One of the “hot button” issues I often encounter when teaching direct sales and network marketing folks about social media is the issue of whether or not to talk about politics and religion. If you look at the demographics of direct sellers, a large percentage are conservative, and quite religious. Some see their business as a platform to share their faith. Now those that have been through my training know that I advise direct sellers to avoid talking about politics and religion as part of their social networking efforts, unless people that share their views are the only ones they want to service. Yet those that see their business as a way to share the message pretty much stop listening at that point.
Now one reason folks want to share their political or religious message is because they want to convince others to see issues their way. They want to “spread the good news.” And I respect that. I really do. I’m actually a person of strong faith myself. However let’s look at this for a moment from the way social media works overall.
When you use social media properly for your business, you begin by getting to know people. You share valuable content that meets the self-defined needs of your prospects. You build relationships. As this process happens, people begin to know, like, and trust you. Then you can invite people to opt-in for your list, join your group or page, or in some other way choose to receive more information from you. At that point the prospect is saying, “This is someone who provides me with value, and I trust them to contact me with more information that I value.” Only at that point do you really have permission to share your business with them more specifically, in a way that will meet their needs.
Sharing your political and religious viewpoint is very much the same thing. If you preach your views to the general world through your status updates, comments, etc. in social media, the only people that you are going to reach are people that already agree with you. Those that don’t yet agree, or feel strongly a different way, will most likely ignore/hide you, and you’ll never reach them.
Now consider using the same approach that I outlined earlier. Get to know people first. Find out what their needs are. Help them to know, like, and trust you, and then share with them privately, once you know they’re ready for your message. If your goal is to share your views, who are the people you want to reach more likely to listen to? The person that broadcasts their views without listening first? Or the person who takes the time to get to know THEM first, and who they feel understands them? It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to figure it out.
When using social media to build your direct selling or network marketing business, you can never forget that your social media efforts are first and foremost about building relationships with people. Only when you know them can you determine if what you have to share with them is something that will meet their needs. And when it comes to politics and religion, the same holds true. You need to get where people are coming from first, and understand what they need, if you want them to listen to you at all. Only then can you reach new people.
Now it’s possible that I may have offended some folks with this post. If so, you are more than welcome to tell me so in the comments below. I simply ask that the comments be polite and respectful. And I would love to know what everyone thinks. What do you think about sharing politics and/or religion as part of your business, and especially through social media? Looking forward to reading your comments below!