How to Stand Out on Social Media as a Direct Selling or Franchise Business
The Ultimate Post-Pandemic stand out on Social Guide for Direct Selling and franchise businesses
There’s no doubt that social distancing may have pulled us apart in person, but it’s certainly brought us closer together online.
Use of social media has risen by 30% in Australia, and 1 out of 2 Aussies have made an online purchase in the last year, according to L&A social report 2020.
That means good things and hard things for businesses.
⭐️ Good that there’s new potential markets, new potential client offerings and a chance at a broader audience.
😣 There’s also the hard stuff –trying to stand out in such a crowded market. It’s hard to know what’s the best approach (it’s not like there’s too little info, there’s so much so what’s the best strategy for you?) and of course the old issue of time (we don’t have a lot of it, and now we need more of it to focus on doing this well).
🙋🏽♀️ And what if you’re a franchisee, network marketer or distributed seller of a larger brand, how do you use social media to attract a greater audience, and create greater engagement out of your existing clients; all while honouring the mothership brand you service?
Ask yourself these 3 Questions…
If that’s you, I want to ask you 3 questions to help you find the confidence and capability to use digital tools to grow your business.
Question 1: Are you using the same old platform in the same old way expecting the same old results?
There is a vast majority of direct selling product and service businesses that use Facebook and Instagram as their social media platform of choice. Let’s just look at Facebook. Is it the right platform for you?
There are a number of challenges for smaller businesses using Facebook pages:
- Facebook is an incredibly saturated platform, with over a quarter million of the WORLD’s population on there. With that many people using it, then yes it’s hard to stand out.
- It’s a pay-to-play environment so you will likely need some advertising intelligence for your efforts to receive any returns (and even then, you need a strategy)
- It’s very likely that your competitors, other representatives like you, are vying for the same audience using Facebook, and its becoming increasingly difficulty to get cut through. Are your audience even actively engaged on Facebook anymore? Go back to your ideal audience and review who they are, and what digital channels they’re using to make sure you’re using the right space.
If you’re still here, and you’re convinced that your audience is on Facebook, what can you try?
Fresh Ideas for a Familiar Platform
Here are some ideas to try a fresh approach in a familiar environment:
- Facebook Groups for a thriving community – Now this isn’t a new idea. 620 million groups already exist. The value in this idea is that Groups allow you a way to organically reach a group of people that actually want what you do. As you regularly nurture your community to engage with you and connect with each other, you get the benefit of LISTENING, becoming the GO-TO Expert and it allows you to identify warm leads to turn into prospects, and then hopefully more sales. Here are a few tips on making those Groups work.
- Using Facebook Lives like a TV broadcast – What if you thought of Facebook Lives like a TV channel? For example, last year I set up a regular Facebook Live each week called Tune in Tuesday. So at 11.45am on a Tuesday I would go live with an interview or informative video broadcast educating small businesses on how to tune up their business. This means you can create a Facebook Event for the time and date, and use your emails and other social media to promote that it’s coming up. And then once it’s over you have that piece of content to re-share on youtube or other channels. Even better if you interview people then you can get to amplify your impact out through a broader network (just jump on Zoom to do your interview and click Facebook Live straight from Zoom) and be sure to cross promote.
- Facebook advertising for the next step – It’s very likely your audience is on Facebook, and Facebook knows everything about everyone, so they’re able to reach your ideal audience. The question is WHAT are you advertising? Do you have a plan? You’re not using an FB ad to sell your product. NO. You’re using the ad to invite them to take the next step. So, if they don’t know that YOU are the next step, then could you tantalise your ideal audience with something they’ll find useful right now – like a recipe card for winter soups or a top 3 tips guide on how to spring clean your pantry or a how to reseal your concrete patio guide.
What could you try to freshen up your Facebook? Looking for more ideas? Then, read on.
Question 2: Are you standing out on social, or are you lost in the crowded cacophony of competing chatter?
I’ve worked with thousands of small businesses in the last few years and even before the pandemic this was the complaint. I want to get known, I want to grow but I don’t know how. I’m lost.
Here are my suggestions for standing out in the COVID world and beyond. Ready, ask yourself:
Do I CONTRAST my competitors?
If I walk past a row of cafes and they all look the same, then none of them stand out. It’s the differences that attract attention. Same goes online. You and your competitors, even other distributors of the same brand, may all have an Instagram account, but where are the differences?
The things that make you different to everyone else are the gems that make you memorable and distinctive.
Or as Big Bird once said, “What makes us different is what makes us special.”
How do you work out how you contrast?
- First look inwards, what is unique about you? Do you understand the brand you represent? Do you know it’s story? How have you created your own story in representing the brand? How do you express that in your local area? How does your unique experience and skills add value to that brand story?
- Next look at your competitors, how are you different to your competitors? Can you write out 3-5 key aspects of differentiation? It’s not just price, YOU might be the difference. Your experience, unique story, your expertise, your service. Once you’ve set out those points, what’s the evidence that proves that difference? Then make sure you talk about that regularly in your socials and even on your website.
- Then look outwards and apply the audience filter. Not every customer is the perfect match for every brand and, likewise, you’re not going to be the perfect cup of coffee for every person out there. That’s why this third step is focussing on the people who you will serve in the online landscape, and then how to cater to them.
Can I demonstrate my CREDIBILITY?
When face to face interactions have (in some cases) been entirely replaced by online, your customers will be discerning your credibility through what they find using digital channels. They’ll be asking – Do I trust this person or business?Would I buy from here? Would I accept this party invitation?
What will they find when they look for your online? What will your digital first impression be?
I believe there is a simple formula for establishing authority:
Authority = Proof x Time
It’s showing the proof that you are who, and what, you say you are, and then how you demonstrate that over time. And yet what creates proof?
In this age of online influence, your proof is in your:
- Profile – your website and your social media profiles. (Is it current, compelling & clear?)
- Content – what you create and share. (does it help your audience to like, know and trust you?)
- Recommendations – what others say about you. (These third party recommendations are a powerful proof point. Have you got a system for capturing testimonials?)
So to expand on the formula it would be:
Authority = (Profile + Content + Recommendations) x Time
How does your authority rate? Do you stand up to the credibility test? What’s the first thing you can work on?
Am I cultivating Connections?
If a tree fell in a forest and no-one heard it, did it really happen? Yes and no, right? Same goes for your socials. If you create great content and never interact with anyone will anyone really know about you? Yes, and no.
Here are some ideas to try.
- First you need to seek out your ideal audience. You need to go out and find those people who are more likely to be drawn to your product and/or services. You might write a list of potential clients and approach them, and then also look for industry peers, Industry bodies and local, national and global influencers in your industry. You’ll see that they’re not all clients – some of them are influencers in your industry or people who are already connected, like media, suppliers or industry partners. The intent is that you start broadly connecting with people who are interested in a similar niche or industry as you are, which allows for a mutual exchange of content and contribution, so you can gather and grow more of your ideal audience.
- Next interact with them. Now here lies the gold, my friend. You want to know one of the biggest secrets? It’s this: the stand out leaders and brands all have a strategy of two-way engagement. You might try interactive content, asking questions on your posts, replying to comments and a strategy to find and comment on other people’s content.
- Connect into Live and back to virtual. This works really well for party plans or network marketing. Promote the live event through socials and online channels, then once you have the live event find loads of ways to capture and tell that story, then capture more people on your socials to weave back into future live events… and the perpetual cycle goes on.
Over the years Kayla Itsines, global fitness guru has done this last point well when she has gone on tour and hosted live events. She’d promote the live event on social media to her huge global audience, and also through targeted social advertising. Then when she held the live group exercise sessions, thousands of her #BBG crew would turn out in their active wear. These events gave her fans, plus their friends, a taste of her live program and, most importantly, it would be a chance to get to know her in real life. They’d smile, they’d sweat, and they’d snap their selfies with her at the end in a sweet sweaty love fest. These live events were then all shared on socials with friends of friends, and more people would come to the next live events.
Are you intentionally cultivating connections to grow your audience, and your business?
Question 3. Do you have a plan… and another C word.
There’s so much talk of overnight success and instant fame in the social world that at times we can think if we throw ourselves in the pool and swim furiously to the end that’s our online success done.
And yet the reality is, when you read the stories of well-known online personalities, they will say the secret to their success wasn’t a snazzy one-off strategy, it comes down to this one ordinary word…
Consistently showing up on social platforms.
Consistency with their message.
Consistency with their interactions with others.
So how can you be consistent? Have a plan.
We all know – what gets scheduled, gets done. So, when you schedule in a couple of hours per week to plan, write and schedule, you’ll find the work gets done.
And having a plan – like mapping out the calendar year into key themes will make ALL the difference in creating consistency. This will help plan a pathway to start creating creative and fresh engagement strategies, with the added benefit of planning out yours messages for your audience throughout the year. Click here if you’d like my Yearly Planner Template.
What could stop You?
What could cause you to sell out and say see you later?
I known I’m often plagued with the idea of “What will people think?”
This is the number one roadblock to creating a stand out brand, do you ever think this way?
Seth Godin says, “The best the timid can hope for is to be unnoticed. Criticism comes to those who stand out.”
So how can we overcome it? Action. Just keep swimming.
Push out the posts, take a few deep breathes and take on a mindset of service. Some will like it, some won’t. Remember why you started this in the first place. Put that passion into action and keep going for those goals.
Here’s to creating #thestandouteffect on social this year.
ABOUT KIRRYN ZERNA
Widely recognised as an expert in social media, branding and communications specialist, Kirryn has worked for over 15 years with corporate and public sector clients, and thousands of entrepreneurs and small business owners. She LOVES to help them become Stand Out brands in their industry, and beyond, using the VIP brand methodology (which is the method behind the magic of standing out).
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