First things first (am I the only one that thinks that's a weird saying?), I am pro direct selling. The reason I want to emphasize this is because I think direct sales gets a bad rap and I want to be clear that I am not in any way putting it down. Through the years, I have been a consultant for a few different direct sales companies as a way to make supplemental income for the not-so-competitive salary that one generally receives working for non-profits. In fact, I recently made the decision to become an associate with LegalShield. (Don't worry, I'm not writing this to give you a spiel!)
While I have never gotten rich from direct sales (to be fair, that was not my goal), I have made a fair amount of "extra" income by having a direct sales business and I think direct sales could be a great business for many people. Perhaps, especially now that you don't have to go to door like direct sellers did back in the day (hello, Avon Lady). You don't even have to hold parties or drag your friends and family to meetings anymore (but you certainly can). Thanks to the internet and, more specifically, social media you don't even have to leave your couch let alone your house to run a business anymore. Which can be a major perk for many, especially moms of little ones.
However, this "perk" can also bring some major issues for direct sellers. With the ease and convenience of social media many seem to have lost their social graces.
Here are some tips on how to use social media to grow your direct sales business without being annoying.
Start a business page, profile or group.
I have made this mistake in the past as a direct sales consultant and again, as an Instagram Influencer. I turned my personal profile into my blog profile and I lost the follows of many (most, even) of my friends and family. Keep your personal profiles and pages personal. This is not to say you can't ever post about your business but be selective... and creative. Don't just spam your friends and family with pictures of product from your corporate office, think of ways to subtly and organically show off your products. (Or as The Tag Team on Facebook calls it, "non salesy".) Start a business page, invite your friends and family to follow/like but don't sweat it if they don't. Your friends and family shouldn't be your only hope for sales, anyway! Step out of the box and find your target audience beyond your friends and family.
Update your profile to include your business information.
This is a subtle way to let people know that you have a business and even provide them with where to find out more information about your business (your website) without being annoying. Also, on Facebook make sure you link to your business page.
Ask people if you can add them to a group of any kind.
Don't just dump people into a VIP or party group without asking their permission. Not only is it rude but it's also likely that they won't see it for awhile, if ever. There are a lot of Facebook groups out there. Take the extra few minutes to shoot your friends a message and ask if they would like to be added. Not only is it considerate, but you will have people in your group that are actually interested which will be far more beneficial for you. Remember, bigger isn't always better.
Coach your hostesses to ask people if they can be added or invited to a Facebook event (party).
Whether you prefer to run your parties through groups or an event, coach your hostesses to ask people's permission.
Don't assume that just because someone likes your picture or business related post that they want to buy your products.
I can't tell you how often I get direct messages from people on Instagram because I liked a post of theirs. They will often say something like, "thank you for liking my post, did you want to buy (insert product name)." Maybe I just liked the caption. Or maybe I do like the product because I already have it! There are many reasons that someone could have liked your photo, including they use an automated system and have no idea they even liked your post (gasp!). Sending messages to people because they liked your post comes across desperate. Here's the thing, when I do see a product that I like or want, do you know what I do? I buy it! Or if I'm not quite ready for that, I follow the person's account so I can keep up with the products. And if I don't see all the information I need... I ask. The point is, if someone likes your picture that does not mean they want to buy your product and it is not an invitation to send them a message. Now, if you see someone frequently liking your pictures then offer to send a sample or maybe even a discount! Go and like a couple of their photos and make a comment.
Share information other than your product or business opportunity.
Don't just plaster your business page, profile or group with your products. Find helpful information within your niche, post something inspirational or humorous. Offer something helpful without constantly trying to sell them on a product.
Engage with your target audience, rather than intruding on their inboxes.
Just as I a get a lot of messages from people whose photos I have liked, I get a lot of messages from perfect strangers saying I would be perfect for their business or telling me they only have more spots for someone to join some sort of challenge. A lot. And the sad part is, almost every single message starts the exact same way, "Hey, girl, you're so gorgeous..." or "Hey girl, I know this is random but...". Thank you but I cannot be flattered into losing weight using your product and, no, it's actually not random at all because I get several identical messages every day. So, what should you do? Engage with your potential audience. Like their pictures and comment. Follow them and provide valuable content that will make them want to follow you back (and not just your products!).
I think one major factor that many people lack with social media marketing is relationship. Having access to both your cold and warm market makes it extremely easy to just blast them all with your business but relationship is still possible and, in my opinion, key to building a successful online business. Establish a relationship with your customers and future customers. Give them information that they will value, in doing this, you will gain their trust and loyalty!
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