When we begin to learn social media, we turn to the experts. And many of the experts in the space are what I term “social media generalists.” They know social media well, and it’s their job. It’s all they do. As a result, we look at their social media presences and the way they interact, and we think, “That’s how to do it well. That’s what I should do if I want to do social media well.”
The thing is, social media is their business. That’s ALL THEY DO. But that’s not you. Your main business is direct sales. Social media is certainly a component that will help you market your business. But simply copying the social media strategy of the “experts” is not going to help you do your business well. Chances are that “expert” doesn’t know a lot about your day to day, unless they’ve worked in your industry.
My predicition is that in 2010, we’re going to see the rise of the “niche-specific social media expert.” These are people that HAVE worked in various industries, and who get what the day to day of the people in those industries is like. It’s great to be a social media expert, and they help us find best practices. But it’s only when that social media person is ALSO an expert in YOUR industry that you’re going to gain the most return on your investment. I’ve been saying for a while that the way we do social media in direct selling is different from general social media. Sure there are principles that are the same (and that’s what the generalists can help us with), but there are a whole range of factors that make our industry unique. And we need to apply social media with that in mind. A “one size fits all” approach just won’t cut it.
So as you learn social media, certainly listen to the experts. But don’t just do as they do. Look for people that really know direct selling, because that is your core business. You need to listen to those folks who get what it’s like to motivate a volunteer team. Who know how disheartening it is when that party cancels. Who understand the thrill that comes when you recognize someone, or get recognized for your efforts. Yes, direct selling is unique in so many ways, and it’s an industry that inspires the passion of so many of us. Yes, social media. But not for it’s own sake, and not blindly following people who don’t get the unique needs of our industry.
Instead, we need to rely on what WE know, too. Because that’s the filter through which social media will bring the greatest success.
Agree? Disagree? Would love to know what you think!