With Social Media Use Comes Responsibility

Most direct sales and network marketing companies are nervous about their consultants using social media tools to promote their businesses.  Why?  Because if any one individual uses it improperly to make product or income claims, or just in general make the company look bad, it can negatively impact the entire company, and every distributor in that organization.

And let me tell you, there are PLENTY of examples of direct sellers using social media in unbelievably poor ways.  You know what I’m talking about.  We’ve all seen them.  The posts that come across desperate, or implausible, or worse.  Even if you don’t personally use social media poorly, the fact that others are can mess things up for everyone.

So with social media use comes responsibility.  If you see someone using social media to spam others or make false claims, it’s your responsibility to report that person, or at least point them to resources on how to use these tools properly (such as this blog).  A simple private note telling them that you care about them and want them to be using social media in the most effective way possible, along with a link, can go a long way.

It’s also up to companies to have robust education in place for distributors on how to use these tools in accordance with policies and procedures.  Companies must also make sure they have policies that specifically address proper ways to use social media tools.

People don’t necessarily know how to use social media for business instinctively.  But they DO have a responsibility to LEARN to use it properly.  Only then can we rid our industry once and for all of the stigma we now have…that one that causes people to run in the other direction when they see the direct sellers coming.  The one that causes sites like wordpress.com to ban MLM blogs.

WE need to fix this.  And it starts with education and policing one another.  Are you in?

Share your thoughts in the comments!

6 Responses to With Social Media Use Comes Responsibility
  1. Laurie Ryan
    July 16, 2010 | 1:45 pm

    I just returned from my company’s National Conference where I learned that we are finally allowed to use social media to promote the company! They also now have a corporate facebook page. We received some guidelines at the conference, and there will be three online training courses on our company’s website for consultants. I mentioned your blog to many after the announcement was made, and plan to send a link to it to more consultants.

    I am so excited that we are now allowed to use social media, but at the same time am a bit nervous of people doing the exact things this blog mentions. I hope to do all in my power to help prevent that! 🙂

    By the way, I may have you to thank that our company is now on board with social media. I saw you in a photo with our founder at the DSA conference!

  2. Mark Bosworth
    July 15, 2010 | 8:32 am

    I think you make a great point that Direct Sellers should try to be responsible and police ourselves. However, we should be realistic and understand that there will always be “bad apples” in a group and you can’t get rid of them all. It happens in every industry.

    I think the best thing that we can do is to ensure that we, personally, are delivering value to our customers. If we can deliver enough good will to our customers, friends and our company then we build credibility and value one relationship at a time.

  3. Kelvin Edmund
    July 15, 2010 | 7:52 am

    Hi Jennifer,
    You have made a valid post, we all should be responsible for making sure we do not misrepresent and look desperate when promoting through social media.

    Once again great post and keep up the good work.
    Kelvin

  4. Sales&such
    July 14, 2010 | 4:31 pm

    Direct sales can sometimes have a bad stigma anyway, but misuse of popular social networking sites only makes it worse. There are so many great ways to use social media to benefit and expand your direct sales business that it would be a shame if companies banned it all together. Training and education are the keys. Great article!

    You can also get more tips on http://blog.southwestern.com/.

  5. Jay Cusimano
    July 14, 2010 | 9:14 am

    I love it that our company has allowed us to be on Facebook otherwise I would not be on there at all. It takes time but is working for me. Working our business on social media requires that we work it responsibly but I also feel we should defend what we believe in from attack from people that either do not know anything about what we do yet attack all MLM companies, or the other type that got involved and chose to remain in the dark about the whole thing. When failure comes they need someone to blame and it is seldom their own lack of proper effort therefore they attack in public. MLM is not for everybody, some are too lazy, some have no integrity, and some have bounced from company to company looking for what they feel will finally work. What they do not realize is “Every time you switch you just lowered your credibility a notch”. I realize my success is up to the man in the mirror plus a company of high integrity. I found the company but the success of others in it is their own reflection.

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