Social networking is a wonderful tool to build your business, but should direct sales leaders befriend their team members?
I recently heard a self- proclaimed direct sales expert encourage managers and directors to be friends with their team members on Facebook. She said that way you can get to know what is going on in the lives of your downline. Some may wholeheartedly agree with this. Yet perhaps there is another way to look at this.
With regard to being offline – for those who work outside the home, are you good friends with your boss? What about your boss’s boss? Does your boss regularly share photos of grandpa’s birthday party or of himself at the ballgame while enjoying some adult beverages? Does your boss start your weekly staff meetings by sharing her frustrations, her personal highs and lows? Perhaps for some of you, this is true. Though for most others, you do not socialize with the boss on your off time.
Some will be quick to defend that direct sales works differently than a “real job.” That is a sad statement that partly contributes to the maligned reputation that if you have a direct selling business you don’t have a real job. For those who run their business like a business, then direct sales absolutely is a real job.
Still others reading this are saying that being a direct sales leader is not the same as being a boss. No arguments there. If you are an independent consultant, you are not an employee; so technically you are correct – there is no boss and employee relationship. Notwithstanding, if you are a manager or director within the company or within your downline, you still should behave like a boss and set a good leadership example.
Back to your personal Facebook page: is it a good idea to befriend downline members on your personal Facebook page?
Some say Yes, it is a good idea. Their reasoning is that you’re all one big happy family and you want to share your life with the ‘sisters’ on your team and you want them to get to know you better. You believe that you may be their manager but you’re a person first and they should get to see the good, the bad and the ugly about you. Everyone on your team is a new friend and you’re just like blood relatives. You may also believe that you should know everything that they’re up to or that you want them to see how you market your business. You think befriending your team members is a fabulous idea.
Others say No way, it’s a terrible idea. If you’re truly running your business like a business, and if you are a manager or director, especially if you have a large downline, then you need to be able to have some time to yourself. Otherwise, if you’re on Facebook, and if you opt to befriend your downline, they can hit you up on chat and distract you from what you were doing while you are ‘on your own time.’ Your activity and status updates will also be scrutinized. You may work 12 hours a day on your business, but also post a couple different status updates a day, or share a YouTube or play a game – and suddenly there will be downline members that take those actions and assume you’re sitting on Facebook all day while they’re out working their tail off so you can earn a bag of money off of them. Or you may be frustrated with an idiot driver or store clerk and want to let off steam. Suddenly, some of your downline will find cause to accuse you of being two-faced; all nicey-nice with them and a totally different person on Facebook. Do you really want to have your every action scrutinized that closely?
There isn’t a right answer here, other than what is right for you and your situation. It’s just wise to consider both sides of the Facebook debate before you opt to befriend your downline. If you already accepted friends with many of your team and are now having second thoughts, perhaps it’s a good time to start a separate FB page just for your business. Then alert your friends that you’re moving your business type activity to the other page. When you delete them as friends, they’ll still have access to you on the work site.
The choice is yours; so choose wisely. I would love to read your comments on this.
Debbie Shulman, Owner of Home Party Divas is a mom of 4 and a happy wife in a happy life. Lives in Florida. She loves direct sales and feels it is the best way to own a business without a large investment.