Have things ever changed since I started in network marketing 21 years ago. Back then, we thought we were pretty high-tech with tools such as fax-on-demand, 1-800 sizzle lines, and teleconference calls.

Today, with the tools of social media, it is easier than ever to launch a business and consistently keep that business top of mind with those we know and with whom we network. And, if we do it right, we won’t come across as spamming our opportunity and we won’t wear out our friends.

If I were to start out today, I would focus in two areas: my current warm market, who I am already friends with on Facebook; and growing a new warm market, more business-oriented, through those I meet at in-person networking events and then connecting with them online through social media. This builds and leverages these new relationships.

  1. Prospecting Your Current Warm Market

    Let’s start with warm market. Think of how we are taught to make a list of everyone we know. A logical way to do this today is to begin with your Facebook friends. It’s easy to do a business launch with Facebook, a Google Hangout, or Webinar, and no one even has to leave their home. You can record it so it’s there for you to share with those who missed it.

    Now, let’s talk about “doing it right.” Success online is not about constantly posting stuff that comes across as spammy on your Facebook timeline (or wall.) This would include things like, “Jump on this AMAZING life changing opportunity call at 7:30pm ET” or “Ground Floor, never been anything like it - 555-555-5555.” Let’s break down what’s wrong with this method.

    First, you are always modeling for others what will be expected of them should they join you in business. Many people see a status update like this and think, “Yeah, right...heard that before.” Now, you’ve told the very people you want to attract that this is what they will be expected to do—spam their friends and turn them off. Who wants to do that?

    Also, you have no idea who might be interested or who to follow up with, and most people aren’t going to comment, even if they are interested. So you have a choice: just let it go or put out another status update asking if anyone listened. Awkward!

    If you posted something in a much more casual, curiosity-creating way, then you will likely have some people reach out to you and now you have some valid “prospects” to follow up with. This might be something like, “I’m looking for some information on [city X] and need your help. Do you know anyone in this city? Private message me if you do. Thanks.” Now, you’ve put the word out there for some help, and some parameters. You could even include several cities or regions and begin to network in specific areas. The key is “private message” and follow-up.

    Beyond that, as you launch your business, reach out to 10 or so of your Facebook friends each day, in a private message, and reconnect with them to develop that relationship. After a few rounds back and forth, you can share that you are looking for some help as you expand their business and wonder if they know anyone who fits a certain profile. Once they say yes, ask if they would be open to reviewing some quick information and letting you know if they have any referrals for you.

    Never give a link or reveal more until they agree to assist or take a look at your business from a referral standpoint. If you send the link before they agree, you may scare them off.

    After that, the key is to follow up, and then continue to follow up consistently over time, if they are not prepared to join or refer others right away. Most often though, referrals are quite easy to get when you use the third-party approach and don’t put the emphasis on them.

  2. Building a New Warm Market Offline and Levering It Online

    I love this particular way of building relationships, because attending networking events puts your business right out, front and center, and makes it easy to share and ask for referrals in short order. The key is to be consistent offline, meet people, and then immediately send them a Facebook friend’s request (that same day) so they remember you. Let them know before you leave the event that you’ll be friending them on Facebook, and if that’s okay.

    Make sure your profile picture looks like you and your content and sharing is in line with your purpose there as a business person. Clean up your act, so to speak, if you want to use Facebook for business, so make sure to delete any posts that might even have the slightest chance of offending anyone.

    Next, the key is to stay in close touch with your new contacts over the next few months by commenting on their updates, engaging with what they share; liking their business page and showing you are truly interested in them, and believe in networking each other’s businesses out there.

    Most will be more than happy to do the same for you. As they do this, they begin to get a real feel for who you are as a person, outside of the short hour you might have each week to meet—and get to know a dozen or more people.

    When you share status updates that show your fun, social side, as well as your business side (in a lifestyle kind of way), interest in what you do will grow for some. Others will grow comfortable with your style and giving you referrals. As you get to know people better, invite them to like your business page, where you share more details about your business. Use your own business page to also like their business pages and share and promote their content as well. Work to make your updates fun, engaging, and something others want to share. This gets you in front of the networks of lots of other people.

With the social media tools today, you can build a huge organization right in your own backyard, or easily expand it around the globe! Just always remember, it’s about the relationship first. 

JACKIE ULMER is a network marketing leader, coach, and author who built a solid six-figure income using the Internet while maintaining the roles of wife and mom. Her passion is empowering women and young entrepreneurs to believe in themselves and reach for the stars.

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