This is the extended version of a reply to Jennifer Fong’s blog post on Software v. Social Media
Pretending that facebook or twitter or other social media contexts do not exists will not make them go away – NOR will it make them less relvant to your company. Companies large and small need a social media strategy.
This includes individual direct sellers. Slapping up a facebook page and posting monthly specials in your status doesn’t not count as a strategy – unless your strategy is to annoy the few who continue to follow you.
Social Media requires interaction – give AND take – not a one-sided “down your throat” approach to brand communication.
Companies (including “you, Inc” direct sellers) need to find ways to engage their prospects/customers/clients where they are at already.
In V. Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning”, he comments on this very idea. Instead of trying to drag, coerce or force people into your worldview, you need to meet them where they are, introduce them to yoru world view and continue to invite them to take the next step in doing business with you.
Gone are the days of hitting people over the head with the “my company is better than the rest” diatribe. There’s far too many voices beating their chests with the same message now. People are far more savvy then they were even just a few decades ago – and they KNOW that you need them. Without them, you fail to exist.
So make it easy for them to connect and get excited about what you have to offer in the world. Don’t just tell them what to think (it doesnt work anymore anyway). Tell them you care about what they’re ALREADY thinking, and help them share it with you!
How do you do that?
Several famous marketers say “join the conversation alredy going on in your prospect’s mind”. In this case, it means get involved where they’er already ‘hanging out’. In the past, that was at home parties, sales meetings and other “get togethers” in person, in real time.
Now, it means there’s a 24 hour GLOBAL get together going on in social media networks around the world. You need to establish a presence, maybe even ‘lurk’ a bit to monitor the conversation. You don’t want to be seen as one of those nerdy wannabes that hangout near the watercooler and interject completely irrelevant stuff just to sound like they’re part of the group. You have to BE part of the group. Undertand the dynamic, and then get involved. Ask questions, participate and provide VALUE to those that are talking about you.
That doesn’t mean being on every social network on the planet. It DOES mean starting somewhere, building a reputation and growing your audience by being part of the audience from time to time. Oprah rarely interacts with her followers on twitter – but then she doesn’t follow very many herself. She can’t possibly know what the pulse of her audience is if she’s not interacting (note: she DOES have other people on her team that DO interact on twitter. SMART Strategy on her part).
If Oprah can do it, so can any Direct Sales company (or any other company) out there. Get involved in the brand you’re creating, don’t just hold it up like a shield. I believe it was the Spartans that said something abotu coming home with your shield held high or ON it.
Dying for the brand. What a concept! Being so committed that you’re personally involved, passionately involved in the livelihoods you’re creating for others. That kind of give provides a LOT more in return for you to take.
Plan your entry into social media – but get there, sooner rather than later.