How You Can Help Your Direct Sales Company Embrace Social Media

handshakeMany of the direct sellers that I work with tell me that they wish their direct sales companies would do more with social media. They want their companies to provide training and tools to use social media more effectively, and are surprised when their company’s policies and procedures more or less prohibit contact with prospects through social media at all.

What I often say to these direct sellers is that now is the time for you to help your companies. They’re still figuring this all out themselves, and your experience can be helpful. While your companies may not take every suggestion you have (after all, they can see the big picture of the entire company, while you can only see your part of it) your input can be useful as social media policy is drafted.

Here are some of the issues going on as your company considers social media.

  1. Policies & Procedures Outdated. The policies and procedures of your company may have been written before social media was invented, and that’s why it’s so unclear what you can and cannot do. As a direct seller, there are 2 things you can do. 1) When in doubt, ASK! If you’re not sure what you’re allowed to do, ask your company; and 2) Ask your company for specific policies & procedures related to social media. It may be time for an updated version of this document.
  2. Inappropriate Postings by Your Peers. One of the big concerns that direct selling companies have about social media is when consultants blur the lines between personal and professional, and begin posting things for their friends that don’t reflect well on the company. The best thing you can do is make a decision…how will you use social media? If you’re going to use it for business or include a link to/mention your company at all, then clean up your profile, and be sure EVERY single thing you post is appropriate for your company, your customer, your kids, and your momma to see. One of the big hang-ups companies face when deciding whether or not to allow social media usage is the stuff that’s already out there that is NOT appropriate. So if social media is important to you for your business (and it should be), you need to say something to your fellow consultants when they post inappropriate things. Only when we all work together will we bring this industry forward.
  3. Ask for Training and Resources. Companies are still trying to figure out how best to support their sales force in social media. If you believe that you need specific types of training, and it would be beneficial to you to have certain company resources (such as a Facebook fan page, recruiting videos, etc.) available, let your company know! Social media is new to many direct sales companies, so it will often be helpful for them to know what it is you need. One of the first questions I ask of a company when they bring me in to help them craft a social media strategy is, “What have your consultants been asking for?”

The direct sales industry is moving forward into social media, and it will truly be a collaboration between consultants and companies that has the greatest, and most successful, impact. If it is important to you as a direct seller to have the tools and training you need to succeed at social media, communicate with your company. And as a direct sales company, be sure you’re tapping into your socially-connected sales force, so you know the kind of support that your sales force is looking for. A collaborative effort will bring forth the best results.

What’s your take on this issue? Would love to read your comments below!

Photo Credit: Andyrob

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