I want to support my small business-owning friends because I know how how hard it is to try and pave your own way in the world. It doesn't matter if you are an interior designer, a fitness coach, or a product representative (hey, Avon ladies!)--I want to support you. I want to know about your products, and I want to see your success. But, guys and gals, I cannot hold my silence any longer.
There are so many amazing products that are sold through reps--Avon, Younique, hundreds of awesome leggings companies, Monat, Scentsy (and Party Lite, their candle counterpart), Mary Kay, and countless others that I know I'm missing. These direct sales positions can be incorporated into almost any lifestyle because they are so flexible, and I can understand the appeal. Create your own hours! Work from home! Be part of a dynamic team! Work with a seasoned mentor to learn more about business! Use your social network to recruit others! Copy and paste 30 status updates to your Facebook wall every day! Forget family photos--post our branded photos instead!
The perks of being a product rep are amazing. The product line you are hawking is miraculous. We get it. And do you know how we get it? Because you are shoving it down our throats constantly.
The 80/20 Rule
There is a general rule in social media marketing called the 80/20 rule. In essence, you should be posting about your own brand only 20% of the time; the remaining 80% should be community outreach, sharing non-branded content, and generally cultivating a community around your brand.
Consider this business wreath--which is a thing, I promise. It illustrates (in the most beautiful way possible!) the 80/20 rule. Let's break it down.
- The blue flowers represent your branded/product posting. Take note how few blue flowers are on the wreath!
- The rest of the wreath represents your remaining social media posts. Post (yours or other's) tutorials, blog posts from like-minded bloggers, etc.
- Visually, the wreath is cohesive, which alludes to your brand voice. Without curating your posts around your brand identity, you'll end up with a smorgasboard of posts and very little growth.
Creating your brand voice is personal, and may evolve over time. If you're incorporating religion into your beauty business, you could post inspiring stories from like-minded blogs. YouTube videos, funny memes about makeup, blog posts from beauty bloggers--these would fit into the voice of a beauty product representative.
I work with a few Scentsy reps as their business coach, and we've found through trial and error that Scentsy customers also tend to use essential oils, natural products, and enjoy DIY projects. Obviously this is our limited experience, not a sweeping generalization of the Scentsy customer base as a whole, but it goes to show how you can link together multiple ideas into your brand voice.
Tried and tested, this is one of the hard-and-fast business rules I always try to reinforce with my clients, but especially for anyone that is using their person profiles to promote their business. Failing to follow it will lead to brand burnout with your potential customers, and could lead to annoyed friends or family muting your posts entirely.
It's your responsibility to nurture and grow your business, but there are tons of ways to make it a little easier on yourself. Here are some ways to avoid annoying your friends and family while still growing your business:
Create a dedicated Facebook page for your business.
You can invite your friends and family to like it--that way they get to choose if they want to follow your journey. This allows you to keep all of your business information in one place, if someone decides they want to look up a video or photo of a product, and it gives you more freedom to post the content when and how you like. Personal accounts are just that--meant for sharing your life with your friends and family, while following a business page comes with the expectation that you are going to try to sell to them.
Ask for permission before adding someone to a group for your business.
Groups are very different from business pages, and they should be treated as such. Groups are meant to foster discussions and connections within your community, whether it be with your colleagues or your customers. Not everyone that follows your page wants to be alerted each time a post is made, which is the default setting for groups. Save the group for your VIP clients, those that you've recruited to work with you, or people who express an interest in sustaining a long-term conversation about your product.
Don't just copy and paste.
Yes, I know that these companies come with robust marketing support, and probably have already sent you an eBook with 50 Facebook Posts That Convert. Just remember that people aren't stupid--even a non-marketer can identify when someone uses a pre-written post and not something unique or tailored to the rep. Instead of capturing attention, this conveys that you are just in it for the money, and not selling a product you are passionate about. Take two minutes to write your own copy, in your own voice. It makes a difference!
Have any other tips to add? Let us know in the comments!
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