When a new player enters the Multi-Level Marketing game, they excitedly rush to the one place where all their friends reside, the one locale everyone goes to chat with their friends: Social Media.
These MLM newbies often immediately find themselves ignored by their cousins, disrespected by their best friends, and “unfriended” by anyone they haven’t seen since high school. Why? Because MLMs have a social stigma that repels at least 68% of non-MLM members (according to a now-defunct survey from Amplicate). It’s a strange social phenomena; one built on rumors and hearsay. Regardless, changing that stigma on Social Media alone won’t happen anytime soon.
Using your already present Social Media accounts can be a valuable asset to building your MLM, but it can also be a social killer. As Lisa from Wealth Mission Possible points out, spamming your friends for MLM leads can ruin your life.
“One of the biggest mistakes I see network marketers doing with their social media marketing is constantly try to sell and recruit. Don’t do that! People don’t want to see another advertisement or be sold. They want their problems solved, meet interesting people, or learn interesting things. Be a caring online friend and share content that solves a problem. You want people to get to know and trust you as a source of information that they need.”
So how do you approach Network Marketing on a Social Network? First, you must identify the social networks that best identify with your target audience.
In essence, there are really only 6 social networks worth joining in the U.S. (believe it or not, China actually lays claim to the fourth and fifth largest social networks in the world).
The top 6 Social Networks for MLMers are as follows, ranked for their effectiveness in Network Marketing endeavors:
- Google Plus
Of the top 6 above, we will discuss using the top 3 for improving your Network Marketing business and adding downline reps. Creating a page on every social network will boost your Network Marketing potential and Google rankings, which is very important because it directly grows your business’s appearance in local searches. But the following 3 will enhance your opportunities. We will cover the other 3 (Pinterest, Instagram, Google Plus) and maybe a couple other “ringers” in a later blog posted here on Listguy.com.
Considered the oldest social network next to Myspace, LinkedIn is the business-oriented social network. Why is it listed No. 1? Not because it has the most users, which it doesn’t, but because it may have the most live potential for downline rep acquisition. LinkedIn is all about career growth. The most active LinkedIn users are generally looking for new jobs or networking for future career growth. These aren’t dead-end buyers, but ready-to-go sellers for your MLM business.
As Jackie Ulmer of Home Business Hangout says, “LinkedIn is designed specifically for professionals and executives and really when you think about it from a Network Marketing perspective; for those professionals that are burned out and looking for a “Plan B” it can be a great place to really find and connect with people and generate leads. BUT you have to be careful about how you approach them. LinkedIn is designed specifically for professionals and executives and really when you think about it from a Network Marketing perspective; for those professionals that are burned out and looking for a “Plan B” it can be a great place to really find and connect with people and generate leads. BUT you have to be careful about how you approach them.”
According to statistics from Mashable.com in 2012, a whopping 50 percent of LinkedIn users have a bachelor’s degree. And users only spend about 8 minutes on the site per visit, which is far fewer than average visit times for Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. The point is that if you’re going to do business on LinkedIn, be catchy, witty, clean, sharp and very, very quick.
The King of Social Media. Before CNN announced that Facebook reached its 1 billionth user in 2012, Mashable compiled this amazing infographic of Facebook’s user demographics. It’s quite clear that Facebook isn’t as populated by those who necessarily need an MLM subsidiary income as you may think. About 58 percent of Facebook users earn more than $50,000 a year. And about 81 percent of Facebook users attended college. While that doesn’t mean they are immune to MLM possibilities, it does mean that to communicate and sell to the average Facebook user may be more of a challenge than previously thought. You would have to tread lightly to appeal to their senses.
So how do you go about Network Marketing on the planet’s largest social network? Many, including Kim Garst, a Network Marketing guru, have their own opinions. As Kim said in her blog “How To Make Your Network Marketing Profits Boom Using Social Media”:
“Your ideal prospect is the person who actively wants what your provide. You solve their pain point and they NEED what you are offering! So when you’ve figured out your niche and positioned yourself via social media for network marketing success to provide that particular product or service for the people looking for it, naturally, when they find you, you are meeting a need that they have!”
One of the most prevalent pieces of advice shared across Social Media experts and MLM experts is that you should use your own personal Facebook account for your Network Marketing. Why? Because you want your potential downline contacts to see who you really are, not some business-only hack.
Business for Home published an excellent piece regarding how to use your Facebook account for Network Marketing. Yes, it advises to use your actual, current Facebook account, but to modify a few things to appear more mature.
“If you truly want to use your profile for network marketing business, then you need to make it reflect your leadership. If there are “funny” photos of you in your albums and if you are constantly sending pillow fights, horoscope info, pixie dust and game apps to people, you may want to shift the use of your time. Sit down and spend some time crafting your message. What do you want people to know about you? You need to connect people to you as a person and you as a business leader.”
One particular piece of advice that I loved in the Business for Home article came at the very end: “Help (people), genuinely. Be of service. Recommend friends & invite people to groups. Be that connector and facilitator of relationships and you will be rewarded time and again!”
“Should I directly promote my MLM business on Facebook?” As Psychology Today reported earlier this year, Facebook tends to bring out the most wildly narcissistic side in all of us. A balancing act exists on Facebook wherein people have to decide if they should advertise their business in their Facebook status updates. I, personally, believe that doing so is only acceptable once every two months as long as you regularly post in between. Why so few? Because these are your friends, not your downline reps. You will lose friends and credibility among your friends if you constantly tell the guy you went to high school with 20 years ago that he can “make thousands of dollars in residual income” by joining your plan. It’s a fail-guaranteed tactic 100 percent of the time.
To self-promote without losing all your friends, follow the advice from Jezebel.com in this 2011 article “How to Self Promote Without Being A Jerk”.
A few others (I literally mean a few) believe that you can actually self promote on Facebook effectively. This article by Reviewz N’ Tips tries to justify this long-hated stance in their article “Why Self-Promotion Isn’t Always a Bad Marketing Approach.”
I have always advised to simply post about how much you love your work, or how well you’re doing, or how life-changing your MLM business is. Never invite people to be a part of it, simply state how much you enjoy it. The direct invitation, even in a private message, can be poisonous to your social life.
For example, my sister hates the idea of Network Marketing. She really, truly, does. But we have a mutual friend on Facebook who is part of an organic wrap MLM business. Every now and again, this mutual friend will post a photo of herself before and after a wrap. The results clearly speak for themselves. And the caption to the photo is simple and unobtrusive: “Loved my wrap results today! You guys should try this!”
After being “subliminally brainwashed” for 8 months by this mutual friend, my sister finally gave in, seeking for the same results. Now she is a full-time consultant of the same wraps, a downline rep in the mutual friend’s MLM business.
But hey, I’m not the only self-proclaimed expert out there. Here’s what Vicki Berry of MLM Dream Saver said about balancing the Network Marketing self promotion tightrope on Facebook.
“Trust can be made over time, but broken in short order if you abuse the privilege of someone’s attention. Don’t waste your work accomplished in building your network by spamming people, posting your business proposition on their personal profile page or by filling their inbox with unsolicited product and opportunity information!”
Network Marketing on Facebook is simple, free, and incredibly effective. Plus, potential new downline reps often search for local opportunities on Facebook, and now you’ll show up in the search results. In fact, several thousands of folks believe Facebook IS the internet. Try telling my grandma that her “Facebook” is really called an iPad and she’ll swat you in the face with it and say “Face … book”.
You’ve heard of Twitter. Perhaps you’ve started an account and walked away from it with frustration after learning you only have 140 characters for every tweet. Or, perhaps you’re a regular Twitter fanatic with tweets for every trending topic. If you are already a regular Twitter user, keep it up, and follow me @zzavoral if you’d like.
See what I did there? I provided a small piece of unsolicited advice and invited you to follow me at your own leisure. It’s a concept of Twitter that seems lost among Network Marketers. Just like we do on Facebook, Network Marketers tweet mini-sales pitches every week with the hopes that someone will ask how to get in on the secret. And just like on Facebook, these sales pitches cause irreparable harm socially and even economically.
Plus, MLM businesses are already on a spam alert on Twitter after Mashable reported that #mlm was the top trend on Twitter for several days back in 2009.
Unlike Facebook, Twitter isn’t used by everyone in the world. In fact, according to statistics compiled by Media Bistro in this infographic, twice as many Twitter users are from cities and suburbs than from rural areas. And here’s another interesting note that may or may not apply to your MLM business: the average Twitter user is not white, but of ethnic diversity. For some power MLMers, ethnicity plays an important part in their overall network marketing strategy, as noted in this powerful blog post by Dream and Hustle, an African-American economics blog with some adult language.
Earlier this year, Angela Hardy, Network Marketing and Twitter consultant, posted an excellent video introducing some hard-hitting, detailed strategies to Network Marketing on Twitter. “You need to remember that any social media marketing strategy is all about relationship building. A Twitter marketing strategy can be a very powerful tool for MLM lead generation IF you use it as a tool to develop relationships with people before you start to talk about your products or opportunity.”
All in all, social media can be an excellent tool for building your Network Marketing leads and amplifying your downline rep count. Plus, it’s fun, useful, and sometimes even educational! Just make sure to double-check everything you read on social media with snopes.com. And read up on additional Network Marketing strategies for Facebook and Twitter. Who knows? You could have a goldmine in your Friends list!
Guest Blog Post: Zach Zavoral is an award-winning journalist who specializes in public relations, advertising, SEO and social media.