In my over 23 years in the world of network marketing, I’ve had the fantastic opportunity to be trained by some of the best industry leaders that this industry has ever produced. I think my most favorite trainings and lessons come from the “war stories” told by these mentors. Real world anecdotes and stories that really crystallize the challenges that network marketers face.
Yes, we as “MLM’ers” sit on these calls, the meetings and webinars listening to the war stories of what went wrong! But, the best part of this training is that we have the chance to learn from the mistakes of others and have the chance to learn what NOT to do to avoid the pitfalls and find a more direct path to network marketing success.
One of the biggest “threads” and euphemisms about the industry is the concept of network marketers becoming members of “The NFL Club” – where NFL stands for No Friends Left. For those of you that may have never heard of this concept, let me give a little explanation.
I’m sure that if you are in network marketing or even had friends of family in network marketing, you may have run into this kind of situation. Here it is: A member of the NFL club is that person, friend or family member that you AVOID LIKE THE PLAGUE because every time you meet them at a gathering, a function or on the street – do nothing but “barf” their network marketing opportunity or product on you.
C’mon … you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? You know you do! You have people like that in your life, and maybe YOU were or are one of these people too. Here is a true story of my most “memorable” NFL member stories:
True story! I’m at a FUNERAL of a family friend and here came someone into the funeral home – let’s call him “Joe” to avoid embarrassing him in this message. Well, when he came into the funeral home, I swear that everyone scattered like rats leaving a sinking ship to avoid talking to him!
At the time I didn’t know what was going on, BUT but within 10 seconds of him coming up to me I knew WHY!
You see, he instantly started blathering about a great new business opportunity, with a cutting edge product, and I would be great to be part of the team, and kept asking me if I was really serious about my financial future. In my mind I was going “DUDE, this is a FUNERAL MAN … what is WRONG with you!”
Yes, he did talk about the family, the “guest of honor”, and the weather, but every bit of his conversation dripped of looking for an opportunity to inject his new network marketing business into the conversation.
It was amazing to watch him float among the room, doing the same thing and having more and more people get away from him as fast as possible. C’mon … you KNOW what I’m talking about!
“Joe” is a typical member of the NFL club, and when talking about folks like this, we as network marketers like to sit back and chuckle, laugh at people like him, we shake our heads and comment about what a “bonehead” people like this really are.
But I’m here to tell you that YOU may be just as GUILTY as “Joe” but you may not even really know you are doing it – or worse – you may NOT know it because it has now taken a different form, and this “error” is often done by many well meaning new members of the network marketing community, but also being done MORE AND MORE by veterans of this industry that think that they are past doing this!
I know, I know. If I ask you right now (as one network marketer to another) if you are guilty of this activity. I’m sure you say NO because you don’t accost or pester people in the malls, or family gatherings or heaven’s forbid a FUNERAL. Or I’m sure you don’t THINK You are doing something as silly as pestering, accosting or bugging friends, family or colleagues.
But I bet you are doing the same thing on FACEBOOK!
Why can I say this? Because over the past few years, more and more veteran and newbie network marketers are indeed acting like “Joe” on social media – namely Facebook. I bet you MIGHT be doing this and may not even know it! And, after you read this article, and maybe look at your whole social media activity – you may FINALLY realize why your may be having horrible results in using Facebook to build your network marketing business!
Look … before I get into the SEVEN major errors network marketers are making on Facebook, I want to remind you about one important thing about Facebook and other forms of social media.
IT’S ALL ABOUT BEING SOCIAL AND PART OF A COMMUNITY!
Look, what is social media all about? It’s about using a digital, online interface to interact and communicate and share information about you and your life to your friends and colleagues. It’s just an online version of real life, and all about personal communication. It’s about building a community of people that like to interact with one another.
Unfortunately, there has been a trend in with network marketers that is not only driving me nuts, but is also driving others nuts, and creating members of what I call the DNFL club:
The Digital No Friends Left Club
Where these marketers just act like “Joe” at the funeral, incessantly talking about his busines, his product, his agenda without any regard for the community that he is part of. Basiclaly giving him an image of an uncaring, unprofessional, BORE that is to be avoided and never to be worked with!
What’s REALLY disturbing to me? Is that I’m seeing a wide range of so called network marketing experts, leaders, mentors, distributors and self proclaimed “experts” of using social media and network marketing quickly become pariahs that are ignored due to their misuse of Facebook and other social media platform to build their network marketing team!
Again, in a nutshell what does this all mean? Simple – HUGE numbers of network marketers are DIGITALLY through Facebook, doing what “Joe” did at the funeral … and that is just using Facebook to do nothing but “barf” all over their friends, colleagues and family about their opportunity.
What is different about doing this in real life or online? NOTHING!
It’s just as annoying and just as unproductive as doing it in real life. And all it does is have friends, family and colleagues “unfriending” and ignoring” you faster than a jackrabbit on a date!
Are YOU Guilty Of These DNFL Offenses?
Now, it’s time for a bit of a reality check and a time of some necessary self realization here. It’s time to talk about the litany of offenses that have turned well meaning network marketers to annoying “Joes”.
Are you doing any of the following things? If you are, it’s time to make some serious changes.
Because remember, people don’t care how much you know or what you are doing until you show how much you care – and doing any or all of these things proves that you DON’T care about your friends, colleagues and family online – and if you don’t care about THEM they sure as Hell don’t care about you and can and WILL quickly become a DNFL member.
Now in the next few comments I’m going to use “you” a lot, but this is directed as a generalization – but if it does apply to YOU, take notice and make changes NOW!
(1) Do NOTHING But Post To Your Facebook Wall About Your Opportunity Or Product.
I have many friends that I have reluctantly removed, unfriended and ignored on Facebook because every single, solitary post from them on their wall was about their opportunity or their product and not much if ANY of anything about their life.
Once is a while is fine because your business can her an important part of your life, but when every post becomes how many people you brought in, how much weight you lost, how many home parties you did, how many customers you got, or the 14 millionth post about your juice, makeup, shake, cookie, vitamin, pill, face crew. You just come off desperate and unprofessional.
Most of the TOP network marketers who work online and on Facebook RARELY even MENTION their company or product, yet they build their business quite well online. Why? Because they post more about their entire life and lifestyle and sharing information with people to help them with their business or just saying HEY, or sharing information about their family or events in their life.
Remember, your online persona is an “avatar” of your real life, and the more you just barf about your business or product you seem shallow and very … well … uninteresting. And I and others are NOT going to spend our valuable time dealing or listening to uninteresting people!
To quote my wife about Facebook: “If you are someone that does not bring interest, or light, or inspiration, and information about you to my life – I’m done with you”. She is by far one of the best Social Media experts I know and I can’t tell you HOW MANY people she has unfriended / removed / ignored due to the “Joe’s” out there in the DNFL club.
(2) Using Veiled “News” To Sneak In Information About Your Product or Opportunity.
This one is a real bugaboo of mine, and is really just a different version of the previous example.
Instead of making direct pitches about your business or product. You find some news story, article, video, interview that justifies your business or your product and you post that … but then a thread begins that talks about the product or opportunity.
Again, this is like “Joe” at the funeral, where every word, sentence and conversation thread was being analyzed for that RIGHT time to drop a subject to bring the conversation back to his business, product or opportunity. Look, people KNOW you are doing that (online and offline) and when they feel you are doing nothing but looking for ways to “get your point” in and sell your stuff – you get avoided VERY quickly!
You think you are being sly, sneaky and smart doing this? Nope! We can all see through it and it again, makes you nothing more than a one note poster that becomes yet another unfriended or ignored marketer on Facebook.
(3) Profile Picture Badges
In the early days of this concept (of someone putting a company logo or image as part of their profile picture) was interesting and it had some interesting results. But as more and more people began to do this, the power and interest of this wore off and is now pretty much an annoyance.
I admit, that in the past I did use these but realized something.
I’m BOB GATCHEL, I’m ME and no matter what product or service I’m selling, people are more interested in ME and what I’m doing and how I interact with others and with them. And having that “virtual tattoo” on my head or my profile picture EVERY time I interact with someone online was nothing more than a version of “spamming” my product in our first example.
Think of it as “Joe” coming to the funeral in his nice suit, with a big red button on his lapel that says “Ask me about how you can make money in my business”. It’s not appropriate and again, looks really desperate and unprofessional.
I have heard from others (and I am now also guilty of this), that when I see someone with one of those badges with their company logo as part of their profile picture on Facebook – OR – if they use a company logo or product image as their profile photo … I IGNORE them and UNFRIEND THEM! I just don’t wanna be constantly pitched directly OR indirectly!
Think about it! The more friends that unfriend you and ignore you … how are you going to get them to learn more about your business or even CARE about what you are doing. You DRIVE them away doing things like this!
(4) Company Or Team Link “Share Spam”
This one is sort of a combination of many of the above. Here is how it works:
Suppose your company or a team member or someone in the company creates a page, video or story about the company, product or opportunity. That’s great and in moderation (we will talk about this in a minute)
BUT invariably – it becomes like a chain letter where everyone on the team shares, comments and cross posts amongst each other. Where in just a few hours it seems everyone on this team has this same post, posted to other posts and other “friends” or team members that do the same. It’s like a virus that begins to infect every Facebook wall of a team.
Yes, SOME so called “Social Media Experts” and many network marketing company owners think this creates “mass” and gets their story out there for all to see in a great wide swath, because it creates the illusion of team / company excitement.
Nope – it looks desperate, contrived and totally unprofessional. And people DO begin to ignore this because … well … it never stops. When a new product comes, out or the box changed color, or the company president created a new video, it happens all over again and it gets VERY old VERY fast and is one of the fastest ways to lose “outer circle” friends and relationships online.
In the end, many of these teams, companies and distributors end up just sharing information amongst themselves ONLY because they have driven away other friends, colleagues, family or other online connections because they see you and your group as a bunch of folks all in their own world, caring only about the business and the opportunity and the product and not about the people you SHOULD be building relationships with.
Being friends with several network marketers across several industries and companies, the instant I see this – I just move on and when someone is an egregious offender of this (and the other offenses above) – I just don’t read what they say and just move on and end up unfriending or ignoring these people.
(5) Inappropriate Tagging Or Wall Posting
Now, by far the very worst offense and in most cases the reason for almost INSTANT unfriending or ignoring is this:
* Tagging people in a video, image, post, picture that has to deal with NOTHING personal, but again, something to do with your business, opportunity or product. Look, if you tag me in a picture of a meeting I attended, or of me at an event that’s GREAT!.
BUT to tag me in a photo of your bottle of juice, or image of your company logo, or some veiled news story that is a “in road” to a conversation thread about your business – you are GONE! This is SUPER bad form and happens REGULARLY!
* Using veiled articles or notes and then tagging or sharing them on my wall or anywhere on Facebook that is not appropriate is nothing but SPAM. It’s kind of like that chain letter attitude mentioned above BUT taking that and posting that on MY or OTHER non involved people’s Facebook walls without their approvel!
I have a ZERO tolerance with this and you are GONE the instant you do this. Trust me, people are sick of this and when this happens people dump you like yesterday’s trash. And these days, people are reporting this as spam to Facebook and accounts are being terminated over things like this. WHY? Because it violates the whole concept of what SOCIAL MEDIA is about. Treat me like a number, or notch in your network marketing belt and nothing but a prospect – then you show you don’t care about the community.
* Spamming My Wall. A more egregious version of the previous concept. Just posting something about your product, opportunity or company on ANYONE’s wall on Facebook is a MAJOR NO NO and again, an instant removal by me. I and others have even go so far as to report egregious offenders to Facebook for doing this, ending up in a termination of the account
(6) Massive Friending Of People For Blatant Cross Promotional Purposes
When you combine everything above COMBINED with the fact some folks go out there and friend hundreds and thousands of people for the sole purpose of building a huge friends list that they can annoy, spam and “barf” on. Again, is bad form.
It’s not about how many friends you have in this media, it’s about the relationships you build in this industry. I get literally hundreds of friend requests each day and in most cases I accept them all, and in most cases, it is someone doing all of the wrong things I mentioned above. Guess what happens? INSTANT removal and these folks are doing nothing but wasting time and energy trying this.
Funny, I happened to see someone online recently who is a MAJOR offender of most if not all of these things mentioned in this article – and this particular person posted that they were really upset because Facebook “blocked” them from friending more people for some reason.
Duhh! The reason is you are friending lots of people for one purpose only – to promote to them – and you DO try to promote to them – OR they see your Facebook wall is nothing but a sycophantic shrine to your network marketing business where your agenda is clear, and the reasoning for WHY you friended them is clear. So they either UNfriend you in droves, or in many cases these days these folks REPORT you to Facebook and you start to get that “reputation” as someone to be watched and your access throttled or even terminated.
Because there is nothing SOCIAL about what you are DOING!
(7) Finally – Quotes, Quotes and More Quotes.
This REALLY is something that REALLY gets my goat and a real sticking point with me.
Many of the folks that do all of things I just mentioned may come to the realization that they may have to add “other content” to their Facebook to seem a bit more real. Well they are thinking in the right direction but then they go about it the wrong way.
So what do they do? They end up going to some online quote site and just do nothing but post and post and post some “inspirational” quotes from the web. Or some inspirational “picture” or an image that has that arrow that points to your picture that says “This Person Loves MLM” or something totally uninspiring and interesting as that.
Doing this as part of the REST of the offenses described here, again, make you appear to be just posting this “perfunctory” extra quotes, or pictures as part of your promotional agenda and NOTHING to do with the real you. Contrived is the best word.
Why share inspirational quotes or pictures with me on Facebook if you don’t talk about what this inspiration is doing for your family, or your kids, your dog, your parents. How how you are doing things in your life. Nope – it’s ALL an agenda for your business and it shows. You may THINK people see past this, they do not. People are getting wiser and have MUCH less tolerance for constant insipid talk on Facebook and blatant promotional pitches – looking to connect with REAL people as part of the community!
When you add any or all of these offenses, you know what it all comes down to?
It comes down that, if you do this, you just don’t CARE about the community that you are trying to develop online. You appear to be, in the end, unprofessional and just see your friends, family and colleagues online as nothing more than an asset to help you build your business and nothing more.
Remember – people don’t care what you know until they know how much you care. And when you are like a digital version of “Joe” … it shows you don’t care and you end up losing friends and worse, lose respect. And the worst part of it all? It does nothing to build your business in the long run.
Here Is What You Should Do
(1) Be REAL!
Share your life and stories (as appropriate) on Facebook. Reach out and comment and participate in the lives of your friends, family and colleagues online. Talk about the weather, the kids, events you name it. Share pictures and stories. You are more than just your business, and using Facebook to do that shows you do care about the community and then when you do that the community will care about you.
(2) You CAN Talk About Your Company But Carefully And Appropriately
Look, I know you may be proud of your business or your product, and it is part of your life. There is NOTHING wrong with posting something on your wall about events or big things about your business or product but keep it in moderation.
My rule of thumb?
You should have 10 to 15 personal posts, comments, shares, pictures to every ONE post about your business. And when you do that keep it real with no hype, and no pushiness.
I am currently involved with a product line that has helped me lose close to 30 pounds in 90 days, and you know what? I have NEVER posted anything about the product or business directly on Facebook.
Yes, my wife and I talk about things about it and some folks reach out to us and I offer to give them more information privately. I do and they love it and we have been building a very successful business and team with this method.
WHY? Because I’m not seen as a pushy salesman of the product. YES again, we do mention it and when we hit our different levels of success, I post a thank you to some folks etc, but again, IN MODERATION!
NOTE: If you wanna push a business or product online do NOT do it on your FRIEND account but create a fan page on Facebook to do that. On that page, BARF AWAY, but do NOT do that on your main Facebook account.
(3) Be Real And Demand That Your Company Friends & Team Do The Same
We need to pay this concept forward and make sure our teams, company and friends honor this “being real philosophy”. I have had friends in my company who did nothing but talk about the business on my pages and I have had to remove their posts and remind them that although occasionally it’s OK to do that, but not so much that WE as a group look “desperate” and become members of the DNFL club.
SO – there you have it!
How much of this have you done? How much of this have you seen? How many of you are fed up with this unprofessional use of Facebook? And how many of you are going to change how you use Facebook (before you lose your friends or even have your account terminated?)
Well … it’s time to stop and remember that this is not an advertising platform, it’s a social platform.
Instead of just seeing people as building blocks solely as bricks to build your business, but instead they are people that want to talk with you, relate with you and be part of a community with you.
The minute you treat people as people and NOT as bodies you are throwing your business or opportunity at … and you start using Facebook and other social media as the tool it should be, then you will see greater interaction and relationships online, and in turn your business can and will thrive online.
Network marketing is a relationship business. And it’s time we remember that and concentrate on building relationships online and stop being a “Joe” and get OUT of the DNFL club!