Tag Archives: social media

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.

Following Your Rules on Social Media

I know I have posted a lot about how to act on social media. But does that mean I follow what I preach? Unfortunately, I have to admit that no, I do not. I will admit that I am trying to get better but it can be tough due to limited time as well as losing interest in the topic.   That said, it should be worth it or maybe it is time to close up shop and move on, right?

So what kind of rules am I breaking that I setup for myself:

Only Post Links

It is so easy to stop by a social media account, plug in a title and a link and go on your way. I have a spreadsheet with these all in it, as well as hashtags, for easy use in this respect. Not only do I do this with my business account but I do it with a personal account as well, although, I do not post nearly as much as I do with the others. There are some quotes interspersed with the links but the ratio is lopsided.   In my defense, if you are talking about a news story or statistics, you likely need to use a link but it does not have to be self serving.

Post Regularly

Some of my accounts are currently posting on a regular basis but not all. I had an account setup that was auto posting for me but due to the cost and not seeing the return on it I wanted, I cancelled it. As a result, I have to manually setup a lot of my posts and I just keep forgetting.

Be Current

If you have something like a website, blog, Facebook page, keeping current is important so your customers know what is going on. Again, I haven’t been. I have put up a few posts recently as the Fall catalogue is now out and it’s the most popular one. But if I post once a month, I am doing well.

What kind of rules have you set for yourself that you find yourself failing at? Do you know why this is?

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

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?

Using Social Media to Promote your Direct Sales Business

Everyone is using some form of social media these days whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or some other forum.  Google has launched their own version and there are likely to be other competitors to join in the fun.  Like anything else, to keep your business growing and moving forward, you need to embrace these trends as well.

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

Facebook

There is a wide variety of things that you can do on here.  You can create a business page (which is preferred) or you can create a personal page for your business.  You can use your own personal page with occasional blurbs about your business if you do not want multiple accounts; just make sure it’s a good mix of information.  Facebook allows you to share pictures, links and pretty much anything else you want.

Twitter

This site tends to be more about conversation, as it is like constant status updates.  You have 140 characters to post a comment, observation, etc and people reply back.  You can get some pretty good conversations going on and I have seen some interesting debates happen – it’s amazing what you can say in 140 characters when you want to.    It is still possible to share pictures, links and other information but it is harder to find historical items, like what Jane said yesterday AM if she posts a lot of information.

LinkedIn

Personally, I am not on this site so I cannot tell you much about it.  From what I hear, it is more about networking sites and there are more professionals on it.  I have heard of people making good contacts and it being a good option for them, so it does not hurt to try it out.

Google Plus

Google Plus has been around for a while now and many people have embraced it.  Some people prefer this site to sites such as Facebook as it is a bit more user friendly.  That said, I have not done a lot with this site so I cannot tell you much about it.  If you have a Gmail account, it easily integrates with it which saves you a lot of time and effort in setup.

There are many different social media sites out there that are nowhere near the size of these sites so you do not hear of them.  These tend to be more specialized but those that spend their time there tend to stay longer due to more common interests.  If you try searching for your industry and social network, you may find some of them.

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Using the Internet to Promote your Business

When it comes to the Internet, you could spend days upon days promoting yourself and still not be done.  Most methods have a free option as well as a paid option – which you use, will depend on your finances, budget and where you feel you will get the most bang for your buck.

Internet!

Internet! (Photo credit: LarsZi)

Classified Ads – Many people these days use sites such as Craigslist or Kijiji (popular in Canada).  The advantages to these sites are that they are free but due to this, they can be full of spam.  The people I know who use Craigslist have a hard time keeping their ads up as they tend to get pulled as others can report the ads which can happen on Kijiji as well.  Kjijii allows you to pay to have your ad highlighted in a variety of methods to get more people to notice and hopefully increase the return on investment.

Social Media – There are a wide variety of different sites that you can use to promote your direct sales business.  One of the most popular sites is Facebook simply due to the way that you can communicate with others and get to know them and engage them in conversations.  Other popular methods are sites such as Twitter, LinkedIn and Google is now getting into the game.

Websites/Blogs – Another great option to promote your business is to have a website or a blog.  This is separate from the consultant site your company provides as you are 100% responsible for the content.  You can use this to highlight different aspects of your business from customer specials, sign up specials, new product or anything else you want.  You can find places to host your blog for free and there are other places that cost money.

Paid per Click – Some people prefer to pay for advertising clicks.  For instance, you can buy ad space through Google where you pay every time people see your advertisement.  I have heard that there is a large learning curve with this type of advertising though so make sure you do your research well before investing in this.  It is a good idea to check your company’s internet advertising policies as some companies do not allow this.

No matter what method you try, it is important you give them time to give you results before you move on.  This means trying something for at least a month to see what types of results you are getting from it.

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Leveraging Social Media and Other Marketing Mediums

There are more marketing channels available to small companies than ever before. These range from the tried-and-true broadcast channels to more experimental online approaches. The good news for start-ups and small companies is that it is more affordable than ever before to launch a well-calculated marketing campaign with serious potential. The bad news – if there is any – must be that competition is fierce. Actually, that’s an understatement. ‘Cutthroat’ is probably more apt.

Leveraging Technology

Leveraging Technology (Photo credit: giulia.forsythe)

For those hoping to capitalize on new marketing possibilities, we are going to review a few of the major marketing channels that are open to start-ups and small businesses. We’ll start with a section on social marketing and take it from there:

Social Media
This is the big one that everyone is anxious to master at the moment. Social media is free (though you are certainly welcome to pay the piper for more, better targeted exposure). Furthermore, a person can’t help but suspect that – if they play it right – a strong social media presence could completely reinvent their company image. This suspicion isn’t completely unfounded, though it certainly takes a best-case scenario approach to social media marketing.

If you want to get ahead on social media platforms, you either need to hire a guru or become one. Posts on the platform need to be regular and compelling, and meaningful engagement with fans, friends and followers must be the core objective. It’s easy to talk about successful social media strategies in a forum like this, but actually turning those talks into actionable strategy is complicated. In other words: hire an agency to do this for your company.

Broadcast
What started with radio waves gave way to television and, in this age, a string of YouTube-like websites. Broadcast marketing still has a strong (if changing) role to play. Just understand that purchasing advertising time on television – or even on the radio, for that matter – probably costs more than you would have assumed. This isn’t meant to suggest that it’s overpriced or to be avoided. However, do be advised purchasing broadcast time is only worthwhile if you are willing to invest a great deal more in high production values. That’s when you really start getting your money’s worth.

Brick and Mortar
Long before there was social media – or even broadcast television, for that matter – there was good, old-fashioned brick and mortar marketing. Giving away freebies and sending a crier out into the public square never disappeared from common practice; furthermore, it’s had a strong resurgence of late. As people spend more time absorbed in their digital lives – tweeting, texting, surfing, watching and otherwise feeling like a slave to the screen – it has actually become refreshing to be engaged in the real world.

This is where brick and mortar marketing has a strong advantage. When you pass out wrist bands, promotional pens and similar items, you are literally setting yourself apart from the digital competition. The items you distribute possess a ‘realness’ quality that interaction in the digital realm lacks entirely. You’re likely to be surprised how much you can accomplish these days by distributing promotional freebies.

Print
Print ads are rapidly being supplanted by a more ephemeral online equivalent. Of course, newspapers and magazines still sell ad space. The problem is that fewer people are reading print publications in general. This is especially true of those who own tablet computers and e-readers. Of course, those people are still reading news and articles; they’re just doing it from portable screens rather than from pieces of paper. To that end, many companies are taking out digitized ‘print ads’ that are displayed on e-readers and news-reading sites.

Author Bio:

Brianna Flierl is a writer for Dynamic Gift in Australia, one of the country’s most reliable providers of promotional items. By visiting their website, people can browse through their selection of promotional pens and more.

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Making an Online Sale Personal

In the age of information, when everything is at our fingertips, it makes sense that more and more people are starting to favor shopping online versus shopping at the mall. However, a computer screen can’t replace human interaction, especially when purchasing big-ticket items like jewelry and electronics. Having the opinion of a customer service representative or personal shopper can be priceless and have a huge impact on whether or not you will make the sale. When running an online direct-to-consumer business, here are some ways to keep it personal to help out your bottom line.

Shop online

Shop online (Photo credit: Daniel*1977)

  1. Be present: Just because the sale is happening over the Internet doesn’t mean that there aren’t two parties on either end. Taking advantage of great tools like live chat, where customers can ask specific questions about a particular product or ask for advice can be the difference between a consumer buying an item online or going into a store to check it out.
  2. Have a good return policy: Your return policy is key for customer service, and often plays a direct role in whether a customer will give repeat business. If one of your clients isn’t satisfied with her purchase, having the ability to return it hassle-free will help her keep her faith with online business.
  3. Communicate often: Your website offers a wealth of information about your business, but the difference between a good and a great FAQ page can affect your bottom line. Don’t have control over you’re employer’s website? Facebook and twitter are great tools to help address customer concerns and inquiries. Think about it – if you were shelling out mucho dollars for a set of pearls with diamonds, you would want to know that you were getting great bling for your buck, and constant contact would play a big role. Focusing your store on customer service instead of sales breeds repeat customers.
  4. Socialize: Social media is a huge opportunity for consumers to interact with merchants, so keep it personal when utilizing social media. If someone airs a grievance, use discretion in determining which posts to keep or delete, and don’t be afraid to comfort a customer on a public forum. If other potential clients see that you care, they may bookmark your site.
  5. Be creative: As a business owner or operator, you are certainly creative, so put your brain-wheels to work to figure out the best way to achieve making relationships with your clientele. For some, offering the option of an interactive “dressing room,” where customers can upload an image of themselves and “try on” products may be the way to go; for others, it may mean offering a “Free Try-on Period” where you send home a few items with the understanding that the customer will get charged for the items they don’t send back within a few days of receiving them.

In the age of information, it seems like everything is done online: dating, college classes, and of course, shopping – but that doesn’t mean that these should be impersonal experiences. Keeping these tips in mind can ensure that your customers are happy with their shopping experience enough to return time and time again.

Carly Chodosh is the Social Media Manager at Pearl & Clasp, a pearl jewelry company that specializes in restringing pearls, pearl clasps and custom designed pieces.

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Spread The Word With These 5 Awesome Marketing Tools

It’s no secret that the new frontiers of marketing are composed of a digital landscape. With this in mind the social media era has revolutionized the way we listen, converse, market, and analyze. Technological innovations have created limitless avenues and here are 5 of the coolest tools out there to help you compose your marketing attack plan:

Computers Monitor

Computers Monitor (Photo credit: yum9me)

1.    SocialMention

Totally free, this incredible search tool runs a virtual fishing net across the web to scoop up every time your keywords are referenced. SocialMention cuts out the fat and provides you with real-time research on just exactly what’s being said. This service also provides statistics about sentiments, keywords, and top users so you can monitor your audience with ease.

2.    HootSuite

Between Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn profiles managing your social media can quickly become a full-time job. HootSuite simplifies life by creating a dashboard that puts all these resources in one place, allowing the administrator to flip effortlessly between tabs, schedule automated posts, and observe relative effectiveness. If you’re using more than two platforms, this is a must-have to manage your social media as well as gather social media metrics for future campaigns.

3.    Klout

It’s easy to become obsessed with this innovative influence measurer. Klout assigns you a 1-100 score that is a comprehensive figure signifying the reach of your influence, telling you where it’s strongest, and indicating who’s influencing you. Companies using Klout are provided tools to monitor their audience and really track their effectiveness of social media marketing.

4.    Agora Pulse

Lots of social media marketing tools provide advanced statistics and moderation helps, but Agora Pulse simplifies and expands by building your business fully customizable Facebook apps. Mobile-friendly websites are one thing, but providing your market with an convenient, centralized app to track your presence on their device. This is essential because, as any marketing director can tell you, having as much information on your target audience as you can is essential to effective campaigns.

5.    SparkNode

In the modern world it is essential that every respectable business have an official and optimized website. Sparknode.com is a leader on this front, offering VPS (single server) hosting and top-tier Cloud hosting at affordable rates. Hosting your server has never been easier with new cloud based hosting opportunities!

It’s an exciting era for entrepreneurs, and promoting your product, service, or brand has never been easier. Be sure to tap into these incredible resources as you expand your reach.

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