As I highlighted in Tuesday’s post about Scentsy, a company’s culture of trust in the sales force’s ability to communicate its message about its brand plays a large role in the success of social media marketing for a direct sales company. The more a company trusts its sales force as the chief evangelists of its product line, the better equipped they are to communicate the brand’s message effectively.
Since the interview, I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this point. All the technology in the world won’t help you if you aren’t willing to release the message. Dave Sattler at Scentsy refers to this as “democratization” of the brand. In order to experience success in social media marketing, there are a couple of essential steps:
- Companies must be willing to listen and understand what the current perception of their brand is. The social networking arena is like one big free-for-all focus group. If you really want to know what people think of your brand, the answer is only a search away. Especially if you are a large brand, people ARE talking about you right now on social networking platforms. The question is, are you paying attention? Too many companies have illustrated far too clearly the perils of sticking their proverbial heads in the sand and pretending the conversation isn’t happening. It is. And successful companies are engaging in the conversation as real people, without clearing every comment through legal first.
- Allow your consultants to engage where they are. Your consultants are your most passionate supporters. They love your company and your products, or they wouldn’t have joined. They WANT to spread a positive message about your brand, because it benefits them as well as you. As Scentsy clearly illustrates, by providing your consultants with tools (such as videos) that are easy to share, your message spreads virally, and your consultants can share the needed information when it’s required.
- The perception of your brand is what people say it is. You don’t get the final say on what that is anymore. However, when you have company representatives that engage as real people in the social networking platforms that matter to your customers, contributing on a wide range of topics as true members of the community, they gain credibility. So when damage control is necessary, they’re already there and people are more willing to listen. People are also more likely to defend you themselves if they know, like, and trust your company representatives online. So be present, and engage!
”]”It is absolutely critical that companies re-examine their policies as they relate to the dissemination of information by their consultants and employees. We have entered an era where more and more people are sharing a massive amount of information online about companies and brands. By providing our sales forces with the tools they need to participate in that conversation effectively, while at the same time having corporate representatives online that become true members of the online communities that matter to our customers, we are more prepared to respond to this new era of communication and brand definition effectively.
What do you think? How is your company monitoring and communicating in this social media era? Would love to read your comments below!
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