This is a question I get asked a lot. 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?
My answer is NO. Social media is a fantastic tool for finding new prospects for your business, for providing superior customer service, 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 your business comes from. Your company most likely has party averages, and when you do a party, you can pretty much count on making a certain amount of money. You also give people a chance to interact with you live, see and touch the products, and enjoy the experience of being with friends while making informed purchasing decisions. In short, nothing replaces the party.
Social media marketing also has a longer cycle. It takes time to build relationships online, develop content for your blog, and build up enough know, like, and trust 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 addition to a party plan direct sales business. It can enable you to connect with people you couldn’t have met otherwise, 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 which can result in a thriving reorder business when they are plugged into you 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.
What are your thoughts on this? Have you had experiences that prove or disprove this? Would love to hear your comments!