When direct sellers start using social media for business, they often have some vague idea of what this technology can do for them. Often they are looking for some way to increase sales or recruiting. But ultimately, what they need to do is generate new leads, because these are what lead to new sales and recruits.
And social media is an EXCELLENT tool for generating leads, however it must be done appropriately to be effective. Because there’s really 2 ways to use social media:
- Warm up an existing market through ongoing relationship-building activities
- Connect with new people for the purpose of finding new customers and recruits
Both are legitimate uses of social media, but they are done differently.
When you’re warming up an existing market, you’re connecting with people you’ve already met in real life (at least at some point.) You are commenting on their statuses, laughing at the same jokes, and providing valuable content that this market will find interesting. I often recommend that direct sellers connect on social networks with every customer they work with, for example. Rather than walking out of their lives after you’ve made a sale, instead you have the opportunity to continue to build a relationship which may lead to reorders or even a new recruit. Warming this market can be done quite effectively through social networks.
New leads are approached differently, however. Now your goal is to connect with new people based on common interests or an affinity for your product or opportunity. Since you don’t have a previous relationship as the foundation of connecting, you need to express to people the value of connecting with you. How is this done?
- Participating in online communities and message boards based around a mutual topic of interest. For example, if you sell kitchen products, you might participate in a forum of cooking enthusiasts. By connecting with dedicated members of this forum, and sharing cooking ideas, you begin to get to know people beyond cooking. You don’t pitch your products or business immediately. Rather you build relationships with people, which may later give you the opportunity to privately share a business message.
- Write blog posts that are of interest to people who may have an interest in what you have to offer. Invite the people who read them to share these articles with their friends. These referrals can lead to new contacts.
- Create a compelling Facebook Page that shares value and gets people talking. Consider running contests within Facebook rules, or providing a valuable piece of content for people to download that they can only get by “Like”-ing your page (using reveal code). Invite your existing Facebook Page community to tell their friends about your Page.
- If your policies allow you to, consider running Facebook Ads, which draw people to your Facebook Page. By hyper-targeting your ads, you can gain exposure for your business and find more leads for a fairly modest investment. Just be prepared to run several ads as part of your campaign, and keep it running consistently for a period of time to have the most impact.
- Provide a way for people to get more information from you. This is the most important thing you can do when marketing online and trying to find new leads. You MUST have a mechanism where people can give you their email address, so you can follow up with them. So write a monthly newsletter if your company doesn’t already provide you with one (make sure you keep it short) and focus on providing information of value (p.s. this is not a product or opportunity pitch.) Let people sign up for it from your blog or a tab on your Facebook Page.
Many direct sellers are successfully generating leads as a result of their social media efforts. Just be sure you know what success looks like before you get started, so that your efforts are focused and productive.
How do you generate new leads online? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!