically ignored her. That’s not always the case. Time and again, clients come to me (as I’m sure they do you, Jen) telling me how social media isn’t working for them, and when I look at their collateral, it’s all pushy sales messages.

    Then they tell me they don’t want to be seen as pushy!

    It’s not entirely their fault. they’re bringing some of their offline behaviors into the online arena – and they’ve never been trained otherwise.

    On quick and easy thing we cal all do is think about the golden rule before we press “submit/send”. How would we feel if the content we sent out was all we ever got back from our own contacts?

    One of the things I harp on with my clients is to never reach out to your contacts unless you have valueable info that will positively impact their lives.

    Generally speaking, a coupon or a discount isn’t it.

    There’s a fine line between enthusiasm and spam. err on the side of caution. 🙂

    Great post, Jen – as usual. 🙂

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2009 | 3:07 pm

      I think you make some great points here Lisa. By taking that extra minute to think about whether or not the information we have to share is truly valued by the recipient, we can experience a lot more success with social media marketing.

      Keep up the great work!!!


  13. Ivette Muller
    November 20, 2009 | 11:43 am

    Unfortunately, I have seen this happen too and even did it once.

    I made a rookie mistake the first time I posted to my Facebook page with all my friends. But then when no one responded, I didn’t do it again – lesson learned. I was so excited to share a true solution to a problem and wanted to help others save money, I just wanted to shout from the rooftops.

    Lesson learned! Now, my websites are just listed off to the side of my personal FB page, and everyone knows about my blog. So, if they want to read and follow, they can go there.

    Unfortunately, some just don’t take the hint. I don’t like to make mistakes, but at least I learned from it! 🙂

    • Jennifer
      November 20, 2009 | 3:01 pm

      Thanks for your comments. I think there is a learning process for all of us. Fortunately, you were paying attention and caught on quickly that these things just don’t work. Thanks for your transparency. I wish you much success!


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