This past weekend I posted on my personal Facebook Profile that my son and I were sick. Part of the reason I did is because I wanted our friends at church to know why we weren’t there this past Sunday (I’d been planning to sing in the choir, etc.) And I got a pretty snippy private message in response from a direct seller who informed me that she takes my advice, so I should really take hers and use her products. “It goes both ways,” she informed me, and honestly, this was the SECOND time I’d said my kid was sick. Yep, that seriously was the message, and it seriously questioned what was wrong with me.
Now I debated just blocking this individual (which I did) and moving on. But then I got to thinking about how we present health and wellness products through social channels. You see, when someone is only an online contact, you most likely don’t have all the information. You only know what that person chooses to share through their social networks. So you have no idea what kind of advice their doctor may be giving, if there are any underlying illnesses, sensitivities, or genetic weaknesses that someone might have, etc. You are not a doctor.
And the thing is, you may be SO excited about your products, and they have worked SO well for you, that you come off completely insensitive when presenting them to others. Believe me, I KNOW your heart is in the right place. You want people to experience the same benefits you have. But think about how this looks to others. What it comes off as is you seeking to profit off of someone else’s misfortune or illness. And that’s a big turnoff.
What would have been a better approach?
- Sharing generic advice…drink lots of water and tea, etc.
- Expressing sympathy that someone isn’t feeling well.
- Sharing a link to an article that you or your company has written on how to cope with seasonal illnesses. The article should cover common sense advice, and refer to how the ingredients in your products can also help.
When someone isn’t feeling well, or is dealing with a sick kid, this isn’t the time for a product pitch. This is the time for relationship-building activities that let someone know you care. That will take you much further when it comes to building a long-term relationship with someone.
This also has applications for other types of products. When someone is sharing something on a personal profile that they’re unhappy about, unless they’re specifically asking for advice or a product recommendation, don’t be insensitive. Instead, offer sympathy and content that gives people information that they need to make better decisions. But don’t assume you have all the information. You don’t.
image credit: CarbonNYC