Creating and nurturing relationships is the driving force behind social media. Similarly, direct sales and network marketing are all about fostering sustainable relationships. I can’t think of any profession more dependent on interpersonal skills than the networking profession. By combining the power of relationships to drive sales with the power of social media to attract, maintain and nurture those relationships, networking professionals have the perfect vehicle for building their business. At no other time has it been easier to develop and maintain relationships than today, through social media and the myriad of web-based communication tools available.
Social media allows us to spend less energy arm-twisting to drive repeat sales and more energy creating an experience and developing relationships to drive loyalty. Frequent-flier and “Buy 10, get 1 free” programs are solely concerned with driving me to buy more. Social media marketing is not about driving the customer to the next purchase; it’s about creating “recommendability” and loyalty. If I know that you’ll listen and take care of me as a customer, I’ll stick around and I’ll recommend you. Twist my arm to buy and I’m not loyal, I’m simply waiting for the next best offer.
2. Word of Mouth.
A percentage of your online relationships will convert into sales and sign-ups. After you convert contacts, a handful of them may even become evangelists for your product, meaning they will recommend it to others without getting paid.
Not only does social media provide a great forum for creating and cultivating relationships, it also offers a platform for amplifying your marketing efforts through word of mouth. By giving your contacts something relevant, useful or interesting to share with their network, they’ll introduce their friends to your business. This kind of drip marketing is not only free of charge, its greatest benefit is that it’s coming from a trusted source.
Trust is one of the foundational values of network marketing and direct sales. In 1886, David H. McConnell, founder of Avon, had an epiphany. Long before the Internet and modern market research, he realized that women are more likely to trust a female neighbor than a high-pressure salesman. He realized that we buy based on trust. We go first to our friends, family and neighbors to make decisions.
The same is true today. Not only do we buy from those we trust, we evangelize based on trust. By continuing to add value in social media environments, you make it easy for your fans to amplify your marketing efforts.
DAVE SATTLER is web marketing
strategist for a leading direct sales company.
He focuses on identifying word-of-mouth
and interactive strategies to drive
conversion and generate brand loyalty.