Recently I shared a statistic on Facebook, that was shared by Andrea Jung, CEO of Avon, at the DSA Annual Meeting. The statistic was that 80% of women in direct sales use the income that they make to feed, clothe, and educate their children. While the statistic itself speaks volumes about the impact that direct sales is having on the next generation, I want to talk today about what happened AFTER I shared that statistic.
Facebook allows people to “comment” on things that you post. Well after I posted that statistic, many of the direct sellers I am connected with on Facebook began to share their personal stories, about how direct sales has made a difference in their lives. It wasn’t hype. Rather, it was authentic testimonies of how direct sales is REALISTICALLY making a difference to them. And I know that people who observed that interaction on Facebook may have walked away with perhaps a different perspective of the power of this industry.
That got me to thinking about how social media can be used to spread the “good news” of direct sales. All too often direct sales gets a bad name in social media circles, due to over-enthusiastic sellers who feel the need to hype the opportunity, selling “get rich quick” scenarios that don’t work for most. The result is a mistrust of the industry in general, because people don’t want to be scammed. But if instead we focused on the genuine facts…that most people make a few extra hundred dollars per month in social media…we might get a much better response.
I turned to Amy Robinson, Vice President of Communication and Media Relations at the Direct Selling Association, to get her take on all of this. Amy spends her days talking to reporters about the direct selling industry, maintaining the EXCELLENT DirectSelling411 site, and providing the evidence and facts that people need to make informed decisions about our industry. Here’s what Amy shared with me.
Amy believes that social media may be a really powerful tool for us as direct sellers to share the FACTS about direct sales, minus the hype. “Social media is such a powerful medium. You can be your own publisher, and it’s essentially free, but you must use it in the right way,” she said. “Our society is such a sound byte society. Direct sellers must remember that people don’t want to read LONG things in social media. So when you’re sharing information about your opportunity, get to the point quickly, and help people see THEMSELVES in what you say. It’s not just about you and your story. People must be able to see success as they define it for themselves, if they are to believe that direct sales is something that can work for them.”
One resource that the DSA provides to help direct sellers and consumers get the facts about direct sales is the http://www.directselling411.com site. While I will provide a post soon that goes into this great site in detail, it’s important for you to be aware of this site. As I’ve said, we need to avoid HYPE when talking about direct sales in social media forums. People are hyper-aware of hype, and it’s better to provide honest information that can help people make an informed decision.
Direct Selling 411 helps with this. It’s a forum that lays out the facts about direct sales, lets people ask questions, and helps them find DSA member companies. DSA members all agree to comply to a code of ethics that protects both consumers and consultants, so DSA membership is a big deal when considering an opportunity. Amy shared that the feedback they’ve received at the DSA from consultants about the site has been phenomenal. They absolutely LOVE having a 3rd party site that provides the FACTS. It’s a great way to share the validity of direct sales with people that have questions. And it’s a tool to help people be more comfortable with direct sales in general.
When we use social media tools to share the FACTS about direct sales, it helps you promote your own opportunity in a realistic way, while also promoting the industry in a positive light. And when that happens, everyone wins. So the next time you talk about your opportunity online, remember that the key is HONESTY and AUTHENTICITY. By avoiding the hype, you will be a lot more convincing, and people will be able to see how direct sales will work for THEM, so they can achieve THEIR definition of success.
What do you think? Have you promoted your opportunity online? What were the results? Would love to read your comments!