The direct selling industry is made up of a rich tapestry of stories—stories about remarkable people, world-class products, unparalleled opportunities and distinctive company cultures. With the advent of social media, the industry now has a new and exciting way to share those stories and enhance the personal relationships that are at the heart of direct selling.
The Direct Selling Education Foundation, too, has recently embraced social media as a way to tell our story, cultivate new relationships, expand our reach and share our resources. In May, DSEF rolled out a comprehensive social media strategy that includes Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and a blog. From the beginning our goal was to bridge the gap between all our stakeholders—the public, our strategic partners, direct selling companies and entrepreneurs, including direct sellers. In just a few short months, we’ve built an active and vocal online community—the majority of whom are independent contractors—that is eagerly learning from and sharing the content we’re providing.
Our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/TheDSEF) is the centerpiece of our social media effort and is living testament to our tagline—Engage. Educate. Empower. Each day we provide our community—more than 4,000 “likes” and growing fast—with links to articles, videos and other resources on topics like ethical business practices, personal finance and consumer protection. We share information from our valued partners like the Council of Better Business Bureaus, the National Consumer League and, of course, our colleagues at the Direct Selling Association (DSA). And we have some fun by engaging our community to find out who they are and what’s important to them.
Our YouTube channel (http://www.youtube.com/user/TheDSEF) has given new life to some terrific video resources DSEF has produced in the last few years. Our What Is Direct Selling? video, available in both English and Spanish, is hugely popular, and our ethics video vignettes—which bring to life important elements of the DSA’s Code of Ethics like earnings claims and product buy-backs—have found a whole new audience. In 2012, one of our strategic partners, the Credit Union National Association, will produce a series of co-branded videos on personal finance topics, which will be housed on DSEF’s YouTube channel and shared via Facebook and Twitter.
Our blog (http://www.dsef.org/blog-2/) has quickly made our website a destination—our web traffic has tripled since it was introduced and the twice-weekly posts are frequently the most-read content on our site. Recent blog posts include, “Keeping Your Personal and Business Finances Separate,” “How to Start Saving: From Baby Steps to Retirement,” and “Tips for Maintaining Work Life Balance.” The blog is proving so popular that the BBB is now reposting our content on their website!
We’ve recently turned our attention to Twitter (http://twitter.com/#!/TheDSEF), where we are focused on growing an authentic Twitter community by following small business owners, entrepreneurs and other individuals who will benefit from the content we share. Our efforts are paying off quickly as our content is frequently retweeted and Twitter has become the No. 1 referrer to our Facebook page.
Social media has helped the foundation share its story—and its work—with more people than ever before. And it’s also helping to share the story of our industry by demonstrating to the public its commitment to ethics, education, individual economic empowerment and consumer protection.
As a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a small but talented staff, the foundation is leveraging the realm of social media to be an effective way to share the transformational value of direct selling. We invite you to join the community today and take advantage of the resources that benefit you, your company and your independent business owners. Together we are changing the understanding of direct selling and showing its positive impact on society.
Thank you for supporting the Direct Selling Education Foundation!
Charlie Orr is Executive Director of the Direct Selling Education Foundation.