Category Archives: Social Media

Rules of Direct Sales Businesses Online

Direct sales companies abound.  Look around and you’re likely to see someone advertising how you can lose weight or make money from home.  The opportunities all sound good, but how do you decide which one to buy into?  Determining the rules of any direct sales company, especially when it comes to selling online, is critical if you would like to make use of the internet to do your business.

Didgeman / Pixabay

It wasn’t that long ago that direct sales companies only had a website that explained their opportunity and how you could join their team.  That has changed dramatically within the last ten years.  Not all direct sales companies have the same rules when it comes to selling online.  In fact, some may not allow their associates to sell online at all.

Most direct sales transactions are completed person-to-person, face-to-face during a party or demonstration.  Some people don’t want to wait for a party to get what they want, however, and will often turn to the internet.  If the parent company has a website, the prospective customer will likely find what they want.  However, if they want to develop a relationship with the company, they may also choose to find a consultant.

How do you know what a direct sales company’s online sales rules are?  Of course, the easiest way to find out is to ask, but not all companies may be forthcoming with their information.  You may have to ask for additional information by signing up on their website, but be prepared to be approached and encouraged to “sign on the dotted line”.

If at all possible, refrain from joining any direct sales company until you’ve had ample time to thoroughly read over their materials.  Know ahead of time what their compensation plan is, how they help you succeed in a business, and also what online marketing you will be able to do.  What do you do if they won’t give you this information?  Thank them for the opportunity, but tell them you’re not interested and you’d rather not be contacted again.

If the company will allow you to have an internet presence, don’t settle for using just the website that they provide.  You can create a separate website, with your own domain, which will link to the main company page.  Having a personal website gives you much more freedom in meeting your prospects’ needs, as well as those of your team members.

Remember, if you’re looking into a direct sales company, don’t be afraid to ask questions – particularly about their rules for running your business online.  If you don’t get the response you would like, consider a different company.  You want to find one that will support your interests and success as much as their own.

Blogging About Your Direct Sales Business

You’ll want to employ every available option to promote your direct sales business, whether you do it online or offline. One of the most effective online ways to promote your business is by blogging about it. This helps you get the word out about your product and what it does as well as present you with new recruiting prospects. Blogging can help your business reach a whole new level.

Sophieja23 / Pixabay

Don’t make this a personal blog except when it comes to sharing positive experiences regarding your product or products. Keep to the rules of your company so that you don’t get into trouble. Invite people to comment on your blog with their experiences. Remember to post regularly so people keep coming back.

If you’re selling a product that improves something, you may try making your own video of before and after results when your product was used. This works particularly well with cleaners, makeup and kitchen products. The results can be viewed clearly.

Make a list of your goals for blogging. Consider what your readers will be like. Design your blog with those people in mind. Focus on a single area and build your blog from that.

You can share things with your readers such as specials or new products that will be coming up. A sneak peak can be offered before they’re on the market. Talk about things indirectly related to your business. For example, cooking products lets you blog about recipes you’ve tried using your product. Most of all, blog with your readers in mind.

Making Your Direct Sales Website Search Engine Friendly

It’s time to “surf the web”. What do you do? You go to a search engine and type a target phrase into the search box. Within seconds you receive a list of websites. You begin to click on websites that interest you. Before long, you’ve found what you’re looking for. If you’re wise, you’ll make your direct sales website search engine friendly in the same way, so that you can be found when someone begins their search.

geralt / Pixabay

How do you make your website search engine friendly? Following are some hints to make your website easier to find.

1. Submit your direct sales website to the largest directories and search engines. Concentrate on the Yahoo! and Open Project Directory directories. Google and AOL would be good choices for search engines to target.

2. Submit just the main page of your website, not each individual page. The other pages will be found by following the links from the main page. Creating a “site map” might help the search engines find all of your links, but there’s no guarantee.

3. Choose keywords that are as specific as possible. If your direct sales companies sells educational toys, you’ll do better by using “educational toys” than you would using “toys and games” as your keywords.

4. The more websites you have linking to yours, the better your site will rank on the search engines. To get links back to your website, consider a “link exchange” campaign. Find other websites in your same niche and ask them if they would exchange links with you. If they do, both websites should benefit.

5. Your title page tag is the first thing a search engine displays, so you’ll want yours to be good. Take your time and come up with something that will explain your website.

6. Search engines, while important, are not the only way to drive traffic to your website. Consider adding a signature line to your outgoing email that includes your business email address. Write articles and submit them to various free article sites; make sure to include a bio box with your URL at the bottom. Find and post at related forums, posting your link in your signature line, if it is allowed.

7. Don’t forget about offline marketing. Have pens, business cards, and flyers printed with your direct sales business email and website. Bumper stickers might be another good bet, as well as magnets.

Creating a website isn’t that hard to do. Take some time, think things through, make a plan, and then follow it. If you have problems, you can always ask at different forums for ways to improve your search engine results. People are generally willing to help make your direct sales website search engine friendly.

Controlling Your Personal Search Results

While direct sales takes several important things to make successful, it all really comes back to the age old skill: Building Trust. With new technology, your ability to build trust with your clients goes far beyond your direct conversations with them. They are now one Google search away from knowing a lot more about you and your products. Are they going to see your glowing testimonials, or will they find the ravings of the one unhappy client that you’ve had in 10 years? Will they learn about your vast experience, or see deal-killing tweets about possibly making a move to a bigger company?

Hebi65 / Pixabay

This new openness that the internet provides could definitely crush your business…or it could take it to a new level. Below we will go through a few “must haves” that everyone in direct sales should incorporate into their portfolio to help strengthen your business.

1)      Wikipedia Page

I’m sure most people thought that #1 would “a website”. The truth is that while we will definitely mention a website on this list, a Wikipedia page is much more important. Wikipedia is arguably the strongest website in the world, which means that if you create a page for yourself it will almost definitely rank in the top 1-3 spots for your name. It also allows you to give your bio/resume as you would like it to be seen.

The best part about a Wiki page is that even if you have a common name, Wikipedia will still be stronger than the other websites that might be owned by people who share your name.

2)      Digital Resume

This could be as simple as creating a free 1-2 page website on Weebly.com or Wix.com with an introduction and summary, and then a resume. The best part about an online resume is that it’s never going to be the “official” resume that you turn into employers so you can do whatever you want with it. If you’d like to showcase your portfolio, or make it visual with graphs and show how much money you’ve made for your clients.

If you are smart, you will even include additional lead forms so that you might get some leads just from people who happen to stumble onto your digital resume.

3)      Social Business Pages

The biggest thing told to college students nowadays is to make your social pages “private”. Well yes, you should definitely do that…but why would you ever stop there?

Take your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. and go ahead and make additional business pages. This can really just be another profile page for yourself but just focus it entirely on your business.

The nice thing about these pages is that when you make your personal pages “private” over time the search engines will usually display your business pages when people search for your name.

4)      Public LinkedIn Page

This is something that everyone should already be doing anyway. Believe it or not, while LinkedIn usually ranks well it’s probably not ever going to be the top result for your name. However, it might usually be the first thing that people click on. Because LinkedIn is such a well-known social site, a LOT of people will skip over the first few results and skip right to your LinkedIn page. While this is just another digital resume of sorts, it will receive quite a bit of traffic.

5)      Write Articles about your industry

While “Authorship” in search results has gone away, your articles still have quite a bit of strength. If your articles are published on a high quality site, with your author bio, then that’s the main thing.

After that, make sure that you are linking to your article(s) and sharing them on social media to increase that strength.

These articles let you showcase your knowledge of the field, and give you a level of credibility that most professionals in your field might not have.

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Author Bio:

Patrick King is the Search Engine Marketing Manager for Premier Laser Spa, a company with over 22 locations around the country. When he’s not managing the dozens of websites that Premier has, he is avidly exploring the ever-changing world of digital marketing.

Effectively Using Social Media in Direct Sales

Social media is definitely one of the most powerful tools that a marketer has at their disposal, and an even better tool for direct sellers because like direct sales, start-up costs are either free or very minimal. Utilizing social media means that you have the ability to reach thousands or even millions of people at no cost. The problem is that 99% of the time, social media is being used inefficiently, and it just ends up being a waste of time.

geralt / Pixabay

So the question becomes: “How to use social media efficiently and effectively in direct sales?”

1)      Choosing the channels that are most effective for your product

One of the most common mistakes is the idea that more is always better. Many people in direct sales embrace this philosophy and think that if they scream their message through 10 social media channels instead of 1, that they will be 10 times more effective. The truth is that while using more channels isn’t always a bad thing, just using more channels for the sake of having more is definitely a bad thing.

Each social media channel has its own strengths and weaknesses, which will help you select the right social networks to use. For example, if it’s a product that you need to demonstrate or show a visual proof for (for example a guitar or instrument), then Youtube is going to be a great option. If it’s a product set like a clothing line that is constantly releasing new products, then something like Instagram is going to be a better fit.

So first, analyze the products you are selling and the market you are selling to and focus your time on the social channels that are going to produce the best results.

2)      Separate channels based on the messages you are sending

This is especially important for situations where you are trying to both sell products, and get people under you to sell products (so that you benefit from their sales as well). In situations like these, it’s important to realize that there are some people who might be interested in the products themselves but not selling, and others who might like to sell but have no desire to purchase the products.

To do this you need to split messages into separate channels based on what you are trying to accomplish. A lot people see their close friends as a pool of potential sales colleagues, so a channel like Facebook is probably better for recruiting efforts. This allows you to take channels like Twitter and Instagram that are less personal and really leverage those to make direct sales.

3)      Separate Your Personal Channels from your business channels

This is the single biggest mistake that direct sales professionals make. They spend time screaming on their social media channels about other companies, or idiot drivers they see on the road, or general bad experiences…and then they try to post about their products. There is absolutely nothing wrong with venting or posting personal feelings or experiences on social media, that’s one of the reasons it’s there. But if you want to be a highly effective direct sales professional, then every post, photo, video, etc. has got to be about building the brand in some way. There just isn’t room for personal posts mixed in with business posts. You will alienate people, lose followers and attention to the brand, and ultimately just waste your time.

These aren’t brilliant points that dive into the deepest depths of social media, or that will let you sell a million products this year just using these tips. However, these are mistakes that most people in direct sales make on a daily basis. If you can simply inject these 3 principles into your social media strategies, your direct sales business will definitely be more efficient and more effective than it is now.

Author Bio

Patrick King is a Search Engine Marketing Manager for Premier Laser Spa. In addition to that, he is a highly respected business consultant who works heavily with direct sales professionals in developing their start-ups and taking their companies to the next level.

How to Use Instagram for Business

  1. Show Your Products/Services -Everyone loves browsing images. Everyone loves to browse products just like everyone loves window-shopping. Let your followers do some mobile window-shopping by showing them your collection of products that you are offering. If you are in a service-oriented business, you can show them how you provide your services to your clients. Using Instagram, you can show what your products can do, you can also bring them to your office by sharing a photo. You can always take your customers with you when you are using Instagram.   instagram-for-business
  1. Engage with Audience -Engaging with your audience does not only mean following each other on Instagram, or like and comment on their photos. It is about sharing a beautiful, high quality photos that users can’t see anywhere else. A not so common image of a product/service that can catch people’s attention. Share them photos that will let them experience your brand even just by looking at it.
  1. Post Regularly -If you just post one or two in a day, it may not be seen by too many audiences. Users can follow a lot of people in Instagram, your chance of being seen will increase if you post quality photos regularly
  1. Use Hashtag -Remember to always use the hashtag feature to get more followers. It is also a good way you can engage with your customers. You can do a contest asking them to use a particular hashtag for your contest by tagging their pictures of them with your products.

You can use Instagram for any type of brand that you want for marketing purposes. What you only need to do is show a picture to people.

Read last weeks article on Why to Use Instagram for Business

Author Bio:

This was written by a college student named Dawn Atkins. She is a techie person using her smartphone when she’s working in as part-time writer for bestessays.com.au . Dawn is also into traveling and playing soccer.

Image Source: http://mediafunnel.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/instagram-for-business.jpg

Why Use Instagram for Business

Almost all of the people nowadays depends on their mobile phone to do everything. From having apps to wake up in the morning, to finding a job and even doing a seven-minute workout. That is why, almost all of the business also set up their websites into a mobile-friendly outlook. This is the reason why it is a great way to use Instagram in your business.

Instagram is a free mobile photo-sharing app with millions of users. It was acquired by Facebook in April 2012 and launched a redesign on iOS. It is clear that Instagram is one of the most photo-focused social media that businesses should not ignore.     instagram-for-business

Why Instagram?

There are so many reasons why business owners should use Instagram for social media marketing. And here are seven of them that you should check out:

  1. Reach a Wider Audience -One of the obvious reasons on why business should use Instagram in their business is because it reaches a wider audience. It has a lot of users that you can target in promoting your products and business. It already has a web presence too, which means people on the internet can also see photos from this platform.
  1. Create Relationship with Users -You can create engagement with other users by liking and commenting on photos. You can always say ‘thank you’ to your followers who likes your photos so that you can establish a good relationship with them. Instagram can help you maintain your current clients and can also help you gain new customers.
  1. Get More Interest -By sharing photos of your products and services, you will be able to get new followers, that means getting more interested people about your business. Getting more interested people about your products can bring you more customers and can lead to a higher profit for your business.
  1. Promote Products/Services -It is one of the best ways to promote your products because Instagram has million of users worldwide that can see your photos online. Your followers can like and comment on your photos and they can also regram it to share on their own account. You can also connect your Instagram to your other social media accounts so whatever you post on your Instagram can also appear in Facebook, Twitter, etc. It is like hitting three birds with one stone.
  1. Exposure to Other Brands -It can also widen your exposure to other brands related to your business. You can just simply find, follow and do a research about them on Instagram. Examine if they are successful in using Instagram and try to use their strategy on your products too. You can learn from following them to know if you can still do something to improve your business.

Come back next week to learn How to Use Instagram in your Business

Author Bio:

This was written by a college student named Dawn Atkins. She is a techie person using her smartphone when she’s working in as part-time writer for bestessays.com.au . Dawn is also into traveling and playing soccer.

Image Source: http://mediafunnel.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/instagram-for-business.jpg

Your Website – 3 Important Things to Include

When it comes to your direct sales business, your website is one of the few ways that you can use to communicate with your customers 24/7.  For this reason, it is important that your site is professional and clean looking.  Most companies provide you with a site for this reason, but these sites are not always customizable websites.  That said, there are some things that need to be included on your site and you can hopefully add.

website ideas

website ideas (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

Contact Information

You are already putting your contact information everywhere possible, right?  Catalogues, business cards, flyers and whatever else you can get your hands on.  Your website is no different.  If your company does not already put your email address or phone number on it, you want to put that information on it somewhere.  Most consultant sites have an area that you are able to customize so use this to your full advantage.

Contact information to include:

  • Name
  • Phone Number
  • Email address
  • Facebook Site
  • Twitter Handle
  • Any other contact information you want them to have

Incentive

Why should they buy your products?  People do a lot of web browsing and find a lot of great items they want to buy, but the amount they actually spend is tiny in comparison.  How many times have you found products, put them in your online cart and abandoned them?  That isn’t even a party; that is just committing to making a purchase!  You need to convince them they want to contact you and host an event or at least purchase those items they were considering.

Value

Provide your potential customer with value when they come to your website.  If you are just using a consultant site that your company provides, this may be more difficult, but do your best.  You want these people to return to your site multiple times until they make a purchase, book a party or even join your team.  If your site is just like a million others, there is no reason for them to bookmark it and then return.

These reasons are part of why some consultants feel the need to have their own website to compliment the company’s website.  If you decide to create a separate site, make sure that it is within company’s regulations.

 

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5 Ways to Use Social Media to Help in Branding Your Direct Sales Business

Face it; to your customers, you are your direct sales business, and a big part of what that business is in their eyes. No matter what products or services your business might offer, how your customers perceive you makes up a significant part of the overall business brand. Choosing the right product or service is important, of course, but if you want your business to succeed, you need to promote the brand – and yourself – in the best possible light. Here are a few tips to show you how to do just that, using one of the most powerful tools available to you: social media.

1)      Choose the right social media networks.

Social Media Camp 2009 - Using Social Media fo...

Social Media Camp 2009 – Using Social Media for Small Business (Photo credit: deanmeyersnet)

Different social media services are geared toward different objectives, and you’ll want to set up accounts that will be most effective in reaching people who are likely to become your customers. Facebook is by far the largest of the social media networks, and it appeals to those who are into more informal and casual exchanges. Twitter is kind of an online soapbox, where people make brief announcements about pretty much anything that comes to mind. Yelp is a good resource to let people know what you’re about, where you are, and – by other people’s reviews – what it is like to deal with your company. And while Linkedin is a more professionally-oriented network, it offers access to many groups of people who share common interests beyond their careers, and might well be a good resource. There are, of course, many other social media sites and services that may serve to help you establish your presence and brand, but these few are good places to start.

2)      Make it personal, but keep it professional.

Endeavor to behave on the social media sites the same way as you would at a party you were having in a friend’s home. While you needn’t be shy in singing your business and/or product’s praises, avoid the temptation to sell. If others find you well-informed and likable, they will be much more inclined to look favorably at what your business has to offer. You want your brand – your business, your products, and yourself – to be invited to other parties, and for your prospective customers to want to come to your parties.

3)      Are paid accounts and ads helpful?

Many social media sites require that members who sign up primarily to promote their businesses take out a paid membership. The cost isn’t very high, and beyond helping you avoid violating the sites’ terms of service, paid accounts often allow you to post additional promotional materials and ads. Adding more compelling information about your product or service can prove useful, so long as you don’t overdo it.

4)      Include links to other sites and blogs that will enhance your brand’s image and visibility.

In addition to enhancing the perceived value of your brand among other members, additional links will increase your standings in the search engines’ algorithms, and can make your page and your brand-affiliated websites rank higher and appear closer to the top of people’s searches.

5)      Keep an eye out for what others are saying about you, your product/service, and your brand.

Knowing what about you and your business/brand is showing up on the web can be an invaluable tool. Run Google searches, sign up for Google Alerts, and access sites such as http://freepeoplesearch.org. You may find that your business/brand is being praised on other forums that you hadn’t known about, and which you might want to join, as well. You might even approach the people who say nice things about you and ask them if it’s okay to use their comments as testimonials on your other forums. Their responses will usually be positive, especially if you give them a nice thank you gift and some recognition. You might also find some negative comments, which you’ll want to address, either by resolving any underlying problems or by presenting your side of the situation.

Follow these simple tips, and you’ll be on your way to expanding the positive awareness of your brand. The more people know – and think positively – about your business and your brand, the bigger your customer base will be. And that is, after all, the name of the game in your direct sales business.

Author Bio:

This is a guest post by Sarah Brooks from free people search. She is a Houston based freelance writer and blogger. Questions and comments can be sent to brooks.sarah23 @ gmail.com.

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Managing your Social Media Accounts

Chances are you have several different social media accounts that you use for your business or for personal reasons.  But remembering to visit all the different websites, not to mention the passwords, can be a cumbersome duty.  Thankfully, there are some programs out there that will help you with this task.

The great thing about these programs is that you login with one ID and password and you have access to your different accounts.  They do require you to provide your username and password to start, and they request your permission to login to authenticate, but then you are set and ready to go.

Nederlands: Gebruikerspagina-icoontje

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hootsuite

This is the program I use to manage my accounts.  It is a web-based program which is great because you can access it from any computer that you may be on.  The free version lets you monitor five different accounts from various social media.  I personally use it to monitor Twitter, Facebook and my Fanpage.  But you can also add LinkedIn, MySpace and RSS feeds.  If you want to link and monitor more than 5 accounts on Hootsuite, you will need to pay for the service.

TweetDeck

I have recently started to use this program as I have more than 5 social media accounts that I monitor.  TweetDeck is a download so you do need to install it on your computer.  I am not sure if there is a way to set it so that you can use it on a second computer with the settings intact.  One benefit I have found to TweetDeck and Facebook is I can set it to view status updates and wall posts only so I do not get the game notifications like I do on Hootsuite.  You can hook up LinkedIn, MySpace and a variety of other social media accounts to this program.

These programs are capable of much more than just having all your social media in one place.  You can set them to watch for certain hashtags or words that are tweeted even if these people aren’t in your friends list.  You can program updates to be sent when you are going to be away or you know you can’t access your computer.  If you poke around in the settings, you can find different statistics about your account and what people are clicking on.

I know that these programs are not the only ones out there but they are the ones I am familiar with. Do you use one of these?  How about a different program?  Would you recommend it to others?