by Jennifer Fong
I’ve noticed a disturbing trend recently where software companies claim to solve all of a direct sales company’s social media requirements with their latest and greatest software tool. Companies can control the message their sales force sends, they claim! You can build a whole community within your own little bubble, within your control! While I am not knocking any particular software application, I think it’s important to realize that you don’t need to pay for a software platform in order to use social media effectively.
Part of the beauty of social media is the fact that the tools where the most people currently are, are free. If you build your own social community on your own website, you’re going to have to complete the additional step of driving traffic there. What’s the compelling reason for your prospects to come to your community? Why not operate in environments such as Facebook, where your prospects already hang out? Why would they go to your homegrown community for fun? To be sold? I don’t think so.
You also need to realize that the conversation is going to go on within Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking platforms whether you participate or not. You will not be able to tightly control the message. This is why monitoring is an essential component of your overall social media strategy. When you know what people are saying about your brand, and participate when necessary to solve problems, you gain respect in the social media world, which brings increased respect for your brand.
Now I’m not saying that direct sales companies shouldn’t consider software solutions. But it’s important to take a step back and consider the overall goals of your social media and total marketing program first. What do you want to accomplish? Who are you trying to reach? Where do you want to drive traffic, and what are the conversion objectives? How will participation with your brand shape brand perception? How will you measure success? Without answering these critical questions first, investing in an expensive software platform is a mistake. And if you’re a small to mid-size company, a software solution may not even be necessary. After all, the popular social media platforms are free. Your biggest investment will be the man-hour resources needed to implement your social media strategy properly.
Basic sales strategy says you go where the people are. It’s not “If you build it they will come.” People are already using free social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter, and that’s where they’re connecting with others. Some are already complaining that they’re overwhelmed with these tools. Why on earth would you want to add another? You don’t want to make doing business with you a social media chore. Instead, blend into the communities that already exist, bring value, and drive traffic that relates to your conversion objectives. That’s how you’ll experience success with your overall social media strategy.
Your thoughts? Would love to read them in the comments!
Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html.