Brett and I met through social media and I immediately started digging his stuff. I love how Brett’s not afraid to write what’s on his mind. Enjoy this terrific post! Social media is hot right now. White hot. But I don’t think it’s any hotter in any industry like […]

Guest Post by Brett Duncan of www.marketinginprogress.com. Brett and I met through social media and I immediately started digging his stuff. I love how Brett’s not afraid to write what’s on his mind. Enjoy this terrific post!

Social media is hot right now. White hot. But I don’t think it’s any hotter in any industry like it is in network marketing.

It makes sense: independent sales reps are constantly looking for ways to leverage their relationships to continue to build their business. Call it finding leads, prospects, recruits, whatever. It’s the lifeblood of any distributor’s business.

I’m over web marketing on the corporate side of a direct sales company, so you’d probably think I’d be all giddy over network marketers using social media to build their businesses. In theory, the two things should go together like peanut butter and jelly. They’re made for each other.

But that’s not how it works most of the time, and for every good reason I can come up with for direct sellers to use social media, I’ve got an even better reason on why they shouldn’t.

So, take a look at these reasons, see if you’re guilty of any of them, and start thinking about what you need to do to change what you’re doing ASAP.

Because No One’s Logging Into Facebook so You Can Sell Them Something

Let’s not forget the “social” in social media. People are logging into Facebook, and other social media sites, to see what’s going on, load some pictures, connect with old friends, send an update, whatever. They aren’t logging in so they can find out how to make an extra $1,000 this week working part-time and wearing their pajamas. So stop feeding them that stuff. Give them what they want. Be a real person, who’s interesting and interested in them, and form a connection. Slowly. No, seriously, S-L-O-W-L-Y. Over time, take opportunities sporadically to make sure they know what you do. Then just see where that leads you.

Because Social Media Isn’t as Good at Sales as You Are

People usually screw up with social media because they think it’s going to replace themselves somewhere in the sales cycle. But that’s not how it works. Social media sucks at selling. It can’t read buying signs, or interests. It’s not good at knowing when to back off or when to switch gears in the midst of a presentation. It doesn’t do what you do. It does work real well as a communication tool with the rest of your team. It also fits in nicely with the other tools in your toolbox that help you generate leads. Social media is a supplement, not a substitute. Use it that way.

In my line of work, I’ve met sales reps who honestly have trouble turning their computer on who are wanting to jump on social media. Give me a break. My rule of thumb is that if you’re not already on social media sites for your own personal reasons, don’t get on theirs with the sole purpose of building your network marketing business. Some people will disagree with me on that, but I just think you need to get a handle on using these tools socially before you start pillaging them professionally. A truly mercenary use of social media opportunities can be seen from a mile away, and it will backfire on you. Make being likable your primary goal from the start. Otherwise, anything else you do will be useless.

Because Social Media Tools Weren’t Originally Made for Business

OK, I know some of them were. But Facebook was originally made so Harvard students could keep up with each other (and who they hooked up with). Twitter launched as a way to answer the question “What are you doing?” Of course, like we do with most new channels of communication and connection, it doesn’t take long to find ways to commercialize and capitalize it.

Just remember that the business side of these sites has morphed into existence. At their core, it’s always been more about keeping up with friends and connecting with new people.

The good news is that these online introductions and interactions really can lead to offline partnerships. But normally not right out of the gate. Keep each tool in perspective as to how it was originally intended to be used, and see if it suits you.

Because You Can’t Automate Social Connections

Network marketing is plagued with people who phone it in before they even really get started. The attrition rates are so high because the expectations from the beginning for most are so off-based. I think it’s a wonderful idea to put systems in place that help offload some administrative work and maximize your time. But again, it can’t substitute what you offer.

Direct sellers tend to look for a system that really doesn’t involve them at all. Either they’re scared to ask for the sale or they hate doing parties or whatever. But we’re all looking for a formula to simply plug into and let the good times roll.

Don’t fall for this. Leverage automations and systems where it makes sense, but jump in and get completely involved before it’s obvious that there’s absolutely no personal touch involved. People want that; give it to them. Make room for spontaneous attention.

Because Social Media is NOT the Best Feature of Direct Sales

The best feature of direct sales is the direct seller. That’s you. The whole point here is to get you effectively connected with more people. Notice I said “effective.” You may find that you’re most effective on the phone. Or in person. Or via email. Whatever it is, use social media as a step in that direction. It’s a means to the end, not the end itself. When you remember that YOU are the best feature of your business, then it becomes obvious which ways work best in introducing more people to you.

So, your thoughts? Am I off-base here? Have you experienced something different? Or do you have some stories that confirm any of the points above? I’d love to hear how you’re practically using social media to build your network marketing business.