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The Truth About Social Selling: What You Need to Know

March 19, 2024

I’ve mentioned this topic on my social media before and briefly in previous podcast episodes, but I feel like it needs to get hammered home again to everyone. It’s no secret that people are getting paid to promote and sell products on the Internet.

In fact, it’s genius. This type of opportunity of sponsorships and brand representation, used to be only available to stars and athletes and the entertainment and sports industry.

And I am super grateful that this door has been open for people like you and me because having that extra stream of income, especially in our current economic times, is truly lifesaving. And I am a testament of it being lifesaving.

3 Ways To Earn Money Online

But just to review, there are several different ways to earn money online when it comes to social selling.

Network Marketing

You have network marketing, which is where you represent a particular company by promoting and selling its products and you build a team of distributors just like yourself who do the same thing.

This would be a company like Beachbody, who I have been with for 10 years, MONAT, Arbonne, Hue and Grace, Crunchy, etcetera. And some of these companies also have an affiliate opportunity aside from their network marketing one.

Affiliate Marketing

Now, affiliate marketing is where you can share your unique code or link with your followers and then you earn a commission from those purchases. Sometimes, it’s a one time code, sometimes it’s a forever code, and the commissions can be anywhere from 10 to 35%.

You aren’t necessarily building a team of distributors in this instance like you are in network marketing, and, therefore, there’s less passive income because you’re not necessarily duplicating yourself.

It all falls on you and how much you market and how many people, you know, follow you and click your link, right? It’s a heavy weight on your shoulders.

But you’re still earning money online by sharing the products that you know and love.

Paid Sponsorships

And the last one that I’m going to talk about today, there’s obviously many ways to make money online, but in social selling is paid sponsorships.

So that is where social influencers are paid by brands to market their product or their company. I’ve seen this with everything from baby gear to supplements, clothing brands, and, yes, even marketing specific cable TV shows. No. I’m not even kidding you on that.

Now where most of these people get started is where? Network marketing. That’s just the fact of the matter. It’s the foundation of where they get their social selling skills. They don’t have to think about a product, it’s already made for them.

The marketing more or less is done for them. Many times they have mentorship from their own upline or corporate mentor. And also, you’re able to learn from one another like in the network, right, whether it’s at conferences or team calls, etc.

Influencers get paid for social status and content

So a lot of the guesswork of learning how to utilize social media and market yourself, that is taken out of play because it’s right in front of you, the resources, right? You’re just honing those skills over and over again over time. And consistency plus time yields results.

Whereas those jumping into affiliate marketing and or attempting to get paid sponsorships, they don’t have that advantage.

They’re literally learning it all by themselves, which trust me, there’s definitely a learning curve to it all. Another major advantage that these network marketers turned paid brand sponsors have is that they have a built in audience for years through their network marketing company.

You know, they’ve talked on the stage in front of thousands of their peers. They’ve built up their social media accounts, and they have a following, even if they’re not someone’s particular upline sponsor.

I like to call these people network marketing famous. It’s not real life, but also it can pay off in dividends when you move into the arena of paid sponsorships.

Now paid sponsorships are when influencers are paid upfront to talk about those products that I mentioned before by the company. You know, they don’t have to meet a particular sales number.

They don’t have to even have literally I mean, no one even has to click their link or buy for them. They just get paid for their social status and influence on the internet. And all the influencers that you see what they are required to do essentially is produce content.

So the companies may require certain wording, certain length of a video, a certain amount of stories, a static post on their feed. There are certain requirements that these paid sponsors, these influencers are paid to do, right, in these paid sponsorships.

How Do Social Media Influencers Get Paid?

And for the most part, they’re providing, first and foremost, them with free products. Because how are they going to talk about it if they don’t have it in hand?

So they’re giving them free content. But then there are companies that are paying 1,000 and 1,000 of dollars for these influencers to talk about said product and promote the company.

I’m talking about thousands of dollars. Thousands of dollars for an influencer to tell you that their favorite taco sauce is Siete. Okay. I’m not kidding. Like, it sounds awesome. Right? And it definitely is if you’re the one getting paid. But everything has a cost and includes this.

Like, there it’s not all that glitters is gold. First off, if you’re the influencer, you had to work your tail off to get to where you can be paid for no one even, you know, having to click a link. Like, you’re just paid upfront in full. But these companies vet these influencers hard.

So they’re looking at the engagement numbers, how many followers you have, you know, what does your content look like? Is it trendy? Is it professional looking but also seemingly familiar, like the girl next door could produce it, you know, so that you seem relatable. Right?

They don’t want you thinking like, they don’t want people to look at your content and thinking like, oh, this is the typical ad I see for Gatorade on TV or, you know, you name it. Right? Neutrogena, whatever. They don’t want buyers, consumers to feel like that.

They want them to feel different because if it was the same thing you saw in print or on TV, or on the radio, whatever, your Spidey senses would go up. And let’s be real, though, like, it’s literally the same thing, but just in a different dress.

And I’m not trying to sound like sour grapes, because I commend anyone who is at this level of being a paid brand sponsor for these companies, because I know they had to work really hard, most of them, to get to where they’re at.

But at the end of the day, it’s the same thing as your typical star, you know, being photographed holding a particular handbag. It’s the same thing as your favorite athlete getting paid to wear a logo on their shirt.

Because most of these influencers, spoiler alert, they’re not using all the products that they share with you.

Okay, and they’re not using it or they’re certainly not using it all the time, right? They’re paid to do it, folks. Just like back in the day before he had this incident with his wife coming after him with a 9 iron, Buick used to pay Tiger Woods 1,000,000 and 1,000,000 and 1,000,000 of dollars for years.

K? Now, do you really think Tiger Woods was rolling around in a Buick? Stop it. No. K? This is in. He drives a Range Rover. A little different. Right?

Maren sitting in booth outside with business materials

Unlock the Secret to Making Money Online Today

No More Wasting $500 on Gurus!

This guide is robust and can help you get started making money in the social selling space as soon as you want!

Now, which is also I think as a consumer, you know, the when you’re following these types of, quote, unquote, influencers, it’s dicey because the people that you’re following and you’re consuming their content, you’re taking advice from them, you’re buying and, you know, spending your hard earned money on things that they’re promoting.

They don’t really have skin in the game with that said product and what they’re sharing with you because they just got paid to do it and produce content for it.

You know, and and whether you know this or not, like many of these influencers, they also have a marketing company, finding them jobs, finding them particular companies, okay?

It’s not like brands are just totally reaching out to set influence and like, oh, my gosh, your content’s fantastic. We love you.

No, like they’re, they have people. Okay, just like anything, because you can only be in so many places at so many times, right, and still be quote unquote, present on social media, creating the content, etc.

So what these marketing agents do, just like in Hollywood and things like that, right, They’re getting a cut of the profits that the influencers are getting from the brand deals. So the influencer is the face.

The Role Of Marketing Agencies Acquiring Brand Deals

And they need to show up and post on social media and read whatever it is that, you know, is attached to said ad, produce a particular post or have said content.

That’s their job. But the marketing agency, they’re seeking out the deals in the 1st place. So it’s to their advantage to find the biggest and best brands with the largest payout, because they in turn, receive a cut of that.

So there’s so much more to this, then oh, my gosh, like this girl I follow on social media, she just loves this lotion. Like, no sis, there’s a lot more to it than her falling in love with said lotion. Okay.

Whereas when you’re following someone, on social media who is involved with like, say, strictly network marketing or affiliate marketing, you know, they have to be a product of the product that they’re promoting.

So first of all, 9 out of 10 of these people that you see, they’re showing you results from their products, whether it’s, weight loss from a fitness program, better skin as a result of the skincare that they’ve been using, you know, showing you the difference in their hair, like, all these things.

But find me the paid influencer who does this regularly. Oh, wait. Most of the time, you’re just seeing a pretty post or reel they put together, like I said, with the required wording that the company wants you to say and talk about because they don’t want you misrepresenting them.

So whereas in network marketing, it’s your own story attached to it because that’s the beauty of network marketing.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Network Marketing

– Foundation for social selling skills
– Learning from others within the network
– Built-in audience and social media presence
– Less passive income compared to other methods
– Success and challenges in network marketing

It’s your story to share. And in these paid sponsorships, like, they are creating a marketing plan for these influencers. So I’ll give you a perfect example.

Have you ever noticed that there are certain influencers that you follow, and there are particular times of the year… so let’s just use summer and winter to make things easy.

Unless you live in South Florida like me, and it’s pretty much like the same weather all the dang time, but I digress. But you’ll notice that these influencers, they will talk about a particular company that they are getting paid for, k, or, you know, a product that they’re getting paid for by a company that they’re getting paid by, they will talk about it.

And I’ll just pretend it’s summer. Okay? And this particular influencer talks about electrolytes, their favorite electrolyte company.

You’re gonna notice it popping up more once the weather changes. May, June, July, August, maybe even into September because that is on the company’s marketing plan of when they really wanna promote the heck out of said electrolytes because they know, well, when most of the country is freezing their butts off in January, like, we’re not gonna pay these influencers thousands of dollars to talk about our electrolytes because no one’s gonna be buying it.

That would be a lost leader for them. Same thing, flip it and go into the winter season, right? The winter season, all of a sudden, you see your favorite influencer talking about their favorite lotion that helps them with their dry, itchy skin in the winter, or their favorite I don’t know.

You get the idea. Okay? I mean and I’m talking like big brands. K? Because this is big business by big companies. So, for example, Stanley.

The infamous Stanley Cup. They have seasonal colors. So they have your standard, you know, blush and whatever cups. I’m not judging. I have one. Okay? But they also have seasonal summer colors or the infamous one that came out, for Valentine’s Day.

That’s sold out at Target. And so you’ll see these influencers on social media who are getting paid by Stanley.

And like I said, sometimes they don’t always get paid, but the company will send them a boatload of the product in all different shapes, sizes and colors.

And so Stanley, for example, they’ll send out their cups with these seasonal colors to their influential gals, if you will.

And it’s on purpose because they know, first of all, these influencers are getting it in hand, probably, you know, a few weeks to a month before everyone can purchase it on their own.

Maybe not a month, but a few weeks, right, to create hype, so that when it’s released on Stanley’s site, people just go and buy it out because they saw, you know, their favorite mom of 2 rocking it in the carpool line and talking on her stories.

That’s literally how it works. And time and time again, consumers fall for this strategic marketing because that’s what it is.

But you’ll be hard pressed to find me someone who is an affiliate marketer or involved with network marketing. Like I said, that’s the entry point for these paid sponsorships.

So they know they know the difference in what they’re doing too, which is kind of what I have a problem with. K? Because the affiliate marketer and the network marketer, they’re talking about the products they’re using and getting results from.

You’ll see, go on their stories. It’s like 3 quarters of their content every week, week in and week out. They’re using it. They believe in it. They have results from it. And they know if they’re not sharing what they truly love, they’re not gonna get paid.

Like, they have to be products of the product versus these other chicks who just get paid in full upfront. And I like I said, I bring this up because I’m very tentative about the way social media in general is trending. I don’t like it.

The Rise of AI and The Impact on Social Selling

It’s very difficult to discern and figure out what is real, what is fake these days, especially with the onset of AI. You know, AI is not just taking over the ad copy.

So ad copy is the text you see in post because very many times, I don’t wanna say all the time, but a lot of times people are using apps like Chat gpt for prompts and or to just create content for them.

You can usually sniff that out if you have been following someone for a long enough time and you can kinda tell by the way they speak. I personally believe that I speak in a very unique way so that people know it’s me or not me.

But I’m always transparent with you. And I tell you that I do have a marketing team that helps me draft content and create my emails. And what they do is they will literally watch my stories.

It’s almost like their own version of chat GPT. They’ll watch my stories, and they’ll pull out what I’ve said. Sometimes, you know, sometimes or most times verbatim.

So it sounds like me in a new post they’ve created or in my email series for that week. So this is happening with just text.

But the next level that many brands are stepping into is they’re making their own AI influencers because it cuts out the middleman. Think about it. If you’re a company and you can artificially make a model on a computer digitally, right?

Who is attractive, wholesome, whatever, right? Your standard influencer these days, no one’s the wiser. You’re literally able to cut out the middleman, create this person that people wanna follow, and you’re saving massive overhead.

I mean, think about it. We have people walking amongst us that don’t even dress like they’re naturally born sex, and we can’t tell the difference sometimes.

So you think people would know the difference online as to whether the person that they’re following is real or fake? They won’t. And these companies know it.

The technology is so advanced, and they’re going to use it to their advantage. They’d be dumb not to. So in closing, here’s my word to the wise, okay?

If you want to get to this level of paid brand sponsorships, you need to first get your feet wet within network marketing and affiliate marketing.

That’s where you’re going to build the skills to learn how to promote and build trust with your audience. And if you reach this social levying, social selling level, right, like check, check, and you can get paid brand sponsorships, kudos to you.

Vetting Companies and Final Thoughts About Social Selling

But I just ask that you do 2 things once you reach that level.

1 – Make money while you can because AI is looming at the doorstep. Knock knock, ready to replace you.

2 – Please vet the companies that you’re working with rather than immediately going for the dollar sign that’s going into your account.

I’ve talked about this before. I will repeat it again.

I know for a fact that there are people who came from my network marketing company that got paid to create content to promote the vaccine.

This is dangerous, folks. It’s very dangerous because as an influencer, as someone who’s getting paid a lot of money, thousands of dollars to promote companies, brands, products, agendas, you have a lot of people that you’ve built trust with over the years, and you owe them the truth. Because if it weren’t for these people, you wouldn’t even be in the position that you’re in right now.

You owe them transparency. And to all of my consumers, make sure that things add up with the people you’re following. And do not do not just take their word for it that you should buy it, you should, like I said, go get a dang vaccine so you can go travel and be around your family like some of these chicks did.

They did this, folks. They got paid thousands of dollars for it. I have the receipts. I know that this happened. So please make sure that everything’s adding up with who you’re following. Social media is not real life.

You literally do not know these people that you’re following. I don’t care how good they are at making you feel like you do. It’s a feeling. It’s not a fact. You don’t know them.

You must continue to have informed consent and vet the products that they’re promoting to you. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this episode. I’m always available on Instagram, so feel free to reach out to me to continue the conversation.

If you wanna get more of this type of content, make sure you follow me on Instagram at @macrowley. And if you love this episode, let me know by tagging me on IG or even leaving a podcast review. See you next week.

Maren sitting in booth outside with business materials

Unlock the Secret to Making Money Online Today

No More Wasting $500 on Gurus!

This guide is robust and can help you get started making money in the social selling space as soon as you want!

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