Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Leveraging the mainstream & social media convergence

The success of the direct selling industry, most famous for companies with household names like Avon, Herbalife and Mary Kay, is based on the person-to-person experience that consumers have with consultants. In other words, it’s a social business. And the world of social media has presented new opportunities and ways for direct selling companies to connect with their consultants and consumers. I was able to see some of these applications first-hand at the Direct Selling Association’s Internet & Marketing Communications Seminar in Las Vegas last week. For example, with more than 50,000 Facebook fans and counting, jewelry company Lia Sophia is using its page to introduce people to new products.

I had the pleasure of attending and co-presenting at the meeting. The attendance has historically been very strong and this year, the turnout was double that of 2008.

Melissa Meinzer, managing editor at Military Spouse Magazine, and I discussed effective ways in which DSA's member companies can leverage social media to help with their media outreach. For example, I shared stories on how I’ve used LinkedIn to pitch reporters whom I may not have talked with or seen in years. Or how I use http://www.mediaontwitter.com/ to see which reporters are on Twitter. The site lists their beat, Twitter ID, job title and so on.

Other tips we shared: Take advantage of the media convergence. It allows greater visibility and reach, increases search engine optimization and has interactive components to help engage your audience. Look at social media as a supplement and not as a replacement… for now at least. And lastly, start today… literally. Share links to coverage via Facebook or LinkedIn. Embed videos of recent coverage (from news sites that allow you to do so) onto your own corporate Web site or blog.

A few years ago, who would have thought that a marketing conference would devote two full days to social media and Internet marketing? Times are indeed changing, and I’m glad I had the opportunity to learn about DSA member companies’ use of new media – and to share some of what we’re doing at PCG to leverage social media on behalf of our clients.

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