Have You Considered How You Will Position Yourself In Social Media?

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong

If you dive into social media without making a plan, you’ll make more mistakes than you need to.  After all, you don’t want to go through a social media identity crisis in front of all the world to see.

Before any social media marketing campaign, and online presence, is launched, you need to decide what it is you want to project.  How will you position yourself?  What is it that you want to say?  Who is the audience that you’re trying to reach? Since social media functions at its best when used to create relationships, think about the community that you want to engage, and how you want to present yourself to that community, before you jump in.

Now this is NOT license to take 6 months to get involved with social media.  Honestly, with the pace this is all moving, the rules will have all changed again in 6 months!  But it does make sense to take some time to plan out who it is you’re trying to reach and how you want them to perceive you.

When I began my journey into social media, I had some very clear objectives.  I wanted to connect with direct sellers and direct selling executives, and provide a forum for the discussion of how to integrate social media marketing into the direct sales industry.  I believe that social media will revolutionize the way that direct sellers do business, and I want to have a voice in the conversation.  Knowing that, I created a social media strategy that took advantage of social media tools to reach the people I wanted to reach, and made an effort to provide useful information to these people.

So here’s how I did it.

  1. I was already on Facebook.  I had built a group of friends, colleagues, etc., and once in a while I posted status updates and notes about my business.  Most of the time, however, I just engaged the community through the sharing of information, pictures, etc, developing relationships and reigniting old connections.
  2. On Facebook, I also set up a fan page for my business, set up and publicized an application where users could send virtual gifts of our products to one another, and created “flair” with our company logo that I sent out to friends.  We publicized opportunity calls through our fan page, and highlighted our charitable work here too.  I taught our distributors how to use these tools to build their businesses.
  3. I began checking Google Analytics for the traffic our company website received from Facebook.  We are able to see where web traffic is coming from, and to see how long those visits last, what pages they are looking at, etc.  As I’ve mentioned before, Facebook began to consistently rank among the top 5 referrers to our website, with a visit length of 3-5 times the length of any other referrer.  The pages that were most visited were our product and opportunity pages.
  4. I enhanced my professional profile on LinkedIn, since I was going to begin actively using it.  I joined groups on LinkedIn that were relevant to my industry.
  5. In January 2009, I began this blog.  I researched on the web the discussions going on about social media and direct sales (there isn’t much, unfortunately) and began to add my voice to the discussion.  I published all posts to my LinkedIn profile, to my Facebook profile, and to LinkedIn groups that I had joined that were relevant to the direct sales industry.  People began commenting on my blog posts, as well as in the LinkedIn groups.  I have tried to personally respond to all commentors, in order to continue to develop the relationship.
  6. I joined Twitter, and began to try to figure out the tool.  I observed more than I posted at first, in order to understand the cadence and the unspoken rules, and slowly began to add to the discussion.  I searched for direct sellers and began following them.  Many began following me back.  I also began to follow giants in the social media world, so I could learn from them.  All the while, I tried to add my thoughts about direct selling and social media, as well as helping out people in any ways I could, with all of my knowledge, whether related to direct sales/social media or not.  I quickly learned that even with the little I know, I know more than some others about certain things, and so I am generous in my sharing of information.  I also take the time to read the profiles and personally respond to those people that begin to follow me.  It helps me to better understand what will help my followers.

As a result of this strategy, I have had the great pleasure of connecting with many well-respected leaders in my field, and have helped many people with their businesses.  I am learning a GREAT deal, and believe that I am helping to lead my industry into its future with social media marketing.  For me, this is greatly satisfying.

I share this strategy with you today because I think it’s important to really think through what you want to project, in order to make the most effective use of social media tools.  I am learning everyday how to do this better, and I think that the leaders in social media marketing are constant students.  Social media is a great big networking pool, and when you jump in with just a little bit of preparation, you will develop relationships that are beneficial, and that enable a flow of information that positions you as a giver as well as a receiver.

Has this post helped you?  I would love to hear how it has, and also how you have crafted your own social media strategy.  Let’s learn from each other!

22 Responses to Have You Considered How You Will Position Yourself In Social Media?
  1. Jill Shea
    October 15, 2009 | 12:40 pm

    Great post! I started out by taking your social media class over the summer and that was a tremendous help! I am now actively using Facebook and I started my own Blog. I haven’t felt the need to venture into LinkedIn or Twitter yet. Thanks for your continued guidance, you are an amazing lady!!!

    Love & Success,
    Jill Shea

    • Jennifer
      October 15, 2009 | 12:54 pm

      You are also quite amazing, my friend. Keep up the great work!

      Jennifer

  2. Karen
    March 5, 2009 | 12:34 pm

    Thanks for the great tips. I like so many, just jumped into social media without a plan and now I am back-tracking to make the most of it. I tweeted your article, too: http://www.twitter.com/buildingsource

  3. LeNesha
    March 2, 2009 | 8:03 pm

    This is a fabulous post liajen. Thank you. I am just beginning my entrepreneurial journey, so everything about business is new to me. I just started a blog last week and definitely need lessons on how to make the best use of social media.

    Best Regards,

  4. Kristen
    February 26, 2009 | 9:41 pm

    Great article. I’m just starting to work in Social Media and I have to admit it’s a bit overwhelming! So many links, things to read and sites to join! Any advice on how you keep your focus and don’t get distracted by all the information out there? Thanks!

  5. Melany
    February 26, 2009 | 5:29 pm

    Thank you for sharing this information. I am just starting out slowly as an entrepenuer (I have a day job – so I’m forced to move slow) and it is easy to get overwhelmed. However, articles like this help me focus and get a better picture of what I need to be doing.

  6. Nicole
    February 26, 2009 | 10:54 am

    I knew a lot of what you were working on, but I’ve learned so much from you. I take that back. I think a lot of it we worked together on. My biggest problem is that I get so excited about my business that it’s all that i think about. I really have to watch myself to make sure that I don’t just sit and talk about my business all day to everyone.

    Truly, I have one teacher friend that no longer responds to my normal emails to her anymore because she got tired of me talking about the business.

    I’ve learned from that mistake. And I’m going to do better with the new business that I’m with. I hope that I can teach my company more about my trials and errors.

    Thank you.

  7. Silky
    February 26, 2009 | 10:06 am

    I really appreciate you sharing your social networking journey with us! I am just beginning and this was just perfect!

  8. Dena
    February 25, 2009 | 4:38 pm

    Thanks, Jen, for continuing to lift up our direct selling industry while sharing your forward thinking “how to” tips on social media. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have already begun to revolutionalize the way direct sellers do business and I’m thrilled to be along for the ride. Your posts are right on and much appreciated.

  9. Jessica
    February 25, 2009 | 3:37 pm

    This was a great help – I am just getting started linking my 4 direct selling businesses to social media. It is very helpful to hear how another direct seller set her plan. Thanks for sharing.

  10. Tammy
    February 25, 2009 | 3:10 pm

    Liajen,

    Thank you for you advice and helpful guide. I jumped into this social media ocean without too much thought and am now taking the time to improve my presence. You are a tremendous resource. I admire your commitment to learning what you need to do to get it right and then sharing the proceeds of your efforts with others. I find the willingness to share and help others is a trait common to most who are involved in the direct selling industry. Thank you for your part in elevating the industry.

    Tammy Tinkoff

  11. Becki Maxson
    February 25, 2009 | 2:53 pm

    Thanks for that transparent look into your journey, like a lot of us are on. It’s fascinating but easily overwhelming.

    You’ve laid out a do-able plan of…I was going to say attack….but a plan of how to connect with the various types of sites and customize it to your own goals.

    I just got Dave Evans’ new book about social marketing in 1 hr a day and, although I only started, I can see it’s going to be a great help to anyone trying to understand the bigger picture and where they fit in. And it’s funny 🙂

    Best,

    Becki

  12. The Saleswoman
    February 25, 2009 | 2:49 pm

    Great post Jen! We learn so much as we go along, but having a strategy definitely helps.

  13. Deirdre
    February 25, 2009 | 1:52 pm

    Great blog post on how to position yourself. Very helpful for those getting started. Not sure if you use ping.fm, but that always helps me when I want to send an update to all of my networks at the same time 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

  14. funfelt
    February 25, 2009 | 10:59 am

    Thanks for putting this all into an easy to understand format. I have had an almost identical experience – it works! I truly believe we are still on the “cutting edge” of social media, and if the direct sales profession is able to position itself in a way that furthers relationships, builds trust, and expands its reach, when the mainstream “explosion” occurs (it’s starting!) direct sellers will be a respected segment in social media! Thanks for all you are doing!
    Karen Clark

  15. mgoetz
    February 25, 2009 | 10:04 am

    It’s good to see how others are doing this. Thanks for the insight. I too have just started and am encouraged but still working on it. It is a constant evolution, even with all the planning!

  16. Andi Sherwood
    February 25, 2009 | 9:52 am

    I wish you had written this post before I started on Social Media! As you did, I started by observing and following others in the Direct Selling Industry but also the “big-wigs” of social media. I have learned a lot through this process. Unfortunately, I didn’t start with a plan or direction, other than to learn what Social Media has to offer the Direct Selling world and what the Direct Selling world has to offer Social Media. This has led to somewhat of a crisis identify on my part but I have a clearer vision now and am working my way through it.

    Again, thank you for this great post, along with so many other great posts. 🙂

  17. liajen
    February 27, 2009 | 9:16 am

    Kristen,
    Great question! It can be incredibly overwhelming when you consider how many social media options there are out there. I liken it to walking into a restaurant with a HUGE menu and trying to make a decision…what to choose? Your best bet is to go back to your social media strategy. What is it that you want to accomplish? What tools out there will help you accomplish your goals? Are you trying to drive visits to a web site? Develop brand recognition? Gather customer feedback? Provide up-to-the-minute customer service? Depending on your goals, you can make good decisions on the social media tools that will work for you.

    You may also want to take a look at what others in your field are doing with social media. Join some groups on LinkedIn and ask the question. By finding out what social media tools others with similar goals to yours are leveraging, with success, you can make better decisions on what tools may work for you.

    I hope that helps!

    Jennifer

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