Top 10 Mistakes Direct Sellers Make in Social Media

42-15977462It’s an exciting time for those in direct selling and network marketing.  Social media has literally opened the floodgates for us in terms of our ability to reach people without being bound by geography.  When used correctly as part of a content marketing strategy, direct sellers can find the prospects who are already looking for their products and opportunities.

Unfortunately, too many direct sellers are jumping in without training or strategy.  The way you use social media at a personal level is very different from the way you use social media for business.  Direct sales companies are starting to provide training, but far too many direct sellers have already been engaging poorly, and it reflects poorly on all of us in this industry.

Here are the top 10 mistakes I’ve observed that direct sellers make when using social media:

  1. Broadcasting/Spamming: All you do is talk about yourself, your products, or your opportunity.  I hate to break it to you, but nobody CARES about you, your products, or your opportunity, until you invest the time in getting to know them first.
  2. Opting People In Without Permission: I consider your e-newsletter/mailing list part of your overall social media strategy, and this is a big no-no.  When you sign someone up for your mailing list who hasn’t opted in him/herself, it’s called SPAM.  Don’t do it.
  3. Doing Too Much (and Nothing Well): You’ve signed up for every social network that’s out there, which means that you don’t have the time to engage on any of them with any kind of quality.  Better to focus on a handful of (or even just 1) social networks, rather than trying to be everywhere.  Figure out where the majority of your target market is, and build quality relationships there.
  4. Failing to Engage Daily: Imagine if you tried to maintain a dating relationship by talking to someone once a week.  It wouldn’t be much of a relationship.  The same goes with social media.  You need to commit to interacting with your contacts daily if you want to have an effective social media presence.
  5. Being All Business: Social media is about relationships.  It’s hard to connect with someone, especially online, if all you know about them is what they do for business.  I maintain that it’s even more important online than in person to share some personal information, because people must come to know, like, and trust us if they’re going to choose to do business with us.  Face to face you might get away with all business (but even then you’re probably going to engage in small talk at some point…it’s human nature.)  But online the only way you’ll connect more deeply is when you share those personal bits of information that make you seem like a human.
  6. Leading With Your Logo: People connect with people.  When you put up a picture of your logo as your avatar, people will be less likely to feel like they know who you are.  And again, people need to know, like, and trust us before they want to do business with us.  In the face to face world, people see our face first.  The same must hold true online if we want to experience success with social media.  People don’t connect with logos as a general rule.
  7. Pretending to Be Something You’re Not: Authenticity is a cardinal rule in the online world.  Don’t try to appear more successful than you actually are, portray yourself as your company, or in any way try to stretch the truth.  You will completely undermine your credibility when you’re found out, and that impression will last for a long time to come through social media.  Never forget this is primarily a word of mouth medium.  If you come across as a fraud, it will haunt you much longer than you think.
  8. TMI (Too Much Information): When you are using social media for business, people don’t want all the gory details of your last doctor’s appointment, exactly what happened with your child’s medical issue, etc. Nothing is a bigger turn-off.  When you’re employing a content marketing strategy, people connect with you expecting a certain type of information.  While sharing a bit of personal information to build relationships is fine (and recommended), gross stuff is not.  People will hide you or unfriend you, and then you’ve completely wasted all your efforts.
  9. Starting Without a Plan: If you have a Facebook page, Twitter account, or other social media presence, but you haven’t defined what benefits you hope to gain from them, you are wasting your time.  You MUST define what your goals are for social media, as well as the target market you want to reach, in order to avoid the time suck that can occur without a solid focus.  Then you can weigh every action you take in social media against your goals, to determine if that action is a good use of your time.
  10. Failing to Measure: Are your social media efforts successful?  Are they bringing you the results you hope for?  Where should you make adjustments to your strategy?  Without solid goals, and a plan to measure your progress towards them, you have no way of knowing how successful your social media efforts are.  You should be taking stock of your social media efforts each month and make adjustments as necessary to enjoy the maximum benefits of your social media marketing efforts.

By getting educated about social media, and then making a plan to guide your social media efforts, you can enjoy real benefits by making social media marketing a part of the overall marketing plan for your business.  But it’s very easy to get sucked into thinking that you can do this quickly, without a lot of real effort on your part.  And unfortunately if you go in that direction, you’ll be very disappointed with your results.

What do you think?  Have you experienced any of the mistakes above?  Do you have any to add?  Can’t wait to read your comments below!

6 Responses to Top 10 Mistakes Direct Sellers Make in Social Media
  1. Deb The Sales Trainer
    April 23, 2011 | 8:41 pm

    Great tips Jennifer, One more that is my “pet” peeve is having the dog, cat or family pet in the profile image section. While I do enjoy all of the above, when you are in social media online and in business people do not need to see the dog as your profile picture. There is plenty of space for that in status updates and photo albums.

    I am sure that most direct sellers would not take their cat or dog to a business expo or to a home party….

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