I'm That High School Friend Trying to Sell You Supplements on Facebook

Here's why you shouldn't unfriend that acquaintance who's peddling beauty products in your social media feed.
Publish date:
March 24, 2016
shopping, supplements, marketing, friends, social media, facebook, direct sales

Everyone's got a hustle these days. With more and more families struggling to make ends meet, you're starting to see more and more of your friends turning to direct sales and network marketing to earn a living. You've seen them in your Facebook feed trying to sell you makeup, skincare products, leggings, vitamins and supplements, fat-busting wraps, essential oils, and more. And let me tell you, it's not going to go away soon. How do I know?

Because I'm one of them.

Now, before you roll your eyes and click that "back" button faster than you can unfollow those obnoxious emoji-filled status updates from that high school friend you haven't talked to in 10 years, hear me out. We're not all that bad.

You've got to be brave as hell to sell stuff online to your friends and family

First of all, let's give it up to these people for having the courage to put themselves on the spot like this. Being in sales is hard enough with strangers, but those people just walk away and it doesn't matter because you didn't know them to begin with. Selling things online using Facebook as your platform is essentially signing your name to the stuff you're selling. It means alienating a lot of people and probably losing a lot of friends. This is something you already know and accept when you sign up for the gig. It's all part of the job.

Within my first week of selling supplements from my personal Facebook account, people I had known for years suddenly started questioning my intelligence and integrity. Close friends I had once stood in the lunch line next to in elementary school and held hands with bowing on our high school theater stage were posting backhanded memes directed at me and other direct-sales business owners.

I knew it would be an inevitable fight in this line of work, but I never thought that people I had known to be open-minded would shut down so fast, unwilling to listen to a 30-second explanation. So while it was expected, it doesn't make it sting any less coming from people you love and respect.

If you're going to buy this stuff anyway, why not buy it from your friends?

You're a well-read, intelligent person. You're just as capable as I was of looking up ingredients in my supplements from the grocery store versus the ones my friend was offering me on Facebook (the ones I now offer all my friends and family). And maybe your friends aren't selling supplements. Maybe they're selling makeup or essential oils or skincare. So why not buy from your friends instead of buying from a store? Or at the very least, why not hear them out?

I can imagine your objections: "But I don't use any of the things my friends are selling! It's just clogging up my feed!" Just because something isn't for you doesn't discount the efficacy of the product. You might not use essential oils, but you know a super-crunchy mama who is looking for quality essential oils. Send her to your friend selling essential oils!

It doesn't take any extra time or effort for you to give a thumbs-up (or hit that new "love" reaction button if you want to be a real small-business supporter!) the next time you see your friend's business post and open your friends list up to seeing it.

It takes a really self-motivated person to maintain these businesses

For most people working in direct sales through social media, they're already working a day job. Even more are also parents. For many of these people, their day jobs and family are the motivators for them to get into network marketing in the first place. (But that's another point entirely.)

Think about when you come home from your day job. What do you do? Scroll through your Facebook feed, eat some chips, Netflix and chill, maybe take care of the fam? My community of network marketers are busy on breaks at work and after work, coming home to do more work. And not only are they doing it, but they're doing it all by themselves; there's no boss to follow up and make sure you're doing the job (or even just doing it right). You have to admit that someone that self-motivated deserves mad props.

You're already doing it — I'm just getting paid for it

Have you ever posted your Sephora haul on Instagram? You know you paid big money for that VIB Rouge status, so what are you really getting out of it other than that beautiful face and that hole in your pocket? Are a few free samples really enough of a return on that investment?

Sharing something you love with all your friends and family is the definition of network marketing. When your friends are sharing something with you, it's because they love you and the product and genuinely want to share the products and/or business opportunity with you. The only difference between you gushing to your Facebook friends about that cute bag you just scored on sale at Target and me sharing how a line of supplements has changed my life is that I'm getting paid to tell you about how much I love my supplements, and all you have to show for your brag is a cute bag.

Basically, don't just shut your friends down. Be a smart consumer. Do your homework on a product before rolling your eyes and unfriending your second cousin from Louisiana. She just might be onto something.

  • Have you ever purchased a beauty or wellness product from a friend on Facebook?
  • Have you ever unfriended or unfollowed someone because of marketing posts?
  • Do you do direct-sales yourself? Have you ever considered it?