The Direct Selling Association (DSA) had its very first Social Media Day, powered by Multibrain, on Friday, March 11. Hosted virtually, the event featured sessions by powerhouse featured speakers, engaging panels with top chief marketing officers, and networking time for participants.
Over 130 companies were represented at Social Media Day, from Mary Kay to Tastefully Simple. Top network marketing companies were ready and eager to refine their social strategies across multiple platforms for 2022.
Here are some notable highlights from the event:
Creators: Programming v. Commercials
The event kicked off with a warm welcome from Melissa Brunton, Senior Vice President at DSA. Scott Kramer, Social Media Thought Leader and Chief Brain at Multibrain, then kicked off Social Media Day with the big word for 2022: CREATORS.
While much of the conversation the past few years has been around “influencers,” Kramer challenged this idea by defining creators as, “people who are trying to create a living off of the content they are creating.” For network marketing companies, this means your field should become creators. Instead of simply reposting corporate content, the push for 2022 is that your representatives are empowered and provided with the tools to create authentic, original content.
“We are all much more than marketers,” said Kramer. “We're not just marketing our brand. We are actually networks now. So I want you to think of yourself almost like a television network. We are all networks.”
Kramer said that viewing ourselves as channels allows both corporate and the field to go forward with a strong vision for their programming: for all content to entertain, educate, or enlighten. The master takeaway: we shouldn't be creating ads all the time. Kramer suggests the 80/20 rule: 80 percent of content should be programming, and 20 percent should be commercial. Like the way we watch a TV show, the actual show is 22 minutes long, and the commercials take up the other eight minutes. Let your creativity flow and share that authentic content!
A Corporate Eye View: Being Social
The first panel session of the day featured top CMOs from three network marketing companies: Julie Cabinaw, Vice President of Marketing for Tastefully Simple; Jane Creed, President & Chief Executive Officer of WineShop At Home; and Elana Gold, Chief Marketing Officer of Rodan + Fields.
Kramer interviewed the entirely women-run panel of executives (so remarkable, especially during Women's History Month!) about their perspectives on social media at the corporate level.
Here are some highlights from the discussion:
Q: How are you specifically using social media at the corporate level and what are the priorities?
Gold: We have three objectives for how to use social media and social channels. Our corporate social priorities are really mainly about increasing brand awareness and building credibility around their brand with future consultants and their customers. There is a second priority, which is engaging and educating our current new audiences to help and activate around key business strategies. The third one is to showcase best practices as a company on how to best use a variety of different channels.
Creed: I think it really is a mixture and that really does have to start with the brand. I would say that from corporate, what we really are committed to is helping to start the conversation of creating and making that connection with the customer, making that connection with the consultant, and connecting them to the brand and to the culture. And then from those other areas, such as product opportunity, that kind of flows from there.
Q: How do you organize your mix of channels and how does your brand "voice" change from platform to platform?
Cabinaw: I would say Facebook has been most important for us, for who we've been historically. But Instagram and TikTok and Pinterest as well, I would say, are becoming more important for who we want to be. So as we increase our product appeal and approach to reach a younger demographic or a more diverse demographic, we really need to reach new social channels to reach those audiences.
Gold: We found Instagram Reels are our highest-performing media type. So we plan our content to be video first when possible. My goal is not to go too broad but to be experts in a few channels and do them really, really well and then serve up content in an impactful way—be it education, be it something about the product, be it something that's editorial.
Q: What content are you focusing on in your brand content? Editorial or commercial?
Gold: To be authentic, you have to do both right. People want to see beautiful products or lifestyles and things like that, and people also want to see more editorial content. But you have to balance it. If you swing one way or the other way, that could also be a mistake. What I do find, for example, is that lifestyle content performs better on Instagram and editorial content performs better on Facebook.
Cabinaw: Viral food trends are something that we watch very carefully and figure out where it makes sense to leverage those and align the story. So trend jacking is something that we think about quite a bit and as we get more mature with our content, you'll see us doing more of that.
All three women provided incredible insight into how social media is viewed and strategically thought about at the corporate level while also naming many transferable tips and processes for the field.
An Online Opportunity: How to Leverage Social Media in 2022
Frazer Brooks, Co-Founder of the Ninja Networker, tackled the next session on how social media has become the "fun" in the fundamentals of network marketing.
There's a new energy in social media: 25-35-year-olds are looking for ways to make money online. They're not looking for a hustle or side gig but an online opportunity, which Brooks says is the new way we should position the network marketing space.
This begins with refining lead generation methods to adapt to social media (i.e., no more leaflets or notes tucked under people's wipers).
Brooks outlines his system as follows:
- Connect First
- Continue the Relationship
When pursuing this system, though, it's important to avoid spamming and remember to be a human first, marketer second.
What is a surefire way to get new leads? Brooks says it's a method called the "Blitz Session." It's a 30-minute-long corporate or leader-led competitive activity that is split into three separate 10-minute sections:
- Comment: To get love, you need to give it first. Comment on other people's content by giving encouragement, providing value, or offering your opinion.
- FAM (Find, Add, Message): Provide a challenge to your field to find, add, and start a conversation with as many new people as they can.
- ATQ (Ask the Question): Take a risk and gauge their interest. Ask if they're interested in residual income, if they've ever heard of "x" company before, or if they'd like to learn how to make money online.
At the end of each 10-minute session, have your representatives share how many comments, conversations, and questions they were able to complete. It builds friendly competition while simultaneously increasing lead generation, almost effortlessly!
SPOTLIGHT: SOCIAL MEDIA SUPERSTARS!
Jacki Pitcow (Gold Leader, Tastefully Simple): Jacki is a Facebook and Instagram wiz, using a business page, client group, and Instagram Reels to secure nearly 30 percent of her sales through social media alone. Jacki's Top Strategy: “[It's] important for me to utilize my group on Facebook really because that is where I find people. My friends, my clients are more relaxed. We start chit-chatting; it's really not promotional at all. It's about everyday meals, what's going on at home, busy lifestyles, what can we do for you.”
Natasha Lightner (Executive Sales Leader, Avon): Using Instagram, Facebook, and TikTok, Natasha puts most of her focus on her Facebook and Instagram content. Specifically, Natasha has been exploring the spontaneity and authenticity of posting Instagram Reel video content. Natasha's Top Strategy: “I don’t really spend a lot of time showcasing product, but my product might be showcased when I do my posts in my Reels.”
Rashmi Malhotra (Senior Executive Ambassador, Boisset Collection): Rashmi estimates that 50 percent of her business comes from her efforts on social media, both with new customers and also with repeat business. Rashmi's Top Strategy: “One of the things that I've been doing is also taking what I'm posting from my business page and really just pushing it to my personal page, a different audience.”
The Digital YOU
What is the most misunderstood word of social media? SOCIAL. Chris Brogan, Chief of Staff for Appfire, shared his insight into how to maximize the “big opportunity” of social media in combination with direct selling.
His belief: You cannot jump into your marketplace (the way by which someone buys what you sell) without first putting energy into your content and community.
Content, Brogan says, is anything that we can describe as entertaining or informative without having to mention your product. So how do you ensure your content is up to par? Use content plans like local interests (geographically based), shared passions, introductions between members of your community, and success tips. What are the tools you should use to share these plans? Brogan is a strong advocate for using a newsletter in combination with a variety of social media platforms (Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram, namely).
Train, Train, Train: Instructional Tips for Educating the Field
Throughout sessions, a theme that was consistently brought up was the importance of providing your field with the tools they need to be successful network marketers. But how exactly do you achieve that? Ben Fendel, Instructional Design Field Learning & Development for Rodan + Fields, shared his thoughts with host Kramer.
Q: Over the last three years, how much more emphasis has been put on social media or the importance of social media training?
Fendel: I guess I would say it's tricky to provide any sort of fundamental training to consultants (or reps or distributors) because the platforms are constantly evolving, but the trends within each platform are constantly evolving, too. So what's relevant today may not be relevant tomorrow. And so I think that the training content has to constantly be evolving. But the fundamental concepts, the theories of social selling or social sharing, and a lot of what we heard earlier from field leaders are really important lessons to provide to our consultants.
Q: I have my field members that are really great at social, and they're advanced. I have my older field members who've been around long enough, set in their ways, and not really doing it. They're not really adapting to the changes. And then I have the new people who think they know it or have new people that want to learn it from scratch. So you have all these buckets of competence to confidence, how do you juggle that?
Fendel: There's no one way to do social media. Social media is a very personal type of thing. I think that there are good practices that you can provide to people at all levels of experience, both in direct sales and in social media.
Q: Can you talk about how important social media is in that first 30 or 90 days?
Fendel: At the beginning of the year, we went through a process of rethinking—transforming the way we onboard our new consultants. We call it our Fast Start Success Plan. We put them through a journey in the first 90 days. I believe it's Day Two or Three that we introduce them to R+F social. We do this by helping them create their business page, understand that social media is a huge part of running their businesses, and get onto the platform. Then we walk them through how to invite people to join their business page, follow their page, or start inviting people to their virtual business launch.
The "Queen of Facebook's" Top Tips for Success
Who better to hear from than the Queen of Facebook herself when talking about social strategy? Best-selling author and premier Facebook marketing expert Mari Smith weighed in on some of the biggest challenges, worst practices, and best practices for brands and reps in 2022.
Challenge for Brands:
- The field is the one representing your company on social media, which means there is little control from corporate over the message that is portrayed to the public.
Worst Practices for Brands:
- Offer no training
- Assume that if you offer training, reps will voluntarily partake
- Give reps too much scope to do whatever they want
Best Practices for Brands:
- Train, train, train your field
- Push video content creation
- Keep standards high, but recognize and celebrate top leaders
Challenge for Reps:
- Social media marketing today is extremely complicated and ever-changing
Worst Practices for Reps:
- Tag tons of people in posts
- Spam adding and DM-ing
- Posting 100% sales posts or posting too often
- Soliciting in others' groups
Best Practices for Reps:
- Have a strong social media plan
- Use and love what you're selling
- Define and commit consistently to your personal brand
- Engage genuinely
- Post quality over quantity
One day, six sessions, over 130 companies, and incredible, impactful conversations about the future of social media in the network marketing sphere. That's a wrap on Social Media Day 2022. We'll see you next year.