As we continue to observe the evolution of social media and how it impacts the network marketing arena, there remains a great deal of discovery regarding what it means for the future of our profession. Will the progression of technology circumvent the importance of interpersonal relationships? Is there a chance that electronic buying will replace the need for person-to-person interactions? And will the next generation become less and less interested in learning how to connect in face-to-face settings?
We veterans in the network marketing space remain convicted in our belief that there is no replacement for the belly-to-belly business model, and that the credibility and resulting influence of distributors will remain a major driver in purchasing decisions. The power of word-of-mouth advertising is alive and well and it will continue to drive commerce in the future. However, to ensure networkers not only survive but thrive during the social evolution, we must look to those who continue to build organizations by connecting themselves and their followers to a community that promotes the products and services being offered.
So where does social media fit into this connection, and how do entrepreneurs make the most of the current realities as the future unfolds? Market research abounds, books and articles continue to be written, and distributors create their own adventures through trial and error.
As a direct selling executive focused on growing sales organizations, I’d like to share three of the best practices I’ve gathered that result in measurable accomplishments, such as establishing authentic relationships and using the correct social vehicle to communicate both stories and interest.
Relationships Come First
How many times have you received a call from someone you haven’t heard from since high school saying they want to connect, only to find out they have a “compelling business opportunity” to share? Or now with the advent of social media, received a private message from people you hardly know who launch into a full-blown sales pitch about a company that has changed their lives?
“Aren’t these proven network marketing tactics embraced by countless people as part of reaching out to their proverbial list?” you may ask yourself. The answer is absolutely yes. However, while there are occasional successes that come about through these strategies, we now know this: successful network marketers are not those who simply blast impersonal pitches to contacts they don’t have current relationships with. Showing an interest in someone when you want something, in this case to grow your team, can actually repel those you seek to attract. So should you be afraid to reach out to people you have not kept in contact with? Absolutely not. Instead, take your social list and explore the following options:
If the people you are seeking out would be a valuable addition to your team, and you want to be in business with them, put the “social” in your media strategy. Invest in your relationship by going back and building from the foundation you laid when you were a part of their life—even casually.
Know Your Social Vehicle
Would you use a toothbrush to stain the deck or a paint brush to brush your teeth? A spatula to plant a tree or a shovel to flip an omelet? Of course not. Why? A more effective tool is available, designed for the specific activity. So it is with media; it’s not a one-size-fits all resource. The reason there continues to be a growing number of platforms is that they change and evolve to meet different needs. For a network marketing professional, it is critical to use them correctly. In simplifying the most widely used vehicles, and putting them into context, here’s how a familiar event can be used in growing a social presence. Let’s take earning an incentive trip for example.
eBizMBA figures for April 2015
These are ways to talk about an incredible achievement without blatantly selling the company or alienating viewers. For instance, simply including facts and figures about how to earn free travel is ineffective. Individuals are attracted to posts by people they know, talking about their lives and experiences in the appropriate format that prompted them to visit that particular site on any given day. True value through social media is obtained by connecting with the viewer in harmony with the foundational purpose of the site itself.
Stop Selling, Start Telling
We know this is a people business and those who reach the highest levels of success care deeply about the members of their organization. There is no more effective way I’ve seen to communicate the lifestyle and time freedom that network marketing can afford than by connecting people to personal stories viewers can relate to. From stage the testimonials of how people caught the vision are generally tied to stories they heard that sparked the imagination and brought to life the possibilities. Effective story-telling through social media, much like from stage, must be authentic, personal, and succinct.
In social networking it isn’t enough to share a quote every day by a famous person for exposure. I can’t count the number of times I began following a person on Twitter because I thought they were innovative thinkers, only to find my newsfeed inundated by generic motivational sayings. The only thing this activity motivates me to do is “unfollow” them, because it is neither authentic nor personal. Social audiences have become numb to the onslaught of casual posts and hunger for something genuine that connects us to an individual we respect.
The bottom line, start with snippets of the stories that occur regularly in your life and the life of your team, and be intentional with your message, personal brand, and design. Include brief detail that connects your life experiences in compelling ways that highlight what networkers have to offer to team members and prospects:
We all have a story to tell and we all know people whose lives will be significantly improved by the products and services we offer. As ambassadors of the most incredible lifestyle opportunity available, we need to accomplish mastery in every facet of the business. Social media is a powerful tool, a vehicle to share the uniqueness of you through authenticity, effective communication, and a compelling message. Wishing you all the best of success!
MEREDITH BERKICH has a 25-year success track record in the direct selling profession. Forthright and dedicated, equal parts strategist and enthusiastic coach, Meredith partners with corporations and top field leaders to maximize their potential. Most recently as President of a thriving company she took the network from 50 million to over 325 million. Meredith passionately believes that the world’s challenges can be solved by celebrating the value of people and uniting their energy and talents. Her mantra: “The best developed strategies fail when individuals aren’t empowered to execute.” In 2014 Meredith appeared in Direct Selling News as one of the Most Influential Women in Direct Selling.
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