From Jennifer: Are you enjoying this guest columnist series as much as I am? I am so absolutely thrilled to be bringing you the perspectives of some of the “movers and shakers” who are using social media so effectively within our direct selling industry.
Well Beth really “gets” social media, and how you can use it effectively as a direct seller (I believe I’ve found a kindred spirit!) 🙂 If you haven’t yet started following her on Twitter, you should be! Today’s post gives some great advice on what you should keep in mind when using social media to build your business. Enjoy!
Many people get excited about the idea of social media or having a site and friends, fans, or followers, but quickly lose interest because maintaining an active social media presence takes time and effort.
I’ve boiled what I’ve learned in the past seven years that I’ve been blogging and doing social media for Amway down into 10 “Ps” that will help any direct selling representative seize the power of social media.
Make it personal. Don’t be afraid to share what inspires you outside of your business. You may find you have more common ground with your customers once they know a bit more about you.
I have two children, have been a “room mom” and Girl Scout leader, and love to cook. All have been fodder for my blog posts and Facebook and Twitter updates. In most cases, I’ve found a way to link the learning in a story back to business.
But keep it professional. You can be warm and friendly while still being professional. And part of that professionalism is abiding by any company rules or policies governing your social media presence.
Keep it positive. When you’re online, it’s not just your reputation on the line – you’re the face and voice of the company you represent and your fellow distributors. Keep your interactions positive, supportive, and helpful, because the impression your friends and fans have of you may become their views of the company you represent.
Be practical. In deciding where to focus your time and energy, follow your customers’ lead. If they’re on Facebook, that’s where you should be. If they don’t Tweet, then rethink the value of cramming your thoughts into 140-character Twitter posts. Read Jen’s post on “Avoid the Dreaded Social Media Time Suck” for tips on forging a social media time management strategy.
Live in the present. Let your friends know what you’re doing, whether it’s dropping off a customer order or listening to a podcast about a new product. Respond to your customers’ status updates – ask the customer who’s sitting at his daughter’s soccer game if her team is winning. Use apps to remember birthdays and anniversaries. This shows your customers you’re interested in their lives and what they’re doing – not just in making a sale.
Be prolific. As people start to follow your updates, keep them fresh. It’s better to do one or two posts a day than 20 in one day and nothing for the next week.
Don’t be afraid to be a little provocative. Ask questions of your friends or followers. Share information in a way that leads your customers to want to know more. Instead of talking about a new lipstick shade, let your customers know that you’ve just found the lipstick equivalent to the little black dress. Who wouldn’t want to know about that? But stick to what you know. Don’t exaggerate your success or that of anyone else.
Show your passion. Let your friends or followers know what drives you – whether it’s your son’s hockey team, your quest to lose weight, or why you’re building your business.
Be prepared. Not every social media interaction is going to be positive. You might encounter friends of friends or followers who are critical of the company you represent or have had a bad experience with one of your products. Express your opinion without diminishing their experience…”I’m sorry our product didn’t perform to your expectations. I hope you’ll contact customer service for a refund.” Or if someone is critical of direct selling in general, you might respond with “While millions of people in the U.S. look to direct selling for additional income, it’s not for everyone.”
Likewise, realize that not every customer will be using social media, although millions are. Just like direct selling, social networking isn’t for everyone!
Beth Dornan, Social Media/Digital Public Relations Lead for Amway Corp., was one of Amway’s first bloggers. She also led the strategy and team that created the company’s blogging portal, the Opportunity Zone, and other ground-breaking social media efforts. Today Beth manages Amway’s Media Blog, which shares news from the world of Amway with news media and the company’s distributors and consumers. Beth has more than 25 years’ experience in journalism, public relations, and social media. She blogs at http://mediablog.amway.com and http://amwayglobalinsider.opportunityzone.com/ and can be found on Twitter as @BethDornan.