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By  John Fong

From Jen: Since I’ve stepped into my corporate role as Senior Vice President of Marketing & Communications at SwissJust North America, my business partner (and husband!) John Fong has stepped out from behind the curtain, managing the consulting business we used to run together. He focuses primarily on lead generation for direct selling companies, and does an amazing job for his clients, helping them create a steady flow of new leads using Facebook Ads. John generates more leads for direct selling companies than anyone else in the industry today. In today’s post, he shares some tips on creating an effective lead generation campaign. I have personally seen him generate 1,000 leads or more per month for his clients. Here are some of the techniques he uses with amazing results.

Facebook Ads are an incredibly effective way to generate leads immediately for your direct sales company. If you’re interested in creating a Facebook Ad lead generation campaign for your company, here are some quick tips you can start using today:

  1. Create ads that have photos of real people.
  2. Use language that is clear and concise about the product and the opportunity.
  3. Include your current consultants in your target audience and tell them to engage/share the ads when they see them with their network/friends/family to help increase the reach of your ads.
  4. Make sure you use News Feed ads.
  5. Set the daily budget at a minimum of $50.00/daily to maximize your reach.

What to do next?

  • Step 1 – Read or re-read this blog post from my lovely wife Jennifer Fong to have a clear idea on how to establish your FB lead generation program –
  • Step 2 – You must set up Google Analytics to track how well the ads are doing and what kind of conversion your ads are generating, or you will not be able to make adjustments to increase leads.
  • Step 3 – Now create a group of new ads incorporating the tips from above and define the target audience you want to reach.
  • Step 4 – Once you find a few ads that are generating the best leads, keep creating new ads similar to them and continue to make adjustments that resonate with your target audience. Now, your goal is to create as many ads with high conversion rates as possible.
  • Step 5 – Once you have ads that are performing well, start analyzing and tracking the time of day and days that most leads are generated.
  • Step  6 –  Once you have a consistent level of leads at a certain ad spend budget, you can now consider gradually increasing the budget to maximize as many leads as possible on those best time of day and days of the week. Do not rush this process. Do not just simply increase your budget and expect that the leads will increase. It does not work like that, most of the time you will get a similar number of leads and waste the increased budget.
  • Step  7 – Only increase your budget if your leads increase. That means you have to analyze your data very carefully as you incrementally increase your ad spend. Facebook Ad lead generation is more art than science. It does not follow the concept of cause and effect. Just because you spend more money and have more people seeing your ads, it does not necessarily mean they will convert.
  • Step 8 – At this point, if you continue with this process, gradually increasing your budget as leads increase, and are willing to increase your ad spend accordingly, you can reach your goal of 1000 leads per month.

Allow anywhere from several weeks to a couple of months for your lead generation to mature. Once you’ve built momentum, continue to analyze your data and increase your ad spend strategically to maximize leads. The key is to track the data, make adjustments to maximize your ad spend to increase leads and to build momentum.

One last note, start your lead generation program now, because it will take a couple of months to establish! You want to have a lead generation program in place once the holiday selling season is over. This way, you can offset the lower sales volume that comes after the holidays with increased leads and can also reach those individuals with New Year’s resolutions to start a business, make a life change, and/or who are looking to pay off holiday debt.

Are you using Facebook ads? How many leads are you generating per month? Please share your tips in the comments!

John Fong is a lead generation specialist who creates Facebook Ad lead generation campaigns for direct selling companies. He also handles the day-to-day community management and content for the Direct Selling Education Foundation and other direct sales company clients. For more information, or to contact him about services for your direct selling company, click here.

Alan Luce

Direct sellers across the globe are facing one of the most rapidly changing selling and recruiting environments in the last hundred years.  We see evidence of it everywhere.  Tried and true recruiting promotions no longer produce the expected results. Compensation plans and money prizes do not seem to drive the business as well as they used to.   Few, if any, have a handle on exactly what is going on.  The changes do not seem to flow from product innovations, new laws or regulations or political upheaval. Rather, the challenges facing the industry seem to flow out of a new set of expectations and preferences among potential customers of direct selling products and prospects for direct selling business opportunities.  I am talking about fundamental societal changes that are impacting the way direct sellers do business.

I am confident that neither I nor anyone else has a complete handle on the full scope and arc of these changes, but we have seen and experienced enough in the last 18 months to understand that direct sellers are not going to persuade Generation X and Y customers and prospects to do things the way we want them to do things. No, we direct sellers are going to have to change our practices to be more in line with their wants and expectations.

The most surprising aspect of these changes may be how quickly the attitudes we are seeing in the 20 to 40 year old customer and recruiting prospects in the US and Western Europe are becoming the norm for large segments of the population in nearly every market across the globe.   We can all agree that this outcome is probably a result of the global transparency fueled by the internet and social media communications.  What has caught most of us flat footed is how quickly these new generational “attitude norms” have spread.

Here is a short list of some of these new “attitude norms” that impact the direct selling business model:

1.         If your company does not have a transparent and positive image on the web and in the social media world of FaceBook,  Twitter and other social media venues, you will not be successful at selling products and recruiting sales people.

The company on-line image, message and reputation must be clearly established, supported and endorsed by customers, existing sales force members and independent third parties if you want to compete for customers and sales people.  Our 20 to 40 year olds check out everything on line before they commit to buy or join.  Top company executives need to check out their company’s on line information and image.  If you find it less than fully transparent, easily located, navigated and understood along with positive endorsements, so will your prospects.   You need to change that quickly.

2.         Today’s recruit prospects want the company to “show me some ways to be successful but don’t try to limit the way I do things.”  Any direct seller today has access to “sales training” and motivational materials readily available from a variety of direct selling industry experts on line.  No longer is the company their sole source of training and “how to” business advice.  This is why we see folks join network marketing companies and begin to hold parties, party planners recruiting wholesale buyers and every type of direct seller regardless of their company’s avowed method of doing business selling on line rather than face to face.

To cope with this “don’t restrict the way I sell” attitude company trainers, training programs, software systems, compensation programs and incentive models must be designed to support, reward and motivate a wide variety of selling methods.  Most existing technology support systems today are not able to provide such flexible support, making companies prisoners of their existing technology.

3.         Completely redesign the way you communicate with the public and your sales force and all of your training programs and materials.  For today’s customers and recruit prospects your company messages and training information needs to be:

- Compellingly visual.

-Succinct and to the point.

- Readily accessible at all times.

- Available in easily accessed archives for future review.

-Delivered via a variety of on-line mediums including proper use of social media forums.

If your communications and training strategy and materials are not aligned with these points your customers and potential recruits will simply not pay attention to you.

4.         Pay attention to how your newest sales folks are doing the business.  It is usually the case that our sale forces find ways to work new technologies and social changes into their businesses before their companies do.  In times of change it is very important that the company be open to input from new sellers as to how they want to do the business.  Companies most often look to the opinions and input from their top leaders when trying to figure out what is going on.  In my experience top sales leaders are among the most conservative folks in your organization and are frequently deeply opposed to needed changes.

It is critically important that the company create ways to access unfiltered input from their newest sales folks.  After all, our top leaders often represent yesterday’s best practices.  It is the new folks that will be your leaders of the future.   If you do not currently have effective ways of learning what your new folks are doing and what they want from the company you will need to create them.

None of these suggested actions will solve basic problems of the business. However,  all of them will help open up the process and enable the management team to begin to see what works and what doesn’t when it comes to meeting the desires and expectations of today’s customer and recruit prospects for whom the internet and social media are not tools but rather a way of life!

By the way; as you learn the answers let the rest of us know because we are searching for them too.

Our experience with a wide variety of US and international clients in 2011 has proven conclusively that the convergence of direct selling sales methodologies is continuing at a rapid pace.   It is almost impossible today to find a “pure” MLM marketing program or a pure one-on-one or a pure party plan.  Almost all companies today find, sometimes to their surprise, that their enterprising sales people are using all of the traditional sales approaches depending on who they are talking to and in what setting.  Then to top it off, they are selling on line also, not just for re-orders on their replicated websites, but for first customer contacts resulting from Facebook, Twitter and Linked in associations.

There is no reason to believe that this trend will not continue and even strengthen in the coming year.  As usual the independent sales force is often out in front of their companies when it comes to employing technology in innovative ways and exploring their own way of doing things. Coping with these trends requires all companies to be ever more nimble when it comes to adapting to the realities of the marketplace. For 2012, change and adaptation move from the periodic and unusual to simply the normal way of doing business.  Be ready for it!

image credit Creativity103

W. Alan Luce, President, Luce and Associates, LLC, Member DSA Hall of Fame

Few people in the direct sales industry can match the experience, expertise and successes of Alan Luce. With over 25 years in senior management, guiding start-ups and established companies alike, Alan has met virtually every challenge a direct sales executive can face.  Learn more about how Alan can help your company at


Lots of direct sales companies have Twitter accounts today. The problem is, few companies seem to know what to do with them. Without a clear understanding of WHY the company has the account (besides, everyone else has one so we should too) companies are broadcasting a stream of ads, without anything to show for it.

If your company is trying to figure out the best way to use Twitter, the first thing you have to ask is “Who do we want to talk to?” And in order to answer that question, you need to understand how Twitter fits into your larger marketing plan, of which social media is a part. Are you trying to find new recruits? Increase brand recognition? Increase sales? Each of these marketing goals may have a different audience. So first figure out who you want to talk to, and then you can figure out if that audience is on Twitter.

If your goal is to reach a consumer audience, frequent tweets about the features and benefits of your product line is the wrong way to go. First, no one on Twitter likes a steady stream of ads, and they’ll simply ignore you. But also, a consumer audience is often easier to find on tools such as Facebook.

Does that mean you should abandon Twitter? No. But it does mean you need a different strategy.

Instead of engaging consumers directly on Twitter, you may be better off engaging the folks that INFLUENCE your consumers. This is often popular bloggers. They often do spend time on Twitter. However a steady stream of ads won’t work with them either. Instead, you need to talk to them. Find out what’s important to them. Retweet their content, and share content they’ll find valuable. You have to actually spend time on Twitter talking to people if you want it to work for you. Simply sending out a tweet a day with information about your product or opportunity won’t do a thing for you. It takes community management to be successful.

Twitter, along with other social networks, has particular types of users. Depending on your goals, you have to engage in a certain way. It takes a skilled community manager with the time to invest in building relationships for your brand, if you want your social networking engagement to bring measurable results for your brand.

Does your company use Twitter? How’s it working for you? Who are you trying to reach? Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at, and her Facebook Page at

This post was originally published on Jennifer Fong’s Direct Sales and Social Media blog at

Last night I signed up for NetFlix.  Now I realize that I am probably the last living American to do so.  But I’ve been a Blockbuster Video loyalist for decades, and wasn’t in any hurry to change that status.  But the Netflix business model finally hooked me, when I discovered we could stream videos on demand to our TV through our Wii, and have 1 DVD at a time, all for a monthly fee that was less than 2 videos a month at Blockbuster.

And it really got me to thinking about business models, and how getting too comfortable with ours can cause us to lose touch with what appeals to even our most loyal customers.  You see, Blockbuster was on top for a really long time.  And holding that percentage of the market share, in my opinion, made them short-sighted.  They didn’t even consider the competition anymore.

Yet the competition was innovating.  It started through a mail order service…where DVDs from a list you create online would be shipped to you to keep as long as you like. Then, when you’re done, you ship it back (postage free) and get another DVD on your list.  For some people this was super convenient.  Yet for people like me, their loyalists, we wanted to choose the movie we were in the mood for the night we wanted to watch it.  The NetFlix model didn’t meet that need, and so we stayed with Blockbuster.

The next thing I was aware of was the on-demand model.  We’re not big TV watchers in my house (heck, I’ve still got a VCR!), so we didn’t upgrade to a cable box until we were forced to by our cable company.  At that point we got a whole collection of on-demand programming that we could access for a fee similar to what we would pay at Blockbuster (as well as a collection of free children’s programming).  Without leaving our house.  You couldn’t keep your movie for a week (my kids like to watch things multiple times), but it was sure convenient to not have to leave the house on rainy nights.  We took advantage of some programming through the cable company. Yet we still remained loyal to Blockbuster too, signing up for the loyalty program, etc.

But then Blockbuster began to betray our trust.  They switched from 7 day rentals to 5 day rentals, and didn’t tell anyone (well I assume it was on our paper receipt, but they failed to mention it.)  We racked up late fees as a result (didn’t Blockbuster a while back do away with late fees?  Yeah, not anymore.  We didn’t know that either.)  The loyalists that they should have been rewarding and courting were experiencing betrayal after betrayal.  We didn’t matter to them!

Then I saw a blog post about how we could have 1 DVD at a time in the mail, plus on demand programming to our TV, for under $10 a month through NetFlix. I fiddled a bit and saw how easy it would be to set up. It was a no-brainer.

By the way, have YOU seen any online social efforts to reach me through Blockbuster, either through sponsored blog posts, Twitter, etc.?  To retain my business?  I certainly haven’t. Other than the regular email I get trying to sell me stuff, I never hear from them at all.

And so Blockbuster has lost another loyal customer.  Because they weren’t listening.  And they weren’t paying attention to my needs.

As direct sellers, we have to be very careful that we don’t make the same mistake.  We are VERY fond of our business model, and very slow to change.  And that’s because it works.  But if we don’t continue to adapt to modern technology, and the way our customers want to shop, we could easily go the way of Blockbuster.  It’s hard to believe, but in this day and age there are still direct selling companies that don’t provide their reps with personal websites for shopping.  There are still companies that aren’t reaching out to customers through the social web.  And yet consumers are telling us, loudly, that they EXPECT to be able to interact with their brands online.

Look at Stella and Dot as an example.  How did this direct sales jewelry company get so big so fast? By taking advantage of the social web, and encouraging its reps to do the same.  They haven’t abandoned direct selling principles.  But they’re smart enough to add online technology to the mix, in order to provide their customers with the shopping experience that fits into their lives.  And as a result, they are on par with the Silpadas and Cookie Lees of the world, who have been around a LOT longer.

Customers aren’t going to bend to your traditions.  At least not very long.  They expect you to adapt to them.  Are you prepared to do so?

Your thoughts?

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at, and her Facebook Page at

Is your company engaging successfully through social media? Are people responding to your posts on your Facebook Page? Do people comment on your blog posts? When someone mentions your company online, are you aware of it, and respond when necessary?

While a few companies might say “Yes” in our industry, unfortunately the vast majority will probably say “No,” or “I don’t know.”

Why is that? After all, social media has been around for years now. Many best practices have been defined, and consistently applying these techniques has been proven to work.

So what’s the problem?

For many of our companies, resourcing is the issue. We haven’t put someone (or a department) in place to handle online marketing for the company. For others, it’s a desire to tightly control what’s being said about the brand online, which leads us to one-way conversations without any opportunity for people to respond. And yes, there are still companies that just don’t know what to do. They don’t have the expertise internally, and they haven’t brought in a direct sales and social media expert from the industry to educate the executive team and put a comprehensive strategy in place.

The salesforce is going to lose patience with us soon. Because there are direct sales companies that get it. Companies that provide opportunities for the salesforce to develop business online, and who get people excited about the company online through corporate efforts. Those people in the salesforce who understand business will realize where the greatest opportunities lie. It’s a hard truth, but a truth nonetheless.

Let’s make this the year where we do the work that’s needed to develop engaging online presences for direct selling companies. It took a while for us to all get replicated websites, but we eventually understood the need and now it’s SOP. It’s time for the same thing to happen with social media. This is not going away. It’s only going to become more prevalent and necessary.

If your company needs help, contact me. I’ve helped many of the companies in our industry put into place comprehensive social media strategy. But don’t pull the wool over your eyes any longer. It’s going to be damaging to your business to ignore this, or do this poorly, much longer.

Your thoughts?

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at, and her Facebook Page at

One of the keys to a successful social media marketing effort is good content.  Companies have to put out great content, and so does the salesforce.  The problem is, not everyone is a writer.  And so what you wind up with are a vast range of posts, some of which represent your company well, and some that don’t.

As a company, how do you address this?  Do you outright ban consultants from producing their own content?  Or do you take the other approach, and leave it completely up to the field?  Is there middle ground?

Some vendors have been working on solutions for our industry.  I’ve seen solutions where companies can go so far as to write individual status updates that they can push out to a distributor’s Facebook Page or Twitter account.  The problem with this approach is that everyone in your company has the same status updates, which flies in the face of the “social” aspect of social media.  Nothing personal about a “form letter” update.

I think there are a couple of things that companies can do to tackle the content issue:

  1. Produce sharable content – When your company puts out blog posts, status updates, videos, and other types of content, think about the types of content that would be easy and effective for your salesforce to pass along.  Don’t just send out ads.  Produce value-driven pieces that will be valued by the friends of your salesforce, and then teach your salesforce how to share them through their own social networks.
  2. Provide a content “bank” – While “word for word” canned status updates aren’t terribly effective, it can be helpful to give your salesforce a group of ideas they can choose from when writing status updates and blog posts.  These can be tied to monthly promotions and incentives, new product launches, holidays, and more.  The goal is to provide more than ads, but rather useful tips and advice that will provide value.

Since social media is so content-driven, it’s important for direct sales companies to tackle this issue early on. Then your entire salesforce has the potential to put out content that represents the company as a whole well.

How does your company approach the content issue?  What advice would you give?  Would love to read your thoughts in the comments below.

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at, and her Facebook Page at

Recently I photographed an event for a client that totally “gets it” when it comes to social media. They had a home office employee dedicated to posting pictures immediately after I took them. At first I thought this was going to be a huge pain in my backside. But it didn’t take long for me to get caught up in the excitement. Within minutes, the sales consultants at this event were checking Facebook and tagging themselves in the photos. They would then update their status with something exciting that was happening at the meeting. There was a buzz all during the conference among the consultants but more important was the affect it was having all over the country. Hundreds and eventually thousands of friends had become fans of this company. I was so intrigued by what was happening that I asked several people how they were liking it. They shared that posting all these pictures during the conference opened up many conversations about the product and career opportunity that probably would have never happened.

Mark Taulbee is a professional event photographer and commercial product photographer with over 25 years experience in the direct selling industry. Learn more about Mark and how he can help your company with photography at To view some of his work visit and

This week I wrote a post about a bad experience with Domino’s Pizza, and how I felt that they ignored me on Twitter.  My thought is that if you’re going to have a Twitter account, you need to be prepared to service customers there, even if it’s simply to direct people to the appropriate customer service channel.

And I had someone on Twitter question whether I was being fair to Domino’s.  After all, the national brand is represented by independent franchisees.  Shouldn’t we hold the individual franchise responsible for a customer service failure, instead of the whole brand?

And as nice as that would be in a perfect world, I think it’s unrealistic.  Fair or not, consumers do hold national brands accountable for the service they experience from franchisees.  And that affects our direct sales model too.  If a customer or prospect has a bad experience with an individual consultant, they are most likely going to hold your brand responsible for that experience.  They may tell others how terrible your brand is as a result of that experience.  And more and more, they’re going to do that on social networks.

And as a result, social networks hold both the potential for disaster, as well as the potential to identify issues and resolve them before negative word of mouth takes off.  Every company needs to take a long, hard look at their monitoring and customer service functions as they relate to social media.  This is where our customers and prospects will increasingly congregate.  And our response as brands to issues will have a tremendous impact on the public perception of our brand.

Maybe it wasn’t fair for me to expect the corporate Twitter account for Domino’s Pizza to resolve my issue.  (And incidentally, as a result of my post they did open a customer service ticket to resolve my issue.)  It doesn’t change the fact that I DID expect it, and was disappointed when they didn’t come through.  Maybe it’s not fair for a customer to complain about your brand online because of a negative experience with a consultant who was already on the way out.  It doesn’t change the fact that they will complain.

The only thing you can control as a brand is your response.  Begin planning now.  You NEED a monitoring solution in place, you NEED a support path in place to direct issues appropriately, and your customer service department NEEDS to be trained to support web issues.

We can talk about what’s fair until the cows come home.  It doesn’t change what IS.

Are you ready?

image credit: sdminor81

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at, and her Facebook Page at

A couple of weeks ago my family ordered pizza from Domino’s.  Since they’ve improved their recipe, we order pretty regularly.  We enjoy things like the ability to order and pay online, track the delivery online, and the fact that the pizza normally arrives in under 30 minutes.

However things were not so happy the last time we ordered.  Wanting to beat the dinner rush, we ordered about a quarter to five.  That meant that our three children would eat at their normal time, and our evening could go on as usual.  We paid online, used the online delivery tracker, same as always, and our pizza was shown as out for delivery in the normal amount of time.

And that’s when things went wrong.

It was nearly an hour and a half, and 3 phone calls later, that our pizza finally arrived.  Cold.  When I called, I got different stories about why my pizza had not yet arrived.  Finally, on the 3rd call, I asked what they were going to do to make this right.  My kids were hungry!  And they offered me free cheesy sticks.  On my NEXT order.  FAIL.

20 minutes after that call when my cold pizza arrived, the driver didn’t even apologize.  Worst. Customer. Service. Ever.

In frustration, I tweeted to Domino’s from my husband’s Twitter account.  I expected at least an apology.


Thinking that maybe they decided that my husband’s account wasn’t “influential” enough for their notice, I tweeted from my account the next day.

Still nothing.

And that leads me to the moral of this story.  I have still not ordered again from Domino’s, and am not sure I will.  I’m also sharing this unfortunate experience with you, which may cross other people’s minds when they make pizza purchasing decisions.  There are certainly other options when it comes to pizza.

But what truly baffles me is WHY Domino’s has a Twitter account if they don’t plan to use it to respond to customer concerns?  If your company has a Twitter account, please understand that customers (especially the unhappy ones) will EXPECT to be able to reach you on it.  Is your customer service department trained in Twitter, and prepared to address issues that are shared?  You do realize this is public, right?  That other people can see when issues go unresolved? And people tend to get louder when you ignore them.

Burying your head in the sand or pretending that unhappy customers don’t exist won’t make them go away.  It will just make them more upset.  And then they may take issues that could have been resolved with a simple “we’re sorry,” and turn them into PR nightmares.

Domino’s has already had its share of PR nightmares.  You would have thought they learned their lesson the first time.  Apparently not.

UPDATE: This PRSA story discusses how Domino’s approached their PR nightmare. It was shared with me on Twitter. You may find it interesting.  I think that it will be interesting to see who is ultimately responsible for customer service in multi-distributor brands like franchises and direct sales companies.

Don’t make the same mistake.  If your company has a Twitter account, you need to be prepared to service customers there.  It’s not all about you talking.  It’s about listening, and resolving issues.  People want to be heard.  Are you listening?

Update 2: Domino’s has seen this article on Twitter, and responded.  They have now opened a customer service ticket and referred it to the independent franchise owner.  In my opinion, this should have happened the first time, and not necessitated a blog post.  This should be standard customer service.  What do you think?

image credit: didbygraham

Jennifer Fong

Jennifer Fong helps direct sales companies leverage the power of social media marketing to increase sales and recruiting, and manage online brand perception.  She provides strategic social media consulting to companies, as well as conference speaking and training. To learn more about how Jennifer can help your company, visit  You can also check out her direct sales and social media blog at, and her Facebook Page at