The direct selling industry is one of the fastest growing industries in the United States, with 20.5 million people participating in multilevel marketing companies in 2016 alone. On social media, it’s rare to have a friend or follower that does not include at least one person selling skin care products, jewelry, clothing, home and kitchen gadgets or weight-loss aids. Depending on the company and its guidelines, marketing techniques can range from mild to over the top, and it can be difficult as an independent consultant to figure out the right social media marketing mix. If you currently or are thinking about working in direct sales, read our do’s and don’ts on how to make social media marketing work for your direct sales distributor business.

 

Do:

Start a business page. If you are an official distributor for a company, you are technically a business. Starting a Facebook business page will give you a professional appearance and allow your friends and family to willingly follow your updates on parties, sales, etc.

Don’t:

Most multilevel marketing companies instruct sales representatives to start with their friends and family. Many people make the mistake of going directly to their personal Facebook page and posting promotion after promotion to all of their followers. While you are definitely communicating with your friends and family, you will undoubtedly start to annoy them. Most of your personal followers want to see updates on your personal life, not BOGO offers.

 

Do:

Post good content and vary your posts. Try using Facebook live every now and then to create an inviting and personal live video. Post pictures and captions about how great your products are, without sounding too “salesy.” Helpful tips that have nothing to do with an actual product can also generate interest and set you apart from other distributors. Ask your followers questions and hold contests. The more of a personal touch you add to your content and the more engaging you make it, the more likely it will get viewed.

Don’t:

In the saturated market of direct selling via social media, strictly promotional content can easily become white noise. Many distributors make the mistake of posting nothing but price-driven sales material and lack connecting and building relationships with their audience. If you want to make a one-time sale, keep posting the promotional material. But, if you really want to grow your business, post engaging content.

 

Do:

Build relationships online. Chances are, you will start by asking your friends and family to host parties or follow your business page. In order to expand on these relationships and meet new potential clients, offer a referral bonus of some kind to your current followers. Include some personal information on your page so people feel connected to you. And, if you happen to meet real actual people outside of your computer screen, refer them to your site.

Don’t:

Building your audience can be tricky in this business. You don’t want them to feel like you only want them around if they’re buying something from you. So, don’t send a friend request to someone only because you want to sell something to them. And, don’t direct message your friends to buy something from you. If you are following the advice above and posting good content, your followers will contact you to purchase.

 

Finally, one last do: have patience! So many distributors get into their business thinking sales will happen overnight. Of course a multilevel marketing company will tout its biggest successes, bringing out examples of people who made it to the top. Distributors sign up with high hopes of achieving the same sales goals and quit shortly after they realize it’s not as easy as it sounds. It takes time and dedication to a strategic social media marketing plan, and avoidance of common marketing mistakes, to grow a direct sales business.

About the Author: Amber Rickerson

Amber Rickerson is Director of Marketing at Blue Cricket Media. Her passion for marketing and social media are second only to her love of Mt. Dew, University of Kentucky basketball, her children, husband and black lab, Reno. You can find her (and her family's) adventures on Instagram (@ozandamber) or email her at arickerson@bluecricketmedia.com.

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