Media stories and Internet columns appear daily to praise Social Networks and related technologies as great game-changers for business. For large companies social networking provides a goldmine of information that assists marketing departments and product developers.
For network marketers, the value is very different. The primary need for MLM business health is a flow of new leads. Countless articles claim that social networks can provide leads, but very few tell us how to make them work for us.
To understand how to use social networks to create leads, we must first look at the lead generation process itself. Experienced MLM’s know that they create ongoing leads—to reach downline prospects or to sell products—by continually marketing to an ever-growing email list. Social networks have become a great method of continually growing our email lists. However, an effective marketing list is more than names and email addresses. It must include the right kind of people, and they must have some level of interest in listening to our business story.
Using social networks to advertise or directly pump up a business opportunity is seldom effective. Few people respond to online stories that make vague promises for people to make millions without working hard. Smart marketers use a more subtle approach that brings valuable information or entertains prospects.
The first step in making social networking work is to create a profile of the kind of people we want on our list. Is the ideal prospect predominately female, male or are both genders likely to be interested? What’s the approximate age group we are seeking? Are we looking for people who are currently unemployed due to layoffs? Are we concentrating on people of a particular ethnic or religious group? What other characteristics make people prime prospects for us? Answers to these profile questions suggest which social network(s) will be appropriate for our ongoing search.
The simplest preliminary strategy to using your network is to use the site’s tools for selecting people who might be interested in connecting with us. We can begin by searching for people in our area. We might then search for people from our past, such as schools and colleges we attended or companies where we worked. As we reach out to potential connections, we need messages that will appeal to them. This is not the time to hard-sell an MLM opportunity. We first must offer prospects a reason to be interested in what we have to say or show.
This is only the first step in our process for leveraging social networks for lead generation. We’ll discuss more advanced steps in later posts.