Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Platform for Success

Within the last year or so, I have given into what has been flooding my Facebook newsfeed--for what seems like forever. But for most of that forever, I was annoyed and judgmental.

Social media used for small business//sales.

Come on, I am sure you have friends who are Beachbody Coaches, LuLaRoe Consultants, small business owners (Etsy shop, etc.), Rodan + Fields Consultants, Juice+ Plus Distributors, and the like, filling your newsfeed with their products, promotions, and sales pitches. And I cannot possibly be the ONLY person who has had the thought, "Facebook is for sharing your life! I want to see pictures of your family...your LUNCH...but I'm not buying what you're selling."

And then I did it. It started, for me with a fellow Seminole High grad who had FAITHFULLY posted her fitness and health journey with Beachbody shamelessly all over her social media accounts. I saw she was offering samples of Shakeology, and because I had seen her progress, I thought trying a sample was harmless. That led to (although several months later) a commitment to a fitness accountability group and Beachbody workout program. And I was, within months, in the best shape of my life--even post-baby! Then I turned into one of those people, constantly posting about fitness and Beachbody....eeek!

Most recently, my best friend began working with LuLaRoe. This particular friend has been a faithful ministry partner since I began serving in full-time ministry in 2010. When she asked if I'd like to host an online "Pop-Up Party" again, I thought that seemed harmless enough and it would be a great way to come alongside her--after all, she'd been supportive of me for years! {Truth be told, I kind of hated what I had seen of LuLaRoe clothing up until she began selling it. And then I bought a pair of black leggings. And I have never in my life had anything so soft on my body. Now, I'm obsessed...let's just say, I had a LuLaRoe filled birthday!}

Why do I share all of this? Because these people who are posting about their products or businesses have FAMILIES and deep rooted desires to actually make a difference in the lives of others. My Beachbody Coach is a wife, mom of three, and part-time high school guidance counselor. My friend, the LuLaRoe Consultant, is a new-to-the Atlanta-area, burned out former teacher who chose LuLaRoe because of their desire to give back, as a company. These Facebook sales people are (not always, but) often times in it for way more than a quick dollar--and let's be honest, with non-supportive pessimists like us as Facebook friends, they are not making dollars very quickly.

I made a choice--after many judgmental thoughts and clicks of the unfollow button. I chose to support my friends and their endeavors. I chose to advocate for their cause--even when I may be their least profitable customer (because, my budget often says "clearance at Target" and not "handmade from Etsy"). And I want to challenge you to do the same. How can we stand with our friends who are working their tails off to make a living? How can we support the use of social media for small businesses? Maybe it's giving into trying that workout program that seems to work for everyone else "but would never work for you...." OR maybe it's committing to host a virtual party and introducing your friends to products they may like OR maybe, it's just choosing to have a positive attitude when you see your friend's post and applauding them from behind the screen rather than criticizing them.

Let's embrace social media as a platform for small business success!