Six social media mistakes we can learn from MLMs

Want to market your business effectively on social media (and not scare people off)? Here are six lessons you can learn from the mistakes made by MLMs.

If they’re anything like ours, your social media feeds are probably slammed with promotional material from your second cousin’s MLM business with essential oils. And your finger is probably hovering over the “Unfollow” button. 

But what has she done to push you out of her social circle? You’ll find that most network marketers are careless with their social media and leave everyone with a bad taste for MLM in their mouths.

However, if you assess their flaws, these marketing mistakes can be your learning opportunities.

1) Overposting

People often think that more posts leads to more followers. But for the same reason we hate spam email, we hate spam social media posts.

Rather than being bombarded with posts, users want to see new, timely, relevant content. Think quality, not quantity.

However, finding the right balance can be tough as every social media platform has different etiquette. Hourly posts are excessive for some sites, for example. But posting just once a day on a platform like Twitter is too little.

The impact of over-posting becomes apparent when dealing with MLMs. I’ve unfriended someone who posted five times a day on Facebook, but I’m more likely to unfollow someone if they post 50 times a day on Tumblr.

So, if you don’t want to sound like some nutty flat tummy tea influencer, know how often you should post on your chosen social media platform. And avoid spamming peoples’ social media feeds.

2) Overt calls to action

Nothing repels people more than a shrill “Buy now!” and a link. instead, offer your users something interesting or useful, whether it’s an inspirational quote, a beautiful picture, or a helpful blog post – then give them the link to subscribe to your email list or buy your ebook. 

And remember, your social media shouldn’t come off as too sales-y. This is a place for you to connect with more consumers and invite them to interact with your brand in a way they can’t on your website.

People don’t follow brands that only post day in and day out about their product offerings. That would be like watching the shopping channel on cable TV.

3) Duplicity

If an overt call to action receives no response, some network marketers will hide their intent to lure you in.

They’ll swipe right on every person on Tinder or post their MLM on a job board to attract people who have different assumptions about their goals. Then, once you’ve let your guard down, these network marketers will toss their pitch.

This is obviously hurtful when you’ve invested time and effort into an activity and discover the other party was pulling a bait-and-switch.

Failing to meet customers’ expectations is a terrible social media tactic. So be transparent, authentic and upfront. If you deliver on what you promise, and keep your marketing in line with this, your site’s bounce rate will go down and your reputation will improve.

4) Irrelevance

Have you noticed many network marketers don’t seem to be promoting their products at all? They’re posting about how happy they are and how great their job is, but they don’t seem to believe in what they’re selling. Most of them care more about recruiting than they do selling, and it shows. 

This not only creates the vibe that they’re an illegal pyramid scheme, but it’s also irrelevant for 90% of the viewers looking at their posts. Not everyone they convert should or could become a recruiter. Good businesses thrive by converting buyers who genuinely enjoy their products.

For us, this translates into a lesson about knowing our audience. What are your viewers interested in? How can you cater to them? Are you targeting a market that might not be your best opportunity?

The more you know about your target audience, the easier you’ll find it to create marketing content they’ll notice, relate to, and engage with. And the more your sales will go up as a result.

5) Ineffective photos

One photo is almost always better than zero photos, except in some cases I’ve seen with MLMs. Some marketers will post anything and everything as a chance to talk about their businesses, including pictures of themselves holding their newborn or beautiful Christmas lights they saw on the walk home. 

Or worse, they’ll seemingly post an innocuous photo – ‘here’s me just making a cup of coffee’ – with products conveniently placed in the background. As if simply seeing an aloe vera tube hiding next to your kettle is going to suddenly create a stampede for sales.

All this heavy handed product placement does is make you look desperate. Or deceitful. (Do you really think we don’t know what you’re doing? Do you think we’re stupid?)

So learn the lesson from MLMs and use relevant imagery. Don’t shoehorn your business into every single social media photo opportunity. If it’s not a natural fit for a photo either choose a different time to talk about your product, or choose a different picture.

Otherwise you’ll risk looking desperate, which is never a wise marketing strategy.

6) Working without the network

Too many multi-level marketers act like they have to build their businesses from the ground up, contacting people with no interest in their product and posting into the void. This is why they’re often trying to tackle the wrong people and wrestle them into their MLM.

And there’s much we can learn from their mistakes. We’d all fare better if we found relevant social media groups and provided insight in the comments. If we reached out to others in our field to network and create social sharing agreements. And if we created insightful content for others’ websites. 

So let this be a lesson to us all that we’re not alone, and there are others in our industries who can help you improve our social media game. Business to consumer marketing will get your business solution out there, but connecting with other businesses will be what exponentially grows your exposure.

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Photo by Priscilla Du Preez