With the advent of social media tools, there can be the temptation to think that the party element of a direct sales business is a thing of the past. Now that social media has arrived on the scene, do direct sellers really need to continue doing parties, and running the business the “old fashioned way?” Can’t we just point everybody to our website, and call it a day? And wouldn’t it make recruiting easier, if those people who don’t want to do parties could now be told they don’t have to?
For people who are serious about building and growing a direct sales business, the answer is a resounding “NO.” Social media tools are fantastic for finding new prospects for a direct sales business, for providing superior customer service, for participating in the conversation that is defining your brand, and for positioning yourself as an expert that people turn to for advice and products. However it is my very strong opinion that it is NOT a substitute for booking, selling, and recruiting.
First of all, parties are where the immediate income for a direct sales business comes from, at least in the party plan model. All party plan companies should have party averages, and when a consultant does a party, she can pretty much count on making a certain amount of money. Parties also give people a chance to interact with a consultant in real life, see and touch the products, and enjoy the experience of being with friends while making informed purchasing decisions. In short, nothing replaces the party. (There are online party options, but in my experience they are not as profitable. This is a conversation for another post.)
Social media marketing also has a longer cycle. It takes time to build relationships online, develop content for a blog, and build up enough know, like, and trust factor to get someone to make a purchase from you. You have to connect with someone 7-15 times online, typically, before they’ll make a purchase from you. There are online tools that help you do this, but you do need to invest time into building those relationships.
Social media marketing is an additional tool to help build a party plan direct sales business. It can enable a consultant to connect with people they couldn’t have met otherwise (cast a wider net), find people that are business minded and specifically looking for an opportunity, and provide superior customer service and customer contact through community-building online groups and events. Once those initial contacts are made at live parties, customers can get better service and follow-up which can result in a thriving reorder business when they are plugged into that consultant through social media.
In short, social media complements a traditional party plan model in many ways, and can enhance what you already do. But nothing replaces the core business activities of booking parties, selling products, and recruiting new consultants.
Learn more about how we can help you with your direct sales company’s social media strategy at http://luceandassociates.com/Jennifer-Fong.html
What are your thoughts on this? Have you had experiences that prove or disprove this? Would love to hear your comments!