6 Media Trends for Direct Sales in 2012

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Media is evolving at such a rapid pace that it can be hard to keep up! And then, as direct sellers, we not only need to be aware of the trends, but we also need to be aware of what makes sense for direct selling. We can’t be just doing media full time. We have to be working the business in other ways if we want to be successful. And so it’s important to know what matters, and where to spend your time.

So here are some places that I think it’s valuable for direct sellers to spend their time in media in 2012:

  • Texting: We’ve talked about this before, but I think leaders and companies need to get on top of mass texting in 2012. It’s the best way to reach your younger salesforce members. Even if you want to send them to, for example, an online training piece delivered in another format, a text message with the notification will get better results than an email. Get on top of this this year.
  • Facebook: Facebook only continues to grow, and a vast majority of our target market is there. Make sure you are too, with a strong strategy for how you will convert “likes” into sales and recruits. I expect to see direct sellers increase their use of contests (using 3rd party apps like http://wildfireapp.com so the contests are within Facebook Promotions Guidelines) and Facebook Ads to increase their reach.
  • Mobile: From mobile websites to training, mobile is rapidly becoming a must-have in direct selling. We have the most mobile salesforce that exists, and we must be prepared to support them whenever, and wherever, they are. This includes a website that functions properly on a mobile phone (not just one you can access, but one that is optimized for mobile), access to backend data, the ability to place orders from the phone, video training and opportunity videos that can be viewed when sitting on the sidelines at the kids’ soccer game, and more. If you don’t have a mobile strategy for 2012, it’s time to get on the ball. You can’t ignore this anymore.
  • Video: If you and your company aren’t training and communicating with customers via video, you’re missing the boat. Today’s online audience is accustomed to consuming information via video. It must be short…3 minutes or less…and it must be fun and engaging. There’s a reason that YouTube is the 2nd largest search engine in the world. People want to learn via video, and they want to be entertained by it too. And one more important thing…people SHARE video too, increasing your viral visibility. Here’s a post I wrote this past year on how to do video better.
  • Pinterest: I wrote a post last week about why I think Pinterest is the next big thing for direct selling. My head is already buzzing with ways it can be used by my current clients. If you’re not on Pinterest you should be, exploring and getting comfortable with the tool. I believe this is going to be really big for our industry in 2012. Something to watch there? Take a look at how fashion retailer polyvore.com is putting together looks that are “Pinterest-ready.” (See some of my favorites here: http://pinterest.com/jenfongspeaks/fabulous/) When you click on the look you’re taken to a page on polyvore.com that lists each of the items, with a link to buy it. These looks are shared like crazy on Pinterest.
  • Gamification: If you can make it a game, people will get more involved. Direct sellers need to think about how they can make things like training, online group participation, etc. into a game where people earn points and prizes. In some places we’re already doing this (like incentive trips), but we need to look long and hard at other places we may be able to incorporate this. For example, look at FourSquare. The simple act of checking into a local business earns you points. The more points you earn and checkouts you achieve, you earn virtual badges. Along the way, you can also earn discounts, and even become the “mayor” of establishments. This makes it more fun to do business with you. How can you make it more fun to do business with your direct sales business?

So those are some of the places that I think direct sellers should be focusing on in media for 2012. Have I missed anything? What do you think is important? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

9 Responses to 6 Media Trends for Direct Sales in 2012
  1. Carlos Edward
    January 24, 2012 | 11:02 am

    After reading all that you’ve posted about Pinterest, I have requested an invite – how long does this normally take? Also, is there an online program, or mobile phone app that you can recommend for mass texting? I’d love to be able to reach my customers via texting, thanks for the post.
    Carlos Edward recently posted..Start forex trading

  2. Stephane Lacroix
    January 5, 2012 | 7:28 pm

    Thank you Jennifer, great article! Its easy to get caught up in some of the trends that are not so effective in direct selling. However, I’m proud to say that I’m paying real close attention to your 6 media trends. I’m currently using three of the six and I can definitely relate to the advantages of using them.

    Thank you for sharing.

    Stephane Lacroix recently posted..How To Manifest your Dreams (Flash Back 2010-11)

  3. Bernice Caruth
    January 2, 2012 | 11:45 am

    Great ideas, and ones that I have known that I need to contact with the younger generation. I don’t have a smart phone yet, as I feel somewhat overwhelmed at times (time wise), working a full-time job and trying to keep up with the technology end to help promote my business. And I have to deal with my frustration of not being able to view my company’s videos with my wireless internet connection..because of where I live. But Jennifer, your ideas are incredibly awesome and things that I know I need to do. You are awesome, and so in tune. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Tanya Johnson
    December 29, 2011 | 4:39 pm

    Hi Jennifer!

    What a fantastic article (even more so than usual). And as usual, so timely! After reading all that you’ve posted about Pinterest, I have requested an invite – how long does this normally take? Also, is there an online program, or mobile phone app that you can recommend for mass texting? I’d love to be able to reach my customers via texting (I know some prefer it to email and Facebook), but am not setup to do it! I’d appreciate your advice!

    Tanya Johnson recently posted..Season’s Greetings!

  5. nancy hiatt
    December 29, 2011 | 12:42 pm

    So where and how does “old fashioned/traditional” ways of contacting customers (aka phone calls and email) fit into the picture above? How do we “divide” our time among all these kinds of media approaches? What should be prioritized?

    • Jennifer Fong
      December 29, 2011 | 1:08 pm

      Great question! You need to be asking your customers their preferred method of contact up front, so that you are touching each customer in their preferred communication style. It does mean you need to be a master at many communication styles, but communication is changing so drastically right now among the generations that it requires us to be nimble. It really depends on your customer base where you’ll spend your time.

  6. Hakki Ozmorali
    December 29, 2011 | 11:57 am

    Hi Jennifer,

    Of these, I believe direct selling companies should seriously put some thought on gamification. I am not saying the rest are not important, but gamification can open doors beyond any imagination.

    Thanks for this article and have a great year!

    Hakki Ozmorali

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