Network marketers, IFAs etc – yes, you CAN blog if you want to

If you are a network marketer, franchise owner, IFA or other profession working with a brand that controls your marketing communications, you may be under the impression that you can’t use independent blogging as a means to promote yourself to potential customers.

blogging for IFAs and franchise owners on How to Write Better
Often when I’m out at face-to-face networking events I speak to IFAs (Independent Financial Advisors), distributors/consultants for brands like Utility Warehouse, Forever Living, Mary Kay, Stella & Dot, Arbonne and more, franchise owners of “umbrella” real estate and other similar businesses. Often they say that they aren’t able to blog because of restrictions on what they can and can’t say according to their respective brands’ guidelines. However …

Unless your business’s restrictions forbid all social media communications, there  ARE ways you can use blogging and social media to enlarge your “tribe” without breaking the rules.

A lot of your success depends on building relationships: that’s the key here

I have a feeling this is a point some people in this position miss altogether. Remember that old adage: “people buy from people they know, and like?”

When you are out networking face-to-face, you are establishing relationships with people in and around your community. Those relationships are not just about your business; they are also about you, the person.

And this is where the link to blogging and social media can be used, despite your business’s restrictions, because it helps people to get to know you – and like you.

An example of relationship significance…

In the last two or three years, while out networking I must have met more than 20 distributors for Utility Warehouse. All have been nice people, but there is one with whom I established an instant rapport, because she and I have both been cancer patients. Up until then I hadn’t been particularly attracted to the UW service, but with that common ground (entirely unrelated to utility costs) to unite us, I became her customer.
a story about Utility Warehouse, on How To Write Better
It wasn’t anything to do with trust or expertise, because all UW distributors work to very high professional standards. I’m actually not sure why it was, but it probably has to do with having shared some serious problems. That common, yet non-business ground, opened the gate that led to a successful business transaction.

And it’s possible, too, to create strong unification and relationships with potential customers through the written word in blogging and social media. Just like in my story above, this does NOT have to be business related. Read on.

IFAs need to think outside the financial box

In most countries IFAs are very strictly regulated so can’t be seen to offer financial advice that hasn’t been thoroughly vetted. Because blogging about finance, investments and all that usually would be sailing far too close to the wind, they don’t blog – or even share their financial skills – in social media posts.

One IFA I know – a terrific character, very entertaining man – solves that problem very neatly. He is a well-known figure in his local community which of course is good for his business, and he networks faithfully at business events. He also blogs.

Not about finance, of course. He can’t. He blogs about his life, his hobbies, his humour, his views on the birds and the bees. His blog has developed a very large cult following in his locality, which underscores the local business relationships he develops when out networking. People like his blog; they like him. And because they like, know and trust him, they buy financial services from him: he is very successful.

And how can network marketers and franchise owners benefit from blogging?

People in these circumstances usually are expected to use promotional material from their network or franchise, which is understandable of course. It makes perfect sense to preserve the brand and make sure everyone is singing off the same hymn sheet.

However, it takes more than standard branding and a rehearsed elevator pitch to get people to know you and like you – enough to buy from you. Although blogging and posting on social media are not normally encouraged in terms of the franchise’s or network’s rules, what about other topics?

arts & crafts on How To Write Better

Can you blog about arts & crafts?

If you are active in your local community – let’s say in a sport, a craft, or a arts-related activity – you could blog about that. Don’t forget that you can aim your blog very carefully at small geographical areas now, by promoting it in local groups on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus and others.

Without naming names, you’ll find increasing numbers of people are likely to follow your blog and related social media posts and won’t fail to notice that you’re also their local Stella & Dot lady or Arbonne consultant. When you network face-to-face, you can informally discuss your blog topic as well as your business. Depending on the franchise/network, too, you may also be able to promote your blog alongside the business itself.

So network marketers, IFAs, franchise owners … start blogging not about business, but about YOU

And reap the benefits by using that to add another dimension to your business networking. It won’t happen overnight, but eventually it will establish a strong pull. And best of all, you’ll probably enjoy it…!

If you have any questions about blogging, don’t hesitate to drop me a note on suze@suzanstmaur.com. You may also find this book useful

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