Social media selling

Did you see this article in the New York Times last week? The gist is that the Tupperware party is moving to Social Media. The bastion of MLM sales. The originator of the “burp and seal” container has decided to get into Facebook and Twitter. (OK, they were already there but now there’s going to be more there there).

The times they are a-changing.

The original idea of products like Tupperware and their spawn was to host a party in your home, ply your friends with some white wine and convince them to buy a couple of items. The more ambitious “consultants” built networks and actually made (and make) real money. These were social gatherings designed to co-opt our personal relationships for financial gain.

Yea, that’s a bit cynical but it really is at the core of why someone does this. I experienced this first hand when my wife was a Pampered Chef consultant. (Though I will say that if you are into cooking the Pampered Chef stuff is really good. We didn’t make much money off that plan but we have a lot of cool cookery items…)

We leverage our relationships for financial gain. Isn’t that what you are trying to do for your business or non-profit? Creating and leveraging a relationship with someone in the hopes that you will get them to give you money. A basic business transaction.

The problem is – you can only tap your friends so often. Keep selling and they begin to ignore you.

People are trolling Facebook or scanning Twitter because it is fun. It is a diversion that can border on an obsession. It is up to you to capture their attention and then hold it long enough to where you become part of their routine. That task has become even more difficult in our short attention span world.

This video does a pretty good job of showing the difference in sharing pre- and post-Facebook:

As you migrate your messaging and marketing efforts towards Social Media don’t lose sight of the benefits of old school relationship building. If you really want to build a relationship with your customers or donors give them something first and frequently – before you ask for the order.

Rememeber, you don’t have the advantage of plying them with white wine to get them to sign.

Your thoughts?

Steve Allan, Social Media Specialist



About Steve Allan

I am a Social Media specialist uniquely focused on the management, messaging and marketing of social media platforms for non-profits and small businesses.
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2 Responses to Social media selling

  1. Elias Shams says:

    It’s no brainer to see that social media is here to stay for good. Given vast variety of the existing channels to choose and stick with, it’s time for such a hot space to enter into a new category. There is a need for a portal to provide a quick and intelligent decision for both the consumer and the enterprise about their online connections.

    A Platform to Help us to Distinguish Our Quality vs. Quantity Friends, Fans, Followers, and Companies

    Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Youtube, Flickr and others have been doing a decent job of providing additional marketing exposure and even in some cases, additional revenue. However, as more and more social networking sites pop up, how do you manage your brand across all these channels? Maybe more importantly, which one of these sites should you select as the one that will help you best reach your target audience? The proliferation of the social media avenues is becoming overwhelming.

    This glut of information reminds me of the early 90’s when WWW was adopted broadly by the general public. Every company rushed to have a presence, to the point it became literally impossible to find the right information on the Web. That’s when a better generation of search engines – at first the Yahoo! and then Google – entered the market and helped us find the most relevant information by just typing simple keywords in their search box. If you had asked before Google launched, if there was a need for another search engine – most would have said no, we already have those….

    Then came Web 1.0 & 2.0 – Youtube, Flickr, myspace, Facebook, Twitter and countless others have turned everyday people into content producers, influencers and experts. We basically tripled down on the information overload How do you know which channels to select for deploying your social media strategy? How do you know which one is the right channel to let your fans and followers to find you, your products, and services? Most importantly, who is Joe Smith that is recommending that person, that company, that product?

    I hope my can accomplish such a mission. The site is not another social networking platform. Yet the portal to all your existing social media channels. The platform helps you, your fans, your potential clients to make an intelligent decision as to which company to connect to or follow via which social media channels and why? It’s free!

    CEO & Founder

  2. Olga says:

    Hi Steve,

    I totally agree with you. I have a couple friends who can’t seem to stop selling to me each time they see me, which eventually tarnishes the relationship. Indeed, there really is no going around the good old “give first” and “be of value to others”. If there is a hidden agenda behind the “value”, people will sense it sooner or later.

    You attract what you put out.

    I wonder how you deal with friends who try to sell to you?

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