Social media

This article addresses a couple of areas. First, the use of Facebook for our business growth and development and second, the use of Facebook for networking. It is in no way meant to be instructional, rather, these are topics I think about as I work to make my business profitable, and represent Clever Container. My word for the year is "FOCUS". There is little that can distract me from focusing than Facebook!

Do you have a Facebook business page? Do you have a Facebook VIP Group? Do you post on both pages? What do you post? These are questions we must answer for ourselves. However, if we are even going to begin to go there, we need to become a little bit educated. I am a tale of one who has learned by trial and error. I have learned it isn't always about the quantity of posts, it is also about the quality.

I know every company has representative training and Clever Container is no different. Since it is a relatively young company its birth came at a time social media had already developed. And so, I've been blessed to hear some great advice with regard to its use. There is a very real difference between a business page and a business Group page or a VIP Group page. A Business page should be created with engagement in mind. Post content that will elicit engagement, ask questions, post videos, post product photos - post with the intent you will gain "likes" on your page and folks will find your page interesting enough to follow. Be relative! A VIP Group page, on the other hand, is generally a closed group. Those folks who see the content are invited, they become your guests. I believe the VIP page can be used to share specials, develop a game or contest, provide information regarding changes in products, develop poles. The group page has a more specific focus. I have fun with it, but I keep its content specific to my business and the industry I represent! Be aware of posting multiple times each day - don't do it! Don't become a spammer since that will not only turn your audience off, it may land you in Facebook jail!

Direct Sales NETWORKING pages are on the rise. Have you been introduced to these? There are some really good groups and there are some not so good groups as well. The trend I have found is this: The group is formed and a group of administrators are chosen. Of course, the administrators are probably friends since there is a trust among them. They are promoted as networking opportunities, and an opportunity to have learn about other products. The networking seems to be in the form of games. Games may have other names as well. Representatives are urged to participate, and that participation includes a commitment of from $10 to $100 (generally). When the game ends, the list of 10 to 100 or more participants is randomized and the "winners" are drawn. When the rules for the game are posted I have noticed there can be up to five administrators as winners, along with a mystery consultant and/or another representative who had been "burned" in a prior game. (A "burn" results when the representative does not follow through with their commitment to buy or settle the result in another agreeable manner.) Although everyone is said to be a winner because you either win by receiving orders or you win by being able to make a purchase from another representative to learn about their products, I don't believe that to be the case. When you have a "pot" of 75 people, six to eight who have not contributed financially to the pot, the results can really be interesting. Here is the hypothetical problem. You enter 3 games for a total of $75. The game ends and the result is that you have "won" the opportunity to buy from three another representatives. With an average of $6.50 shipping for each order and (in my case) 7% sales tax, the $75 commitment has now become a commitment of around $100. That is the financial cost of one week's "networking" efforts. Now you have invested $100 in your business (if you are really using this as a business tool) in one week and what have your profits been from this expenditure?

Of late my newsfeed has been full of these types of posts. 'Do you sell products that cost between $10 and $30. Drop your company web-site below.' A list of as many as 75-80 or more direct sales companies follows. What impact has that post had on anybody's business? What does it say? Does posting a link constitute engagement? In most cases these posts have been made because the poster has started a new Group. The post is really an invitation to join another Gaming group. It is frustrating to join a "networking" group only to find it is yet another gaming group that has very, very little to do with real networking. Networking is more than buying from each other, or signing on with yet another Direct Sales company in order to get the products representatives receive.

So, Direct Sales associates, I want to encourage you (and me) to take seriously social media this year. The bottom line for me is to invest time and energy into improving my presence on social media, become more engaging and relevant and use every tool at hand to learn in order and to network in an appropriate way to grow my business. How about you?

Ann Rogers, Consultant with Clever Container