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Direct Sales and Social Media: The ROI of Social Commerce

Online event management company Eventbrite recently released a report that outlined some staggering statistics related to the return on investment of what they define as “Social Commerce”. Simply put, the company reported what could ultimately become the first definitive “hard evidence” that yes, you can make money in social media.

It’s a wake-up call for direct sellers everywhere. We’ve spent the last month looking at ways to increase sales, and this month, we look at ways to increase recruits in your direct sales business. Today’s article takes a look at the nexus between the two: the fact that your business opportunity is the biggest “product” your company has to offer, and now, more than ever, the Internet plays a major role in how well you are able to “sell” that product.

Eventbrite’s report doesn’t reveal the whole story, but it does give us a glimpse into the profit potential of what they define as social commerce. The following image from the report demonstrates the power of how referral based social commerce works.

How does it work?

First someone visits their site and learns more about who they are and what they do. In this instance, someone buys a ticket to an event, which starts the trackable chain of events that leads to referral business. Eventbrite has done a bang-up job of developing the tools to do this on their site. They’ve also done a great job of making it easy for people to tell their friends. By using Facebook’s “like” button, as well as giving clients the ability to “retweet” details about registering for an event, Eventbrite has made it possible to not only tell people about the event, but also encourage them to come buy their own ticket as well.

When a ticket buyer shares their purchase decision with their circle of influence, others in their circle become aware of the event, visit Eventbrite, and decide to make their own purchase. They then become part of the viral, “share-a-thon” effect, and can tell their friends, which in turn, drives the social commerce engine.

This is basic referral marketing with a high-tech sheen. And it’s something you can do in your business, too.

Why does it work?

In this era of savvy shoppers and cynical readers, people are depending even more on word-of-mouth referrals from their friends – and not just for things like movies and restaurants. More and more categories of products and services are an easy target for referral marketing with the power of social media.

Just one tweet requesting followers to share their favorite WordPress plug-in can garner hundreds of responses in a few minutes. On facebook, where a status update has a longer “life expectancy”, that request could yield responses for days. Now, instead of searching on Google for an unknown variable, third party social proof has narrowed the field of choices to the best options as recommended by trusted sources (ie your friends and family – whom you already know, like and trust).

How can you parlay this into your direct sales business? Here are a few ideas to make it easy for people to share their experience of working with you with their friends:

  • Create a Facebook Page for your business and update your list when you’re doing an event or a show.
  • Create a “fans only” section of your Facebook Page. This is a private area where you an share special incentives to book, buy or recruit with you. People have to “like” your page in order to access the “fan only” content. When they “like” your page, it appears in their activity updates and provides a third party endorsement of your page.
  • Post a status update that “tags” your host – which also posts to their page. Then they have a chance to comment, “like”, or promote your post to their own list of online friends. If your host is on twitter, you can tweet about the upcoming show and converse with the host in your tweet stream.
  • Encourage your hosts to tag you in their facebook status updates or their tweets. Place their names in a monthly drawing and announce the winner via social media.
  • Train your new recruits to use social media appropriately so that they can tag you when you are training with them. This builds your credibility and theirs at the same time.
  • Tag your recruits when they attain recognition. By publicly celebrating the achievements of your team, their circle of influence will hold them in higher esteem. When you tag someone on Facebook, it appears on their wall, and their friends can see it – even if you’re not friends with their friends. What a simple (and free) gift you can give to recognize your team members!

The idea is to make it easy and worthwhile for people to refer business to you and your team. The more people are willing to share, the better your potential for sales and recruits.

© 2010 Lisa Robbin Young

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Lisa Robbin Young offers direct sales coaching and training to direct sales professionals looking to grow their business like a real business instead of an expensive hobby. Sign up for her free weekly ezine at http://www.homepartysolution.com.

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Action tip: Visit our Facebook page for more tips on ways to use social media to increase referrals in your direct sales business.

2 Comments

  1. Carla K.

    Tell a Woman, Tell a Friend, Telephone has gone High Tech and I Love it. Social Media is not just for “kids” anymore. These are good ideas. I WILL be creating a “NEW” Facebook page especailly for my business. Lisa, I am soooo glad I found you and your websiite.

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