I am a huge fan of Karen Clark and follow her blog. I also love her book “Social Media for Direct Selling Representatives” as well. I have been getting a lot of questions regarding social media so I thought I would post one of Karen’s articles this week. Enjoy and feel free to share, comment, and ask questions below!
In social media as well as in “real life” trust is everything, so it is important to provide value and build relationships first and foremost. Here are some ethical and effective ways to attract the right people to your business, and build curiosity about your opportunity.
1. Be conversational, casual, genuine and friendly. People join direct sales for people and community more than they join for the specific product or income. When you are posting online, be the kind of person others would want to be around, follow, and emulate. If you are too formal, cold, pompous or unengaged, people will not want to be like you. For example, “I’m going to our team meeting tonight. Bringing chocolate chip cookies! Anyone want to come with? :)” This tells people you have support (or give it if you are the leader) and that it’s fun! The smiley makes it more casual and almost implies you are joking about inviting people but that makes it easier for people to respond. The right ones will actually message you to say “bring me!”
2. The best results occur when others ask YOU about your opportunity. Interact in groups and on other pages that discuss business. Without being spammy, mention that you have a business when appropriate. For example, someone is discussing a restaurant in the local area. You could say that would be a great place for me to meet my clients. Wait for someone to ask you what business you are in, or they might simply visit your profile to see. Be sure your business info is in your About section.
3. Share about the lifestyle that having a home-based business affords you. Stating that you are grateful to have a flexible schedule that allows you to help at your son’s classroom party plants the seed in others that they would like that flexibility, too. Don’t end the status with a link to your business opportunity! You are just sharing from the heart.
4. Share articles, blogs, and images that support working from home, running a home office, or direct sales in general. It is best to avoid hypey sites that make income claims or promise to “change your life” so I am not talking about those. I mean, for example, articles that say how much the direct sales industry contributes to our economy, or giving you tips on organizing your desk, or on the tax benefits of a home based business. Teach them something they might not know about working from home so they start to realize it would be a great choice for them, too.
5. Just like in the offline world, putting yourself in the position to meet a lot of people makes a difference. Hypothetically, if 1 out of every 10 people you meet might be curious about your business, and 1 out of 10 of those people might actually request information, and 1 out of 10 of those people actually join, you need to meet a lot of people! In social media, this is best done through interacting in topic discussion groups on Facebook and LinkedIn (not groups where everyone is just sharing their opportunity!), by participating in hashtags on Twitter and Instagram, and on other (non-competing) pages on Facebook. Comment authentically and add genuine value to the discussions. You will attract people who will want to find out what you do, and connect to you. Again, be sure your About is complete!
6. Offer some kind of “freebie” online in exchange for getting on your email list. Most of you have some mechanism by which you can add people to your company newsletter, or maybe you have created an ezine on your own, so you can do this, too. Once people are in your newsletter, they will be presented on a regular basis with information about your products and opportunity. Think of a tip sheet you can offer about your topic. Create it in Word and save it as a PDF. Use a tool such as contactme.com to create a contact form where people give you their name and email address and maybe check off a box about what they are interested in – product, hosting, or joining your team. Announce your freebie on social media and direct them to the contact form link. When you receive their contact form, email them the freebie. Be sure your freebie is something of value that people benefit from whether or not they do business with you. They may not be ready (if ever) and you want to be sure to give first.
7. Images are very powerful in social media today. Share pictures of you doing business, or pictures of people at your parties or meetings. These grab people’s attention and interest them in finding out more. Try using some of the tools at image editing sites such as picmonkey.com or canva.com. Instagram is a great place to share pictures like this, and you can have them sent to your Facebook and Twitter at the same time. When you share the picture, be sure NOT to add a call to action on every one, with a link to where they can sign up. The idea is to create curiosity and intrigue – let them ask you for more information. Once in a while it’s Ok to purely promote, but keep it to the minimum!
8. Use private messages or chat wisely. Do not pounce on someone who displays “green flags” by immediately private messaging them to ask if they would like business information. There is nothing worse for your own reputation, or the reputation of the company or industry as a whole, than to spam people, and this is considered spam. When you do see “green flags” online indicating someone might be interested, take it as a sign to develop that relationship further and pay attention to them. Perhaps you would interact a little more with them on their own social media profiles (not too much – don’t cross over into stalker territory!) which builds rapport. At some point when you feel it would be appropriate to take it to the next level, then private message them or start a chat conversion. It is important to have that rapport FIRST. Once you do, ask permission to go further. “Would you be open to hearing about…?” and “I think what I am doing might help you. Do you want to know more?”
9. Direct promoting of your business opportunity is OK once in a while. I recommend my 9-1-1 Code. The 9-1-1 Code consists of 9 non-marketing posts (inform, inspire, educate) to every 1 promotional post (blatant selling/recruiting) and adding in 1 casual or personal post to build rapport. If you are mostly using subtle engagement and relationship building tactics, providing value and piquing curiosity, then your 1 promotional post can pack a lot of punch, because the rest of the time your followers have come to trust you! When you are ready to do some blatant recruiting, still think of how you can be conversational, and social, in doing so. Some ideas are to post that you are looking for a certain type of person to round out your team, or that your company is looking for reps in certain states. Let them know (if it’s true!) that you can’t serve everyone and need some help. Talk about your own story and tell them you can help them do the same thing. On promotional posts I recommend asking people to private message you for more information so you can carry on a conversation, get their contact information or send them information such as your sponsoring video or other materials. If you simply post the link to your business info, it’s too easy for people to mentally say yes or no without further discussion. It’s kind of like handing them a business card – the sponsoring conversation stops.
10. Follow up! Keep in touch with anyone who has been curious about your business. Connect with them on social media and if they’ve agreed, add them to your newsletter. Check in once in a while via private message to give them the latest information or article that can help them decide if your opportunity is right for them. As you know in “real life” decisions to join your business can take months, or even years. Social media gives you a way to stay top of mind among your prospects if you use it wisely!
BONUS TIP: Do you ever play the “Ask me about my job!” game at home parties? You can do this online, too! You can give away a product to a random commenter and ask people to ask questions about your business opportunity. I recommend finding (or creating) an image for this type of post and then including the rules in the caption. This engages people even if there is a lot of text to read, and images are more likely to be seen. To follow Facebook’s contest guidelines you MUST include something like “This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.” Be clear and concise in your rules. “Ask me about my job! Win a FREE xyz by simply asking me about my xyz business! Here’s how to win: 1) Like this post. 2) Comment on this post with a question related to my business. One question per person. You need to do these 2 things to be eligible. The winner will be selected on xyz date and announced on this post. This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook.” Read the latest update on Facebook contest rules here.
You can follow Karen Clark at My Business Presence.