Network marketing/MLM gets a lot of bad press and let's face it - a lot of people have been hurt and there have been some nasty bankruptcies. But there's also a tendency to tar all MLMs with the same brush and even to equate them with 'pyramid' schemes.
This analogy has some basis in fact because the models are almost identical. But it's a little like comparing a street hawker selling knock off Swiss watches to the legitimate Rolex dealership across the road. Both do the same thing - but in very different ways. With MLMs it's a question of focus. The good ones focus on product sales, the shady ones focus on recruitment.
And of course there's a whole range in between those 2 extremes - gradable by where they put the bulk of their focus.
Let's face it... if all MLMs were just pyramid schemes in disguise, they would disappear as quickly as pyramid schemes do. But many MLMs have stayed the course. Look at AMWAY, the grandfather of MLMs which was founded way back in 1959 and is still going strong. AMWAY's an abbreviation of 'The American Way' after all 🙂
And consider the number of people involved in network marketing in the US right now. In 2015 there were 20,2 million people involved in direct selling. Estimated sales were $36,12 billion. This begs 2 questions.
If MLM's are all pyramid schemes how did the industry reach this size. After all pyramid schemes all collapse don't they?
Are the 20,2 million people who have chosen to become network marketers all fools?
In the article below from the Huffington Post, Regan Long provides an inciteful and sensitive look at the MLM industry and comes up with interesting conclusions about MLM and our society.
THE BRUTAL TRUTH ABOUT THOSE 'PYRAMID SCHEMES'
Whether it be Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, or LinkedIn ... we have been seeing a tremendous shift in peoples' posts, a large percentage of them being women and/or mothers.
As you scroll through your news feeds, you may find photos and posts with similar catch phrases of "join me" or "are you ready to try ......" or you may possibly read "looking for ....... for my next group/party I'm hosting".
Why is there such a rise in these start up businesses? Why are we seeing a trend of these posts being blasted through all types of social media? Why does it appear that everyone is being fooled to hop on someone else's bandwagon of what appears that they're showcasing, well... the grass is greener on the other side?
Well here's the short and simple truth that I have found not only from research and personal experience, but simply living it: this actually works. These so called "schemes" are actually creating opportunities for millions to begin their own businesses from home.
We're living in an economy that it takes two incomes to make ends meet. We're living in a country that is battling to have paid family leave available for all of its families. We're living in a time that people are becoming sick and tired of being sick and tired.
- Sick and tired of living paycheck to paycheck - or maybe not even able to stay above afloat some months.
- Sick and tired of working long, tireless hours away from home, but there's no choice. You must do what is necessary to pay the bills and put food on the table.
- Sick and tired of paying the astronomical costs for someone else to raise your children, while you're answering to someone else.
A lot of these posts you're seeing of these small businesses being advertised are mothers. And this should really come by no surprise to anyone.
Mothers have met their breaking points head on and are taking leaps of faith to become Entrepreneurs, becoming their own boss of something that is giving them some freedoms.
And you know what - it's WORKING.....
.... Something to keep in your back pocket: when you're buying from a chain store, you're helping contribute to the retirement of the millionaire or billionaire CEO. When you're buying from a small business owner, you're helping pay for that family's groceries, you're paying toward the electric bill and helping Tommy afford a baseball glove or helping pay down Sarah's outstanding hospital bill. You're helping pay down school loan debt and you're likewise contributing to someone's ability to have more time with their children, their significant other or parents who may have fallen ill.
And these small businesses - well, there's nothing small about them with the amount of effort and time that these Entrepreneurs are putting into them. Yes, it's more than a few posts on social media. Yes, it's more than setting up a couple groups or sending out some invitations to their next party or group. Yes, it's even more than posting those witty, inspirational sayings or selfies you see each day......
Kate Shellnutt examines the MLM industry after being struck by the ever increasing promotions on social media by MLM marketers. She comes up with some interesting conclusions.
WHY YOUR FACEBOOK FEED IS FILLED WITH WOMEN SELLING ESSENTIAL OILS AND PRESS-ON NAILS
...When I took a closer look, though, I realized there was something far more significant than products, parties, and profits going on. Multilevel marketing strikes certain women deeply. It gives them something they aren't finding elsewhere: a sense of achievement, mentorship, community, or purpose.
Some women struggle to thrive in traditional office settings, and work-life and work-family tensions are obviously major reasons for that. When workplaces lack substantial maternity leave, child care options, or flexible schedules for working moms, women from the high-achieving lawyer to the hourly worker can burn out fast. (In case you forgot, the US remains the only developed country without mandated paid leave options for parents and where moms routinely face job and pay discrimination.)
I watched a former classmate return to her marketing job a few months after having her first baby. No less than two weeks later, she announced her plans to leave the business to stay home with her daughter ... and sell skincare products from an MLM company called Rodan + Fields.
She called the switch an "exciting new journey," even though she left behind a full-time salary and benefits for 10 percent commission on a few parties and online sales a month. The chance to work from home and set your own hours has that strong an appeal.
Certain subcultures present additional barriers for working women. I'm the exceptional Army wife who gets to work full time and has been able to keep my job as a remote-based editor as we get transferred from duty station to duty station.
Few military spouses get so lucky. I've met wives who intended to become teachers, researchers, realtors, and nurses but ended up as housewives or stay-at-home moms due to military moves. The parking lot for the commissary on post is dotted with car decals advertising sellers' custom websites for Thirty-One Gifts and Scentsy.
These ventures have also taken off within religious communities. As I reported for the evangelical magazine Christianity Today, several major MLM companies — from historic Amway to Thirty-One Gifts — were founded by Christians, and they incorporate worship and Christian speakers into their corporate training.
Additionally, Jamberry, Younique, doTerra Essential Oils, and Young Living Essential Oils are all headquartered in a heavily Mormon area outside of Salt Lake City. They can provide a loophole for women whose faiths discourage them from working outside the home.
"As long as MLMs are regarded by conservative Christians as a more honorable option for women than a normal part-time or full-time job, these organizations will continue to attract women within the church at significant rates," said Jen Wilkin, a Christian author and minister who leads a women's Bible study in Dallas, in the Christianity Today article.
In the midst of military communities and church culture, I'm always navigating around MLM. We've since moved from Tennessee to Georgia, where I had to start making friends all over again. After a few weeks at a new church, a woman finally invited me to hang out. I thought I'd made a connection at last — only to end up sampling essential oils on her couch that night. I came home with a tiny bottle of cedarwood oil to rub on my feet to help me sleep.
For us friends turned clients, it's hard not to be cynical or skeptical. But perhaps some of our questions are best directed at the surrounding society, rather than just the sellers themselves. The workplace norms that put women at a disadvantage — and other practical, theological, and cultural considerations — are ultimately what force many women into MLM. They may not see another way for fulfilling (and hopefully profitable) work.
The MLM industry can be a wake-up call to communities and companies. Women are so motivated to work that they'll do it for next to nothing and will bring their friends, relatives, and neighbors into their businesses. Imagine how successful they'd be if they were given the adequate support, flexibility, and training to do it in your office.
And here's an excerpt from a testimonial by Audrey Floyd about a very positive MLM experience. I'm not implying that everyone's experience will match this at all. This is simply food for thought for those unwilling to take a balanced perspective about MLM.
LOCALS TELL MUTILEVEL MARKETING SUCCESS STORIES
Audrey Floyd is a local pre-k teacher and is an independent director with Thirty-One Gifts, which specializes in family and home organization products. She started with the company in September 2014.
“I had always loved the products and really was just looking for a way to make some money for the "extras" in life - my son's gymnastics lessons, family trips, and maybe some shopping for myself,” Floyd said. “I wouldn't say I was skeptical at all, just nervous and I had a ton of questions. I didn't have a clue where Thirty-One would take my life, but I'm so glad I jumped on board. I never imagined I would be as successful as I am.”
“I had always loved the products and really was just looking for a way to make some money for the "extras" in life - my son's gymnastics lessons, family trips, and maybe some shopping for myself,” Floyd said. “I wouldn't say I was skeptical at all, just nervous and I had a ton of questions. I didn't have a clue where Thirty-One would take my life, but I'm so glad I jumped on board. I never imagined I would be as successful as I am.”
Floyd said she enjoys her job at Stonebridge Early Learning Center and has been teaching for six years and she doesn’t see herself leaving teaching, but she also will continue her successful Thirty-One business because she enjoys helping other women.
“I didn't realize that I wanted to be a leader and recruit women to this wonderful company,” she said. “ It actually took me a while to become confident in that area. I didn't know that I could or that I had that type of personality. I really just wanted some extra money. But now, leading a team of nearly 30 women and being able to encourage them, it means the world to me. My team is part of my why. I love each one of the ladies that has joined me on this journey. I have been invited to our founder and CEO's farm in Ohio for a leadership retreat, I got asked to be in this season's fall catalog, and I earned the leadership incentive trip to Punta Cana for me and my husband this year. I consider it success. But mostly, I am very blessed and thankful to God for bringing Thirty-One into my life.”
Floyd encourages others interested in the multi-level business model to be themselves and to make sure time is delegated on tasks that will help them reach their goals......
Any promotional material you see on this page or site are for products I have tested and use myself.
Snapchat kicked off as a clever new messaging app for teens, but has quickly moved into the mainstream. Brands are adopting the platform and creating whole new Snapchat marketing strategies. These are built around the 'intimate' nature of the platform which fosters one to one conversation - unlike the 'one to many' nature of the legacy players, Facebook and Instagram. There are no likes, friends or follower accounts. There's no pressure to build social equity. And you don't see other people's comments.
The unique nature of Snapchat presents brands with a whole new challenge in getting the right message to their potential customers. It's all about creating engaging and interesting stories. Austin Iuliano gives you a great primer here on how to do that.
Boost Your Snapchat Engagement
Want to know why you aren’t getting more people watching your Snapchat stories? Did you jump onto Snapchat and are floundering around like a fish out of water trying to figure out if Snapchat is worth your time?
Let's be blunt - the reason you're struggling is probably because your Stories are boring to watch.
But don't stress - let me be your Ben Kenobi and I promise you that these six tips will increase your Snapchat engagement and make your stories more appealing to a wider audience.
1. Storyboard Your Ideas
Often, people forget to have a strategy when they get into Snapchat. They buy into the hype, download the app, and just start posting random cat photos. Well, every story needs a strategy and this is where storyboarding comes in.
If you want your engagement to go up and people to get excited about what you’re doing, think about the story before you post it. Take 60 seconds to write out your idea, and storyboard it.
Once your storyboard is complete, look at how you can create some depth in the story. Use Snapchat to “show” and not “tell” your message.
An example of “telling" your message is doing a 10-minute rant, with the camera pointed square at your face. "Showing" your story is sharing your message through image and symbolism, in addition to those more common means......
The figures speak for themselves. Twitter is pretty much stagnant in terms of average daily users and Snapchat is growing it's users daily (and a greater percentage of those users are active daily). Snapchat users are also a younger demographic. Read this article from Sarah Frier at Bloomberg...
Snapchat now has more daily active users than Twitter
Snapchat Inc. has 150 million people using the service each day, said people familiar with the matter. That makes the four-year-old messaging app more popular than Twitter Inc. by daily active users.
Snapchat has been growing quickly, boosted by its popularity among young people. The app had 110 million daily users in December, said the people, who asked not to be named because they weren’t authorized to speak about the numbers.
Twitter, which was founded in 2006, has less than 140 million users interacting with the service daily, according to an average of analysts’ estimates surveyed by Bloomberg. The short-messaging service was once the largest social network after Facebook Inc. but has since been surpassed by Facebook’s other apps, including Instagram, Messenger, and WhatsApp.
Twitter has 310 million monthly active users, according to its most recent earnings report. The company doesn’t disclose how many of those people check in daily, but in the third quarter, it said about 44 percent of monthly users are active each day in the service’s top 20 markets. Twitter Chief Financial Officer Anthony Noto said at the time that the percentage had been stable but that “we’ll be sure to disclose” if there was a significant change. The company hasn’t given an update since then. This implies a daily active user count of 136 million. Twitter and Snapchat declined to comment...
Snapchat has been making big changes to it's platform as part of it's ad partner program. It appears to be looking after it's users too by making ads blend in better and be less intrusive.
Snapchat is about to have way more advertising
Snapchat has been evolving rapidly over the past few months by adding features and redesigning the app to boost its appeal, not just with teens, but also older users as part of a campaign for total media domination. And now it has launched a second front: On Monday, it rolled out its much-anticipated ad partner program.
In many ways, Snapchat has been preparing the ground for this move for some time now. It has been working on the ad partner program since the beginning of the year, including an API, or application programming interface, that will make it easier for advertisers to automate their ad buying. And the company has also been re-configuring the app so that those new advertising ventures will hopefully blend in better.
Just last week, Snapchat rolled out some fairly significant changes to the app that have turned it into much more of a stream of real-time content, with items from the Discover section—which includes video updates from outlets such as CNN and BuzzFeed—mixed in with Live Stories from news events and media partners. Publishers can now add images to their videos so that they look more appealing to users, and users can subscribe to specific publishers.
Snapchat has offered video ads for almost a year now, using a format it calls 3V—for “vertical video views”—but they have been created in-house and offered to a fairly small range of advertisers. Now, ads from outside agencies will start appearing in between the Snapchat Stories in users’ streams. And some of these will be programmatic in the sense that they will be delivered into the stream via the new API...
Please note - all the links in the side bar point to products I have tested and use myself.
Ray Higdon talks about the importance of not being pushy in the network marketing recruiting context. Prospecting's the toughest part of network marketing and Ray shows us how to smooth it all out and make the whole process more comfortable for you and your prospect.
We’re just not pushy in anything that we do. I know people that are pushy in network marketing. Some of them, just because they hit so many numbers, they succeed. It’s just not the way I wanted to build my network marketing business. Instead of being pushy, and pushy would be, “Hey, this thing’s a no-brainer. You should do it. Hey, this is ground-floor, billion-dollar opportunity. We have no competition. You should totally get in before it’s too late.” That’s pushy.
Pushy is where pressure is coming from something external and pressing upon the prospect. There’s a pressure that isn’t coming from inside; it’s coming from outside. It’s saying, “You should get in. You should do this. This thing’s a no brainer,” those kind of things. Instead of that, the way that I’ve always recruited, and we’ve recruited quite a few people, the way we’ve always recruited is to be pully. The way that you’re pully is you generate the interest from inside them....
Todd Falcone has a more robust approach when establishing a prospects level of commitment. This is ground you need to cover before signing up any new prospect. With the time you will have to invest in them - you don't want prospects who are coming into this with a "let's give this a shot" approach.
When it comes to prospecting in network marketing, a lot of times people feel like they are walking on thin ice with their prospects and even their distributors…worried about scary them away from the opportunity if they are too “firm” with them.
While you are not anyone’s boss in this business, and you never will be, when it comes to MLM Prospecting, it doesn’t mean that you have to act meek and shy when it comes to their commitment to building a business.
You will likely be investing quite a bit of your time helping this new person get up and running to become successful. So…if during your MLM prospecting efforts, they tell you something like, “Yea…I think I’ll give this thing a shot”, it’s more than ok to challenge them and see what they really mean by “giving it a shot”. When I hear “I’ll give it a shot” in my prospecting efforts, I hear someone saying, “Yea…I’ll try this for a little while and probably be quitting here in the near future.”
So…I challenge them. I’m not afraid to scare someone away from joining if they’re not going to make a commitment to being successful. Why mentor someone if they already have an exit strategy?
Michelle and Bill Pescosolido overheard a recruiting pitch in a coffee shop. They picked up on a whole bunch of errors and call them 'The Seven Deadly Sins' of MLM Recruiting. Here they are...
MLM Recruiting – The Seven Deadly Sins
(1) Spoke 90% Of The Time
Imagine having a conversation with someone where they spoke 90% of the time and you only spoke 10% of the time?
How would that conversation make you feel?
If it was me, I would feel that the other person didn’t care much about me and just wanted to talk about themselves the whole time.
Well that’s exactly how this conversation went.
“Lady A” just blabbed on and on and on and hardly let “Lady B” get a word in.
One of the basic fundamentals of sales no matter what industry you’re in or what you’re selling, is that you should listen to your prospects more than you speak to them.
They say we have two ears and one mouth for a reason…. so it might be wise for you to consider listening twice as much as you speak when you’re in a sales meeting or while MLM recruiting.
(2) Feature Dumped
“Feature Dumping” is when you only talk about the features of the product(s) and not the benefit or better yet the benefit of the benefit.
In this case specifically “Lady A” was going through her flip chart of products and spewing out all of the ingredients contained within the products to “Lady B” as if “Lady B” knew what they were or how they would benefit her.
But “Lady A” hardly ever shared or explained any benefits.
In particular, she never explained any benefits that would specifically help “Lady B”.
At one point “Lady A” did mention…
Please note - all the links in the side bar point to products I have tested and use myself.
About this guide
All sales efforts are ultimately about persuasion and compliance. Obtaining compliance can be as simple as offering the right product at the right price, but it rarely is. It is too simple for the prospective customer to bookmark your page or simply walk out of your store with a vague mental note to maybe come back another time. Great sales people over the years have worked out techniques to get the prospective customer to comply and say yes before they leave the store.
This is a short list of the principle techniques and the psychology behind them. It describes these techniques and explain why they work. It is principally directed towards online sales but has equal application to offline sales. If properly applied, this knowledge can make a significant difference to the way you approach sales and your results.
The techniques fall into 7 different categories which are described individually below. Examples are given where appropriate as well as suggestions on how to use these techniques.
Triggers are cues which cause people to react in an unthinking automatic way when presented with the cue. They have evolved over time as a reaction to information overload in an increasingly complex world. They are shortcuts which remove the need to analyse every situation which requires thought and decision. Because we react mindlessly to these triggers they can be used to obtain compliance.
The preconception that “high price means quality” is a good example of a trigger. It evolved in a simpler time when higher prices were charged for products which cost more to make. It has survived as response to the huge variety of goods, services and brands we are offered today. It is no longer possible to research and inform ourselves on every new brand or product we are offered on a daily basis, so we use this default formula. Whilst the formula is true in many cases it is not always true. It is, however, true often enough to use as a rule of thumb. It is also easy to apply.
Here’s an example.
We have a range of products at low prices on display and, immediately adjacent, a product at a relatively high price. The high priced product sells out quickly. Why?
The low priced products established the perception that you are offering value. The customer then comes across the higher priced product and the “higher price equals quality” trigger is activated. The higher priced product is perceived as being of exceptional quality at a reasonable price and will be bought. The preconception is the trigger.
Here are some other examples of triggers:
If when you ask someone to do something and give them a reason why they should do it you stand a far greater chance of getting compliance. Strangely, it does not seem to depend on how good the reason is. The use of the word “because” is crucial.
– Discount coupons
Experiments have shown that mailed coupons offering no discount at all produce the same response as coupons with a discount printed on them.
If a customer is shown a few unsuitable or undesirable products first and then shown a high quality, attractive product at the same price a purchase will probably result.
– The cherry on the top
If a customer has made an expensive purchase and is then offered a low priced extra or accessory, it will become very attractive and probably be purchased.
As human beings we are pre-programmed to attempt to repay, in some form, what another person has given us or done for us. This reciprocity stems from a sense of obligation when we receive a gift or a favour. Until we reciprocate, the scales are out of balance and we instinctively try to restore the equilibrium as soon as we can. We are the only species where this characteristic is apparent and it is an important part of what defines us as human beings. It is also the base of the concept of transactions and ultimately, of commerce.
Reciprocation can thus be used to achieve compliance. By giving (or appearing to be giving) we create a sense of obligation in the recipient which can be used to alter their behaviour in some way, which is the essence of compliance. Its application in business is widespread.
The principle is simple. The alteration of behaviour consists of the salesman persuading a potential customer to buy something they would not ordinarily have bought by giving them a gift first. The customer, in many cases, does not even want the gift or the product they were “forced” to buy. Such is the power of reciprocity.
One of the most common examples of this principle is the “free sample” at the exit of the supermarket. The majority of people simply cannot eat the tasty sample, ignore the smiling attendant and walk on. They end up buying some of the product whether they liked it or not.
A common variation of the reciprocity approach known as the “concession” is where the salesman offers the potential customer an expensive product which they choose not buy. The salesman then offers the customer a cheaper product (subtlely implying he is making a concession to the customer) and the customer buys that to assuage the mysterious sense of guilt he feels for not buying the more expensive product.
This approach works particularly well where the salesman has a likeable personality or is representing some worthy cause.
Online sales customers are not as susceptible to this technique because of the lack of face to face contact and the essential anonymity of online engagement. The overall principle still applies.
This technique can be used ethically for online sales in several ways.
– Offer giveaways on your site but make this unconditional.
– Many sites offer free material in exchange for an email address. Instead, offer a download of the free material unconditionally, but politely suggest that you can email it to them if they wish. If they select that option a name/email popup appears.
– Build that subtle sense of obligation by giving without any overt sales pitch. It will pay off.
The desire to be (and appear to be) consistent with a position they have already taken is very strong in the overwhelming majority of people. Society values consistency and inconsistency is often seen as an undesirable personality trait. This desire to appear consistent will cause people to behave in ways that are consistent with and justify the positions they have taken.
It follows then, that if people can be encouraged to take a certain position, they can more easily be made to comply with actions that are consistent with that position.
– A charitable organization anonymously polls housewives in a suburban neighbourhood. The question is “if asked to give 2 hours a week to charity work, what would you say?” Not wanting to appear uncharitable, most respond that they would be prepared to help. A week later the same organisation sends representatives door to door in the same neighbourhood asking for canvassers and gets a high positive response rate.
To take advantage of the consistency principle try and get your potential customers to “take a position” on what they need or are looking for. The more you know about their needs and wants by getting them to disclose them to you, the more difficult it is for them to not buy from you if you are offering appropriate solutions.
This of course is part of the engagement process you should be doing anyway to establish a relationship with your customers. If you know your customers well they will feel an even greater need to remain consistent. If you are offering a product which is appropriate to the position they have taken you will probably make a sale.
Interestingly, making a commitment to do, or stop doing something (taking a position) and informing people you like and respect about that commitment hugely increases the likelihood of you fulfilling that commitment. If you inform them in writing the effect is even greater. In fact, the simple act of writing down your own goals and ambitions significantly increases your chances of achieving them because of the consistency effect.
Social proof is the ultimate “learn by example” tool. It is deeply integrated into the human psyche almost from birth.
Social proof is a method we use to find out what is correct by finding out what other people think is correct. It has particular application to behaviour which is observable and thus measurable without intrusion. The more we see other people behaving a certain way in a given situation the more correct it becomes in our own mind.
Correct can be interpreted here in several ways depending on the context. Correct might mean:
– Socially acceptable
– Of good quality
The tip jar at a local bar offers good insight into social proof. The bar owner “seeds” the jar before opening with a plentiful supply of one dollar notes. Customers at the bar notice the plentiful dollar notes in the jar and assume that it is expected to leave a tip and that a dollar is the appropriate amount.
Social proof has significant potential when it comes to influencing behavior and creating compliance. At its simplest large numbers of people talking about and purchasing a product is the best possible way of getting your customer to comply by buying your product.
Market your products and brands with emphasis on social media. That’s where new customers will get their social proof of how good you are.
If you have social proof make sure to exploit it to the full. Keep your social media marketing campaigns very active. Don’t rest on your laurels.
Excitement can fade quickly without new ideas, new products, fresh thinking.
Stay honest, never fabricate social proof which is not there. You will be caught out.
If you are making impressive sales, have a counter indicating sales on your web site in real time. Social proof turns traffic into sales.
Work hard to get positive testimonials, social proof at its best.
Liking and friendship
This one is very simple. If a customer likes you, the odds of them buying something from you are significantly increased. You have significant leverage to achieve compliance. Logically then we must make efforts to be likable. Don’t underestimate this. There are plenty of other good products out there for your audience to choose from. If they like you that one thing might just swing the decision your way.
What are the ingredients of being liked?
People are much more likely to like somebody who is like them. Treat your audience as equals. Don’t talk down or up to them. Share their problems and anxieties. Show weakness and strength.
Find out about your audience. Compliment small achievements.
Nobody likes the bearer of bad news. Try and create an association between yourself and good positive things.
(4) Don’t sell overtly
The amount of selling pressure we are subjected to in this age of television and the internet is overwhelming and mostly does not work anymore. Allow your website to do the selling. Remain detached from the selling process.
Respond to queries about your product, just don’t slip into hard sell mode.
People who are referred to you by people they like are also more likely to purchase. Encourage your audience to refer friends. Offer them an incentives to do this.
Lastly, I am not suggesting that you can deal with all prospective customers on a one to one basis. Give individuals as much time as you can, but establish the relationships I have described above in your blog, emails and social media presence.
Most people show a remarkable degree of compliance to other people that perceive to be in a position of authority. This deference to authority has evolved essentially as a preferable option to its opposite which is anarchy. Whilst some resent it, most of us are sufficiently conditioned by the consensus to automatically defer to authority without thinking. The takeaway from this is to be found in the impression you create in the minds of your audience. If you are not a well-known authority figure in your field you need to create an aura of confidence and self-belief which you successfully communicate to your audience. Answer questions in a confident and measured fashion. If you don’t know the answer, suggest an email response, then find out quickly and respond with authority. Never fabricate an answer and respond uncertainly. Believe in yourself and they will believe in you.
Strangely, the thought of missing out on something is often a stronger motive to comply with whatever will get it for us, than the anticipation of getting it. Scarcity plays a huge part in establishing the value of many things and artificially created scarcity can have the same effect. The takeaway here is to be honest and create an artificial scarcity without subterfuge. You might offer a product at a significant discount but limit the number available at that price. Count down publicly the sales that occur and the remaining availability. But be consistent, don’t be tempted to extend the offer. Those that committed will resent this, and you.
The psychology behind successful persuasion and compliance can be a valuable tool in your sales and marketing endeavours. Most of these techniques can also be used successfully in dishonest and deceitful ways to achieve sales objectives. I urge you not to cross this line and to use your own discretion as to where you place that line.
I would really appreciate you sharing this article if you found it useful. The buttons are on the left.
Huge kudos to Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. from whom I have learned much.
You are on Twitter
You have some followers
You tweet regularly
You don’t get many (or any) favourites or retweets
You know you need to change something but you don’t know what that is
Does this describe you?
Let’s analyse this and find out what’s not working.
These are the relevant questions….
Is anyone reading my tweets?
– Don’t make the mistake of assuming that all (or any) of your followers read your tweets. Unless you are a celebrity or a respected expert in your field (influencer), statistics indicate that well less than half of 1 percent of your followers will read any one tweet. This percentage gets even lower as your follower numbers increase but the absolute number of people reading your tweets will increase.
– You can find out how many of your followers read any specific tweet and many other useful metrics at Twitter Analytics. You will also discover at what time of day you receive most engagement as well as which tweets were most successful. Use this information to help you decide when and what you tweet.
Is anyone reading my tweets but not engaging by retweeting, favoriting or replying?
This is an area where you need to take some positive action.
– Most importantly you need to create good relevant original content yourself to start establishing a reputation and build trust with your followers. This is very important in getting followers to open and read your tweets.
– The ability to create relevant and interesting content is the most useful skill you can develop in all your social media and general marketing activities. Put in the time and effort and you will be rewarded handsomely.
– You also need to be sure that the content that you retweet is relevant, useful and interesting. Read absolutely everything and evaluate it before retweeting it. By tweeting and retweeting relevant and good content you get retweets which spread your reach.
– A follower who reads a tweet or retweet from you that they really enjoy is far more likely to read your next tweet. It’s all part of building your reputation.
– If you feel you have tweeted or retweeted something really worthwhile, don’t hesitate to ask your followers for a retweet. “Please RT” in the body of the text will do it.
– You need to be very sure to engage with any followers that engage with your tweets in any way.
– Put all followers that engage into a Twitter list. Call that list “Engagers” and be sure to read the feed from that list daily. Retweet and favorite good material from that feed. Respond where appropriate.
– Check your notifications and messages at least once daily and again, respond where appropriate.
– Remember, always thank followers for following, favoriting and retweeting. Do it by Mention (include the @username in the body of the tweet) and this will become a public tweet.
Am I building the right kind of followers?
Probably not. New Twitterers tend to be grateful for any followers and concentrate on numbers rather than quality.
– Drill down and focus on who you follow. Don’t follow anyone back that does not have some of your keywords in their bio. Check some of their tweets also to make your decision. Don’t be too concerned with their follower numbers when deciding to follow them back. If they are interested in your field they are valuable.
– Occasionally go through your follower list and unfollow ruthlessly based on relevance. These followers might unfollow you as a result or continue to follow you. Either way it does not matter. Their tweets won’t be cluttering your feed.
(For a detailed description of my follower building and unfollow methods read How to Grow Your Twitter Followers)
Are other ways to get more engagement and reach more eyeballs?
Yes indeed there are.
– One of the more powerful methods of getting your tweets in front of relevant Twitter users is to have them retweeted by influential Twitter “Gurus” in your field of interest. Mentions by these influencers will also be valuable in your reputation building.
This works in a couple of ways:
– Firstly influencers will have plenty of followers so when they retweet your tweet it reaches that many more eyeballs.
– Secondly, because the influencer retweeted it, there is a good chance their followers will retweet it in turn. The power of this process cannot be overestimated especially for relatively new Twitter accounts.
How can I get influential Twitter “Gurus” to retweet me?
First identify the influential members of your existing following. You may already have influencers following you and these should be your first target.
– I discovered a great tool yesterday which ranks your followers (amongst many other useful things) for you. It’s called Social Rank. There’s a free version which is comprehensive and quickly algorithmically ranks your followers in terms of their “value”. You can save this as a Twitter list or locally on the platform. I would create a list on Twitter called Influencers to enable you to read their tweets quickly.
– To find influencers that don’t follow me I use Tweet Adder. They have a cheap entry level package which offers great value. Amongst a host of useful follower find/management features it offers a Tweet or Bio based search function which comes up with listed results which you can sort by many criteria. It is then very easy to scan through the list and one click follow. You will be amazed how many influential people will follow back. Once they follow back you can again rank them for value on Social Rank and add them to your list.
You can also do this on Twitter by entering your search query and selecting “People” in the left sidebar. This works fine but lacks the sorting function.
In this way you will soon build a Twitter list of influencers and you can start building a relationship with some of them.
How do I build a relationship with influencers?
– Read the feed from your influencer list daily and retweet, favorite and reply to selected tweets that are relevant to you and your followers. You will soon find the influencers which fit your profile and needs.
– Make a separate Twitter list for the group of influencers you have chosen and concentrate on these. Make sure there are not too many. Start with around 20 and build this list selectively.
– Don’t be afraid to reach out to influencers directly in different ways. You can direct message them, tweet to them or retweet their tweet with a short message in the retweet. Remember a direct message is only visible to the receiver. Tweeting or retweeting will be seen by your followers.
– Don’t ask for anything other than advice or an answer to a question. Give compliments and kind words. Don’t reach out too often and become a nuisance. Thank influencers for their responses.
Because of who they are, influencers will take note of you in most cases and read your tweets. Make sure your tweets are valuable and sooner or later you will start to get retweets from them. Make sure you don’t miss these (notifications) and thank them quickly with a mention (@username in the body of a tweet).
– Mention influencers in your tweets with an @username mention where appropriate. This will come to their attention.
– Don’t forget that unless your own content has value much of what I have said above will simply not apply. If you come to the notice of an influencer, or indeed any Twitter user, if your content is of low quality they will forget you. It’s that simple.
– Lastly, be sure to subscribe to all Twitter email updates in your settings. This is a great second line of defense if you miss anything from your feeds and notifications.
– For more methods of engaging with influencers go to this excellent post 7 Ways to Engage with Industry Influencers on Twitter by Corey Smock from Likeable.
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In Random Thoughts 1 we talked about traction and the importance of building relationships with our potential audience in order to gently guide them into becoming users for our new startup. Before you can do this you need to establish an audience to build a relationship with.
IMO the best place to do this, bar none, is Twitter. Twitter is unique among all the social networks in that it allows you to actively search for relevant users that share similar interests and activities to your own and allows you to follow them. What following means is that their tweets will appear in your feed and they will be informed that you have followed them. Reasonably often they will follow you back and your tweets will appear in their feed. Following people is not quite an invitation to follow back but generally it works that way.
But before you start randomly following every account on Twitter it pays to get selective. At this stage followers are gold to you but you don’t really want any that don’t share interests or activities with you. Don’t focus on number of followers, focus on quality and relevance.
If you are already a Twitter user much of what is below you will know already. Read it anyway because it is a process that I use and it works. If you are new to Twitter this is a proven process to quickly build a relevant follower base which you can engage with and build a community of users for your startup.
Step 1 – Create your Twitter account. If you already have a personal Twitter account which you don’t use for your business create a new one for your business.
Make sure you choose the right username from the start because changing it later means your followers won’t be able to find you. If this is a business account use your company name. If you are your business and trade under your own name, use a variation of your name which indicates what you do. If your name is Sam and you do SEO you might call yourself @SEOSam for example. Try and create an easily memorable and not too formal handle which gives an indication of what you do. Spend some time on this, choose a few options and then narrow it down to the right one.
Step 2 – Set up your profile. Choose an appropriate profile image. This can be your company logo and arguably should be if you are establishing a brand. If you trade under your own name use a picture of yourself. Make sure it is a good picture and if you don’t have a suitable one use a professional photographer. It will be worth every cent. Look friendly and warm in your picture. Use a stranger to help select the best picture. This really works. Never use the default Twitter egg profile picture.
Your profile picture should be 400 by 400 pixel size. Crop your picture if necessary in any good image editing software. The cropped image must be at least the size mentioned above to maintain quality.
Select an appropriate header image of at least 1500 by 500 pixels. If you don’t have an image find one in any of the free or paid image resources on the internet. (pixabay.com stocksnap.io and unsplash.com are 3 free good sources)
Step 3 – Compile your profile bio. You have 140 characters to do this. Start with the URL to your site homepage, then give a short and concise description of what you do. Try and include 2 or 3 significant keywords and hashtag them. This will make you more findable. Don’t be “salesy” in your bio. Just paint a little picture of what you do and make it sound inviting. Avoid listing all your personal attributes and skills. This can end up intimidating people who might then be reluctant to contact you. The overall tone should be light and factual.
Your bio is very often your first point of contact with other users so spend some time on those 140 characters.
Step 4 – Start finding followers. So you are now up and running on Twitter. You could go ahead and post your first tweet but you would probably be the only person who ever reads it because it will only appear on your own page. In other words you need followers. As soon as you have a follower your tweets will appear in their feed.
Start by going to the Search box in the upper right hand corner of Twitter and put an important keyword or phrase into the text box there. Don’t be too general here, get specific. If your field of interest is getting users don’t put in the word users, put in “user acquisition” or “startup user acquisition”. Every word you add adds accuracy and relevance to the search results.
Hit Enter and Twitter will provide you with a list of tweets containing your search terms. Click “All” at the top of the page to get more results.
You are now looking at a list of tweets containing your search terms. You could, by clicking on the name of the tweeter at the top left of each tweet, see the profile of that tweeter and follow them by clicking their follow button. The Advanced Search feature in the left sidebar of the search results page will help you to refine your results, but it is still a laborious procedure to filter and follow. There is a better way.
Step 5 – The better way. What I am going to tell you about now is a shortcut which I use and which has rewritten the rules when it comes to streamlining the processes of searching, filtering, following, unfollowing and all the procedures involved in building a relevant followers list. This is a tool called Tweet Adder which can be found at tweetadder.com and is well worth the small monthly fee they charge.
Tweet Adder automatically scrapes and searches for you, but after reviewing the information, it’s up to you to manually review and follow each user. It has many other useful features including a buffer. In terms of streamlining the follower acquisition process and keeping your follower list tidy and relevant I have not found a better tool and I strongly suggest you invest in it. Tweet Adder will open up methods to identify potential users to follow which are simply not available in Twitters native search functionality. Once you have identified them the actual follow process is one click simple and very quick.
Tweet Adder offers several different options for search criteria. I principally use the Tweet Search and Profile Data Search functionality.
I enter search terms using the normal search operators, filter by activity levels, language etc. and sort the results by number of followers or number of tweets. I can then swiftly scan down the list and follow, mostly based on a speed read of profile data. I will typically follow about 100 to 150 users in any one session.
Three days later I open the “not following back” filter and Tweet Adder presents me with a list of all users that have not followed me back and I unfollow them. The three day window is to allow a little time to those I have followed to follow me back.
I average around 25% follow back success rate overall using this process.
I also use Tweet Adder to follow back users that have followed me. This again is a simple and rapid 1 click process.
Tweet Adder also offers “Followers of a user” and “Followed by a user” filtration which presents list of qualifying users. This seemed like an interesting option initially but I do not use it as I find it does not produce a high ratio of suitable candidates. I am not really sure why but perhaps it’s because users tend to follow high profile accounts because they are high profile and they want to be associated with them.
It is important to keep your followers list clean. Tweet Adder assists here too enabling you to unfollow users based on filters like “too quiet”, “too noisy”, “no profile image” etc. Those unfollowed may remain as followers and thus still see your tweets, but you will keep your feed free from unwanted and irrelevant tweets this way.
I regularly go through all of my followers (again on Tweet Adder) and unfollow users based largely on profile irrelevancy. These guys always seem to sneak in somehow and need to be unfollowed from time to time.
Step 6 – Now that you have followed a whole bunch of people there is a little housekeeping you need to do to prepare for the people who follow you back. In my account I have my email notifications set up to email me when virtually anything happens concerning my account. You need to do this too.
Click on the small profile picture at top right of your home screen and select “settings” from the dropdown list. In the left sidebar select e mail notifications and then select all the checkboxes and save at the bottom of the page.
As soon as you have a follow back you will be notified by email and you can open the email to check whether you are already following this user. As they probably came from your following exercise you will already be following them. If you are not, then follow them back from the dialogue in the email.
You now need to send them a thanks for following message. If you are following someone who is following you can send them a direct message. To do this open their profile by clicking on their user name at top left of the message and you will see an option to send a message or a tweet to this user. Select the message option and send them a quick message thanking them for following you. Personalise this message by using their name. This very important, you are engaging with your follower immediately and they will appreciate it.
Go back to their profile page and have a look at their tweets. Open a few and read them. If you see something you like, favourite that tweet by clicking the icon under the tweet summary. More points immediately for you. You could also retweet something of theirs if you really like it, but be sure to read it and be sure it ties in with your profile because your new followers are going to read it in their feed. If it’s good you get some credit and authenticity, if it’s not you get the opposite.
The user you are favoriting and retweeting will also be informed and like you more for it.
Step 7 – Start tweeting. Your new followers have to go to your page to follow you and you need something there for them to see. Post a quick “Hallo” tweet to start off with. Something like “Hey Twitter Users, just joined your community, would love to chat with you. #Startups #Users #Ideas
The hash tagged words at the end will make you more findable by other users.
Now trawl the web for interesting and relevant content, read it and if it’s good tweet it. You will generally find a tweet button on most articles. Do this few times to give visitors to your profile something to read.
So, that’s my quick run through of how to start your Twitter follower acquisition. This will get you a reasonable follower base in not too much time. Pay special attention to the personalization process and quickly establishing engagement and a relationship. Remember, 500 engaged followers are worth far more than 5000 followers who are just names on a list.
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You can find me here on Twitter @prevalidator
In my next post I will describe in greater detail how you can turn your Twitter followers into a community and from there into users for your startup.
Prevalidator is primarily about traction. The aim of Prevalidator is to showcase your new startup, provide traction, and get it moving forward. I won’t detail how that works here. If you are interested go to prevalidator.com and read the Help and About links. Sign Up if you would like updates.
This is the first in a series of posts which I am calling ‘Random Thoughts’. I suppose it is really a Prevalidator blog but I am not going to call it that because these thoughts will be short, fairly concise and I hope, now and again, useful to you. They may not always be advice. Observations, news and other things may be served up to
What is Traction?
“The extent to which an idea or product gains popularity or acceptance” – Oxford Dictionary definition
Traction, in the startup context is primarily about users and growth. Getting engaged users on board is the only thing that gets a startup moving forward into growth once it’s out there. So what does that mean? How do we go about getting users?
Too often new startups equate exposure with user acquisition. There is belief that any way of getting the product in front of potential user eyes will translate into user acquisition. Back in the day there was some truth to this. There were far fewer new startups out there and proportionally, a little more time to have a glance at the newest offerings. Today there are just too many new startups out there clamouring for attention. Getting someone to stop and actually read and comprehend yours is a difficult task and you need to do more than just put it out there. This is where we need to get a little creative.
In all likelihood the internet is where a potential user is going to get to hear about your new startup. So lets ask ourselves why people use the internet. What are they looking for? If we know the answer to that question we can attract their attention by being what they are looking for and then diverting that attention to our product. This 2 stage process will significantly increase the odds of us being found and consumed.
The internet is primarily a tool for mass communication and the majority of people use it to connect and communicate with other users. It’s all about relationships. People value and seek out relationships. They use the internet and social media to form relationships and to talk to and listen to people with whom they have already have relationships. People have far more interest in what someone they “know” is saying or doing, than someone they don’t know.
So, if you want people to be interested in what you are saying (your product), you need to form relationships with them first (assuming you are not already a celebrity or a guru of some kind) and this should primarily be a relationship of trust and respect.
How do we do this?
Firstly, this is not a quick or easy process, but it is a process you can start right now and you will be astonished how quickly you can grow an engaged following once you have a core group of devotees. The multiplier effect will kick in and your growth curve will head north.
You should start this process from the day you decide to go ahead with your startup and run it alongside the product building process. It should also become an integral part of the product building process as you start getting feedback from engaged followers.
If you have already launched your product, it’s not too late. But get on with it now and start chasing down your users.
Your prime focus in this process is to create, foster and cultivate relationships around you and your product so that when you do launch you have a built in and engaged audience ready and waiting for your product. If your product is any any good these people will become your brand ambassadors and bring you new users through their own relationships with other people.
My thoughts on building relationships and an audience will follow in the next few ‘Random Thoughts’ blog posts here.
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