Why Are Direct Sales Organizations Shooting Themselves In The Foot With Social Media?

You have a sales team, right?

They have friends, peers, and prospective customers all linked together via their social network – Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc..

So, why are you not empowering, encouraging, or at least allowing your reps to leverage tools like social media to spread the word of your solutions and products.

These friends and followers are the low hanging fruit for your company.

A few years back, I joined ACN, a direct sales organization selling telecommunications services that strictly prohibits the use of social media tools like Facebook and Twitter to build your network or sell.   On one hand, they told me how important it is to “reach out to your 10 closest friends to talk to about buying the product or becoming a rep.”  On the other, I was told that I could lose my investment if I chose to talk about the ACN opportunity on Facebook.

So, a modern network management company won’t let their sales reps use social media tools.  Wow.  And they are not alone.  There are many direct sales and multi-level marketing companies doing the same thing.

The primary justification for hamstringing sales reps usually lies with what the rep could post:

  1. False claims for which the company could be held legally liable.
  2. Pricing or other proprietary information that they do not want made public.
  3. An ugly looking post that doesn’t follow corporate branding guidelines.
  4. Anything that could damage the company itself.

As well as concerns from the sales rep:

  1. The desire to separate “home” Facebook activity from “work” Facebook activity.   In addition to just ensuring a degree of personal privacy, political or family rants on a Facebook page may result in lost customers.
  2. Creating a separate Facebook profile for work can offset the problem above, but it is against Facebook policy and could get the rep’s account suspended.
  3. Lack of engaging / interesting information to post may drive the rep into not posting at all (or posting too much).   This will cause either complete loss of engagement or a “unlike” from an upset prospect / customer.

You may have taken a looser approach to social media – allowing your sales representatives to market on Facebook as long as they don’t post proprietary information, pricing, or make false claims.

This opens the door to a degree of success if you have defined social media guidelines, but there are still issues:

  1. Lack of reporting across your network– both to measure the good and the bad efforts.

  2. Inability for you to quickly and easily send messages to all or segments of the followers of their reps.
  3. Provisioning and search problems caused by improperly defined processes and guidelines for page creation.    Take a look at this Facebook search for “Avon” that shows a mixture of profile, place and business pages.   Which are the company pages?  Rep Pages?   This problem will only get worse as more “rogue” pages are created that you have no control over.

So, what’s the answer?  It may seem easiest to simply restrict everything.   But, you know that social media is an untapped resource and tool both for at the company and your reps.  Letting “some” social activity proceed may help, but the problems will only get worse over time.

The answer is a centralized social media management solution that has the flexibility to deliver targeted content on behalf of tens, hundreds, or even thousands of social end points.  Perhaps a method to create and maintain a consistent look and feel of your rep’s business Facebook pages – ensuring a properly configured and engaging experience for their followers.  The system should also monitor and measure the success of these capabilities.Are you interested?   Let’s talk.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. Dukky is a perfect solution to all of the problems mentioned above. Let your clients design their own campaign and equip it with the power of social sharing on over 355 networks, including Facebook & Twitter, as well as through email. Even better, the client designs the share message so it keeps to corporate branding and themes. And best of all, each customer is trackable through the real-time analytics dashboard. You can watch them go through your promotion, share it with their friends and then track those friends’ as well. Learn who your true brand influencers are in just one campaign. See how it works here: http://dukky.com/what-is-dukky/

    Reply

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