MLM’s Aggressively Enter the Social Media Space

Along with the ever rising number of social media tools, there seems to be an almost frantic rate of participation by MLM’s searching for the golden ticket to increase revenue. I can appreciate the desire to increase your reach and revenue but what has really got me perturbed is the onslaught of the people in MLM’s who are suddenly posturing themselves as an expert in the social media space as well, teaching their recruits the ways to fish for followers, or stalk and make nice with strangers on Facebook before luring them in to make the sale.

I’ll share this example. One of my personal favorite fitness guru’s, whom I’ve been a follower of long before social media entered the picture, is suddenly teaching her followers how to increase recruiting and revenue by sharing (cough..selling) the companies products via social media. This guru offers free and paid classes in how to set-up your Facebook page, how to Twitter without being pushy (in the beginning), and even techniques in creating videos to gain audience. All of this is great. Mentoring your team is wonderful. But, it made me stop and wonder why a fitness guru is suddenly branding themselves as a social media expert. If fitness is your core brand, why would you feel the need to stray from message and confuse your audience. Isn’t your product enticing enough? If it’s not, social media isn’t going to make it so. Or is your REAL product recruitment?

And, doesn’t it make you a little suspicious of the value of the product offering if it’s constantly being shoved in your face?

Recently this particular “guru” was touting a tool called Tweetadder, designed to Find and Engage in Like-Minded Twitter Followers & Automate Twitter Posts.  I decided to test it out. It worked exactly like it said would. I was able to consistently add new followers automatically, day and night, while I was sleeping or just AFK.  However, the ultimate result was that I had a mess on my hands in short order. The new accounts I was following weren’t always sending the kinds of messages I was interested in reading, and they were cluttering my view of the key contacts I wanted to engage with. I was getting those spamming DM’s to view this or that or connect on FB.

It was simple enough to fix that situation. I simply went back through HUNDREDS of following records and added the key contacts to a list I could monitor. Then I used my Tweetdeck to set up a Key Contacts column, thus ensuring I didn’t miss something important.

My point though, is that the fitness guru neglected to mention to her followers that it’s not all about amassing followers and pushing your message and crossing your fingers that someone leaps at your offer. Maybe the odds could support that strategy, but to what end? But, ultimately, social media was designed to allow us to take part in multi-directional conversations in or around the content on the Web. How can you engage in conversations, well, effective conversations with thousands of users? In my opinion, you can’t. The best you can hope for is “spray and pray”. Which to me is not an effective marketing strategy. I think this type of marketing tactic is going to be a leading factor in the impending social fatigue we’re likely to see.

 

 

Social Media to Grow Sales and Revenue

The other day, I ran across a great article on Mashable. It laid out the 5 ways the Fortune 500 use social media: Branding, eCommerce, Research, Customer Retention, and Lead Generation. It gave the reader some fabulous examples in each of these areas.

Author Jamie Turner said: These five social approaches, though different in many respects, all have one thing in common: Each of the Fortune 500 use them to generate a profit. After all, they’re not using social media just to be social. They’re using it to make money.

Sure, we’re all trying to make a living. And there is no doubt that social media has proved to be an invaluable tool in the the marketer’s toolbox. To this I say… “Yay”. But, what is not being discussed as loudly is what it takes to garner great results with social.

A while back,  I met with a company that  asked me to give a presentation on a plan for launching a new product in a 6-8 week time frame. I presented an integrated marketing approach that included traditional media as well as a microsite, sales sheet, internal awareness, and trade show exposure, with an extended campaign over the next 6-8 months that would incorporate a social media component. They seemed quite disappointed that I had not positioned a more aggressive social media approach right out of the gate and asked for justification.

The answer was easy. They didn’t have an audience in that space. Their Facebook FanPage had <700 followers, and was nothing more than a profile with no posts, no Twitter account, no Digg account, and their YouTube channel only had 35 subscribers. Quite simply, no audience to impact.

Jaime reminds readers that “A good rule to remember is that it costs three to five times as much to acquire a new customer as it does to keep an existing one.” Social media doesn’t come without a price tag. It can take 4-6 months of concentrated effort to build up enough of a following to actually see results when you are ready to launch your product/idea/service.

When laying out your social media strategies you need to do some groundwork if you want to get results. In a previous post, I said jump in. But jumping in with a key product launch, without laying the foundation for success, could lead to more disappointment than success and taint the enthusiasm for social media tools.