Welcome network marketer Jenny Hall, who shares an honest appraisal of how network marketers should go about promoting their wares – and how they can avoid being cited as the “bad guys…” Over to Jenny…
The marketing message disasters we see today…
Have you ever seen anything like this online?
‘Lose 12 lbs in just 10 days!’
‘Wrap away your belly fat in 2 weeks!’
‘Look 10 years younger and be wrinkle-free!’
‘Save £100’s on your shopping!’
‘You can become a millionaire working from your own bedroom for just a few hours a week!’
‘No more migraines…!’
Increasing use of social media for marketing has produced a few real marketing disasters, whether for network marketers or not.
Cooking site Epicurious thought they could help people chill out about the Boston Marathon bombing by promoting some recipes on Twitter.
Brands have made inappropriate marketing jokes on Twitter before, but Epicurious raised the bar. “Whole-grain cranberry scones!”
It got them more negative publicity than money could buy.
So companies have to be extra vigilant about the messages they put out.
Network marketing companies have to be even more vigilant. Why?
Well, they have thousands of independent business owners/consultants/distributors, many of whom use a wide variety of social platforms to promote their products and business opportunity.
They are self-employed but the company they work with is ultimately responsible for the message, and has to protect itself and the businesses of these thousands of people by ensuring that no posts, tweets, videos etc contravene any local laws or regulations (or good taste!).
Most leading network marketing (or MLM) companies have dedicated compliance teams, guidelines, policies, videos etc to address this.
Every company will have its own guidelines depending at least partially on the nature of its products
And here are some claims which are either illegal, contravene advertising standards or are simply unacceptable (in the UK – please be aware that other countries have their own regulations – or not!):
• Medical claims – this covers not only outright and outrageous claims – ‘cures cancer’, for instance (yes, I’ve seen this!), but also even a suggestion by business owners that they have gained a benefit for a specific condition such as asthma or IBS (probably the number one reason that many people consume one of my company’s leading products), or an ad or post which juxtaposes medical conditions and products.
The most we can say is that a product ‘promotes or supports a healthy digestive/immune/respiratory system’ – doesn’t exactly set the world on fire, does it?
• Weight loss – this is a very big one; we are not allowed to post before and after pictures on our social media timelines or suggest a weight loss figure and a specific time period for achieving it. But we can promote improved energy, feelings of wellbeing, a healthier relationship with food, a fitter lifestyle etc.
• Earnings – there can be no suggestion that high earnings can easily be achieved, and any figures quoted must be verifiable. This is easier, as most reputable companies do not stress the big numbers in promotional material (that tends to come later, when people are looking at the detail of what’s possible) and can readily back up their figures. This also applies to company incentives, such as cars or holidays, unrealistic claims are not acceptable.
So how do you show the real benefits of your product or service when what you can say is so restricted?
How do you promote health products without making health claims, show savings on bills, weight loss or more youthful radiant skin?
How do you show the potential for life-changing earnings?
Customers can be great ambassadors, posting their testimonials (on their own pages!)
Lifestyle posts are great – having family time in the sun, winning incentives, going on holiday again (all with a bit of relevant product placement); sharing company news is brilliant, new products and events, as well as team news, new team members, promotions, incentives and achievements.
My company has put together some brilliant, compliant ads and a whole campaign around our weight management programme, stressing the healthy lifestyle, with some celebrity sports and dance stars.
These restrictions may ultimately be a good thing
They subtly suggest the benefits of a product or service, rather than the ‘Buy this and look 10 years younger’, ‘Join my team’ posts which are cheesy and can be a bit of a turn off.
It’s all about telling powerful stories, after all, as we know ‘Facts tell, stories sell’ – we just need to get creative!
Any questions? Drop Suze a note on email@example.com