As most of you know I tend to “hang out” with a lot of independent consultants for direct sales and network marketing companies. Offline and online. They are my friends. They are my clients. They are my fans and followers on social media. Because of this I hear a lot, and see a lot, among representatives from various companies on social media. I also see a lot of what is happening in the comments and from their other followers or consumers like me. Most of the time, the enthusiasm and support is positive. Sometimes, however, the comments are negative, and complain about a company’s reps’ social media posts.
I am not talking about the negative reviews about a company or business opportunity, or someone who trolls the internet to disparage companies, or the rogue distributors who bash other companies on purpose. Those are handled in other ways with compliance and reputation management. What I am talking about is when a real consumer, follower, or fan, comments negatively about the social media behavior of distributors of another company – as a whole. That’s right. Whether it is a few bad apples or an entire organization following a leader’s training, (or heaven forbid, the training coming from corporate) negative comments about a distributor’s social media behavior are attributed to the entire company in one fell swoop.
I am seeing this more and more and it disturbs me. Not so much that a consumer has expressed their frustration in public – that is the way things work now and in general it helps keep brands accountable in providing good customer service and an excellent product. What disturbs me is that they have something to complain about at all when it comes to social media posts! It’s a real problem because they aren’t going to the company to provide feedback. They aren’t even giving individual consultants direct feedback. They are telling their social media connections. They are complaining about you to the world.
What is the solution? Yes you can have someone monitoring your social media mentions, your Google results and reading the posts put out by your distributors, but that will not show you what consumers are saying about your product in closed groups, or to their private network, and it also won’t tell you what is being said about your company in general when the brand name isn’t mentioned specifically.
The solution is in training your distributors in correct ethical social media marketing tactics so there is nothing to complain about. If your company’s representatives are property trained in setting up social media effectively, and in composing creative social media posts that compel people to interact socially, and trained in knowing when and how often to post, you will be able to eliminate your company’s poor reputation. And a poor reputation is what you will be getting if you do not address this.
There are at least 3 large companies I know of that right now are suffering from a damaged reputation among online fans/followers. If your company is not as big it may not be making as much of an impact on you – yet – but it will, if you and your reps are following suit. The complaints I see about these companies are:
- Posting promotional content several times a day throughout the week
- Adding 100s of people to “Facebook party” events without their permission
- Adding 100s of people to private Facebook groups without their permission
- Doctoring before and after photos and making outrageous claims about results or income
- Posting too often and “filling up my feed” with posts about products or opportunities
- Using Instagram to post ads vs. photos the way it is intended
- Adding people to personal social media accounts, only to private message them with spam
- And more…
If you are not 100% sure your company is not being talked about in this way in social media, consider requesting an audit from me. I can take a sample of your distributor’s social media posts and activity and make suggestions on where your field needs training. This is not a policing or compliance review – it is a review of how the field is using social media and what needs to change.
If you suspect that either your training, or the training given by field leaders, has resulted in distributors misusing social media in the ways listed above, why not hire me to conduct a webinar or series of webinars, or training for your corporate staff or leaders, to teach them a better way? Coming from an outside expert, proper social media training can make an enormous impact on a company’s reputation. As you may have experienced, distributors find that they can relate to me, they trust that I know what I am talking about, and they are eager to gets results and learn what to do to be more effective. My webinar and training rates are affordable and flexible, with pricing for “canned” programs, semi-customized programs, and fully customized programs. Contact me today to explore the options.
The bottom line is, do you want consumers to be complaining about the way your company’s distributors behave online, or do you want them to look forward to hearing from you, and to share your company with their network? Invest in training your distributors. It works.