Social Media, Is It Hurting or Helping the Network Marketing Industry?
At a recent network marketing convention a slue of top business leaders were on stage talking about social media marketing and the distractions it presents to their distributor base. Their audience demographic consists mostly of middle aged to retired individuals, many of whom have been with their company for several years with little to no results. Yet, they were doing very little to nothing to change the scope of their marketing efforts.
At this very same convention, the product store toted CDs and various promotional tools in bulk. Distributors flocked to the store, buying as many promotional products as they could squeeze into their suitcases, only to fly home and market to their friends and neighbors. It’s a scene that’s been repeated at every convention this company has hosted over the last ten years. Their sales have steadily declined, while many of their top leaders have gone running to other companies, companies with a very creator community distinct and different message – social media marketing understood here.
Talking to other network markers, I hear people asking the same question over and over again: Does social media really have that much of an impact on this industry? My answer to them is always a resounding yes!
Nielsen, a company that does nothing but focus on consumer buying habits and trends in over 100 countries, has recently stated that approximately 46% of online users rely on social media when making a purchasing decision. Indeed, how often do you see your friends and family posting questions about purchasing a certain product, or checking the feedback on a company they’re considering buying from or using a service of? According to Experian, a marketing and credit reporting company, 27% of total U.S. internet time is spent on social networking sites.
So what is the magic behind these virtual communities people can’t seem to break away from? Researchers at Harvard University did a number of experiments trying to answer this very question, eventually concluding that when a person shares information about themselves, the same section of the brain is being used that is associated with pleasure- the same pleasure we receive when eating a delicious food, receiving money, or even having sex. Yes, you read that right. Interacting through social media outlets and sharing our daily, mindless habits is equivalent to having sex… sort of.
The Disgruntled Company
Social media gives us a chance to share information about ourselves with others, and people love to talk about themselves. Which leaves us to wonder, why are so many network marketing companies so resistant to incorporating Social Media into their marketing strategies? It seems to be the perfect outlet for those wanting to share all the incredible successes they’re having with their business, service, or products, and with a large audience.
Well, to further understand this I went to my social media outlet and started asking this very question to the people in the industry working with these very same companies. One of the main things I heard back expressed was many of these companies lose quality control over the ‘pitch’ with social media – an understandable concern. Network Marketing is an industry under a microscope monitored by the FTC and, worse, friends and family. It’s an industry where people are quick to point out every minute mistake, hiccup, or discretion within the message. Especially when it comes to health and wellness. Sure, pharmaceutical companies sell drugs that do who knows what, on a daily basis and with very little accountability. Yet the health and wellness industry, especially when it comes to network marketing, is forced to walk a fine line. Company after company has been sued because an overly excited distributor promised their products could do something it couldn’t. So it only makes sense that a company would be weary of their distributors freely posting information on Facebook, Twitter, or Google sites.