How Are Direct Sales Companies Using Social Media?

j0396108More and more direct sales and network marketing companies are beginning to take a long, hard look at social media, and its impact on the bottom line. For those companies using social media effectively, and taking the time to measure the results, there is a real correlation between engagement and profitability. Think about it…the success of a direct seller comes from his/her ability to build a relationship with the prospect. If the prospect likes the direct seller, he/she is more likely to purchase from the direct seller, or join his/her team. Therefore relationships are the KEY to success. And social media is ideal for building relationships with new prospects.

This week executives from direct selling companies from across the country are congregating in Las Vegas for the Direct Selling Association’s Communication and Internet Marketing seminar. We’ll be talking about best practices and techniques for promoting engagement, working at a corporate level, and helping the sales force use social media appropriately. It will be a tremendous opportunity to learn from those people “in the trenches” who are using social media right now in their direct sales companies, and the vendors who are supporting those companies in their efforts.

So what are companies doing now with social media in our industry?  While I’ll be sharing specific examples in the session I’m leading with Joan Hartel, president of Vantel Pearls in the Oyster, here are just a few things I’m seeing done well in the industry.

  • Corporate Blogs: Blogs are amazing for providing value to consumers and distributors, increasing the company’s search engine ranking, providing info that the sales force can share with their prospects, and a forum for providing an official company response when necessary.  A great example is the Creative Memories corporate blog, which can be found here.
  • Facebook Fan Pages: Many companies have created Facebook Fan Pages, and in a very unscientific poll I did of direct sellers, the regularly updated Fan Page was the number one request of independent direct sellers from their companies.  It’s a great place to connect regularly with both consultants, as well as those that are interested in learning more about your brand.  Scentsy does a great job with their Fan Page which can be found here, as does Tastefully Simple who is here.
  • Twitter: Direct selling companies are really just getting their feet wet with social media, with various levels of success.  I believe that the best use of Twitter for direct selling companies is for customer service, in conjunction with a monitoring program that has specific escalation procedures assigned to it.  That way, customers and consultants that need help have instant response, and the company seems more approachable.  I’ve been enjoying watching USANA’s use of Twitter here.
  • YouTube Channels: YouTube videos are phenomenal for promoting duplication in the sales force.  By producing product demonstration and recruiting videos, companies provide a tremendous resource for the sales force to use when working with prospects and customers.  Some great examples are Mary Kay which you can see here, and Avon’s Mark brand, which you can see here.

While it’s not practical for direct selling companies to use EVERY social media tool that’s out there, by focusing on those tools with the greatest number of users and market penetration, we can reach the largest number of people in our target market with our message.  Using these tools strategically, and measuring their results, can mean tremendous returns for direct selling companies.

Want to learn more about creating a social media strategy for your direct selling company?  Check out this article I wrote for this month’s issue of Direct Selling News.

Now it’s your turn!  What is your direct sales company doing with social media that’s successful?  Can’t wait to read all about it in the comments below!  Oh, and give us links!

3 Responses to How Are Direct Sales Companies Using Social Media?
  1. Tim Haran
    December 2, 2009 | 10:30 am

    Jennifer,
    Great post, as usual. I especially liked the point you made about the impracticality of using every social media tool out there.

    At USANA, we’ve identified three platforms — Facebook, Twitter, Blogger — to which we devote the vast majority of our resources. It’s allowed us to focus our attention, build a following, and respond to comments/questions quickly.

    Thanks for the Twitter mention.

    See you tomorrow!
    Tim

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