Hi there again! Welcome to the second edition of the Can-Do Quarterly, a newsletter for members of the National Federation of Independent Contractors Association, or NFICA.
Summer is here, and that means it’s hot outside! While you’re trying to stay cool, you’re no doubt juggling vacation plans and family visits along with running your business.
With the recent announcements made at F8—Facebook’s developer conference held in San Jose, California—around its renewed focus on groups and events, we thought the theme of “making connections” would be appropriate.
After all, summertime is all about reconnecting with family and loved ones. Marketing your business is about making connections as well. In this issue of the Can-Do Quarterly, we’ll talk about what Facebook’s transition away from its news feed and more toward privacy, group messaging and events means for you and your business.
We’ve also interviewed Betsy Hindman, founder of The Hindman Group, a B2B digital marketing company, about ways you can use LinkedIn to increase your customer base and create better brand awareness for your business. And we’ve got a great article about why nostalgia marketing works.
I hope you enjoy this issue of the Can-Do Quarterly. Stay cool this summer. And remember, we’re here when you need us.
Why Nostalgia Marketing Works
By Charlie Moss
If you’ve seen the Netflix show Stranger Things, you know part of its success is built around 1980s nostalgia. This summer, the highly-popular show is returning for its third season, and with it comes strategic marketing partnerships. Netflix has teamed up with Coca-Cola to bring back one of the most notoriously-bad ad campaigns in its history:New Coke.
Normally, bringing back a failed product would be a terrible marketing idea. But because we as consumers love to think about the good ol’ days, particularly the 1980s, this idea is a brilliant one, because it’s a way for Coca-Cola to poke fun at itself but also invoke memories of simpler times.
Think about why Star Wars and Disney’s new live-action reboots of classic cartoon movies like Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin and the upcoming Lion King are so popular. They connect with us on an emotional level from our childhoods. It’s why direct sales brands like Tupperware, Mary Kay, The Pampered Chef, and Avon are still relevant. These are trusted brands that have evolved over the years but still manage to evoke fond memories from our past.
We all like to feel good. When we think about a particular time in our lives when things seemed simpler, it generally brings up bittersweet emotions that cause happiness and a longing for those times again. This is where nostalgia marketing works its magic, according to Nielsen, because typically our emotions drive the way we buy.
The key to this technique is to create an emotional hook but also offer something new. With the New Coke campaign mentioned earlier, consumers have the chance to get New Coke but are also reminded that there’s a new season of Stranger Things coming out.
So, how can you use nostalgia marketing in your own direct sales campaign efforts? If you sell the time-tested brands we mentioned earlier like Mary-Kay and The Pampered Chef, it’s easy, because these brands have been around for so long and they have a reputation for high quality. But what if you sell a brand that hasn’t been around for quite as long? You can still use nostalgia to gain new buyers. Here’s how:
Know Your Brand
Whatever the brand of products you’re selling, there is a history there. Research your company’s origins or the history of a few select products, no matter how new they are. Think about how nostalgia can work best for you when it comes to what you’ve discovered. How can you make nostalgia work best for your brand? Maybe you could commemorate a milestone or company anniversary. Or perhaps you could highlight a change in your company or one of the products you’re selling. Maybe you’re bringing back a product you haven’t sold in a while. Or you could celebrate a customer anniversary to show your appreciation for their loyalty to you.
The trick to nostalgia is that it needs to feel authentic. One of the best ways to do that is to share your own memories of the products you’re selling. Write a blog or social media post about the first time you used one of your own products, describing what drew you to it and how it made you feel. It’s a great way to help you better connect with your audience on a personal level, and it’ll help them relive their own memories about a similar connection they’ve had with the brand, especially if it’s been a while since they’ve used it.
It’s All About the Details
Nostalgia marketing works because it blends certain nuances from the past with specific elements of modern-day society. It’s great to reminisce about why we loved certain products or brands when we were younger, but why should we use them today? Think about why you and your audience loved a particular product or brand you’re selling and then emphasize how it’s been improved to meet today’s demands. The whole concept of Stranger Things works because though it’s steeped in 1980s nostalgia, we’re able to view it via modern-day streaming technology. How successful would this show be if the only way we could watch it is by VHS? About as successful as fighting off a Demogorgon, that’s how.
Nostalgia Marketing is a great way to connect with your audience. But to pull it off, you’ve got to be strategic and thoughtful, with a blend of old-school charm and modern-day convenience. Be authentic and personal but think about what your customers want. Nostalgia marketing works but not for the sake of nostalgia alone. Learn how to master this technique and you’ll win over your audience through good feelings and bittersweet memories.
Why Direct Sellers Need LinkedIn
By Charlie Moss
Using Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram are no-brainers when it comes to promoting your direct sales business. But when it comes to LinkedIn, a lot of us tend to push it to the side with the idea that this social media platform doesn’t really apply to us. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
These days, LinkedIn is quickly becoming an invaluable tool that’s being embraced by the direct sales community because of its ever-expanding set of robust social networking and business-oriented capabilities.
Betsy Hindman, founder of the B2B digital marketing firm The Hindman Company, agrees that Linkedin is on fire right now with its newsfeed views up 60% from one year ago and engagement up 50% in the same period. “These huge increases speak to the fact that Linkedin is no longer where people go only to look for a job, or to fill an open position,” she says. “Globally Linkedin users now number north of 600M, and they tend to be more educated, business decision makers with disposable income. And changes to LinkedIn’s algorithm means that when you spend time on Linkedin you can learn new skills and make important connections, not just receive a string of work anniversary and job change notifications.” Hindman stresses that Linkedin has become a strong educational resource, making it possible to learn while you build connections.
Before we list some of the reasons you should use LinkedIn, let us emphasize that, like any other social media platform, you should make sure your profile is complete and updated. John Nemo, founder of LinkedIn Riches, recommends that in the case of direct sales you should make your profile “client-facing.” This means instead of it reading like an online résumé, your profile should include the unique value and benefit your products or services bring to your clients and potential customers.
Now, what are some of the benefits of using LinkedIn for your business?
Like Facebook, LinkedIn also offers Groups, which is a great way of networking with others around specific topics. There are a lot of direct sales and product line groups to mingle with. Once you join a group, you can share resources, answer questions, and simply network. As you share great content, people will look at your profile, which might trigger conversations that could lead to valuable business relationships.
When people use LinkedIn to job hunt or for recruitment, one of the most valuable assets to have on your page is a list of recommendations from peers who worked with you in the past. The same thing goes for your business. Much like the Amazon reviews model, potential customers or business partners will scan your profile but it’s the recommendations from others who’ve done business with you or bought your products and services that will really make you stand out on LinkedIn. If you don’t have recommendations, don’t be afraid to ask current or past customers and business partners to write one for you. Remember, the more recommendations you have, the more you’ll stand out.
LinkedIn offers a great way for thought leaders to shine by allowing users to share articles. But more than that, you can also write and post articles directly onto your LinkedIn page to share with your network. You can also include images and hashtags so readers can more easily find your piece by topic. One of the best ways to increase your business is to create brand awareness and market yourself by becoming a thought leader on the services and products you sell, offering tips and advice to potential customers.
Offering a final piece of advice, Hindman says, “As a salesperson, you already know that mindset is important when introducing a new product or idea, and the users on Linkedin are there in a business mindset more so than any other platform. Set aside some of your marketing time to invest in Linkedin. Watch what the luxury retailers are doing as they start testing the waters there. Follow hashtags, companies, and leaders in the direct selling industry. Then listen, engage and build skills and connections that can help you take the next step up.”
Now that we’ve convinced you to join LinkedIn, here’s a great article by John Nemo, who we mentioned earlier in this article. He provides valuable tips and links to tools to help you generate leads and increase your sales on LinkedIn.
3 Reasons To Use Facebook Groups in Direct Marketing
By Charlie Moss
As Amanda mentioned in her intro to this newsletter, Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg announced at the F8 conference a higher focus on connecting with others on Facebook through Facebook Groups. Some of the new features to help promote Groups is a newly overhauled tab to make finding groups easier. There is also a feed just for groups so members can see recent activity within the group with the ability to participate much more easily, with more connections as well as other Facebook functions such asMarketplace and Facebook Watch. And, new features like Chat and better communication during Facebook Live will allow specific kinds of communities to better serve their members.
What are the advantages of using Facebook Groups over a Facebook business page, you may be asking?
Facebook Groups offersa lot more engagementthan a Facebook business page. In Groups, members can start more conversations in a private setting in a much more user-friendly way.
You can delve deeper into conversations in Groups than you can on a business page, offering a much more impactful relationship between you and your client or potential customer. You can also use Groups to test out new ideas and get feedbackfrom others in a private setting.
Besides creating a sense of community, Facebook Groups also creates a sense of exclusivity, making your members feel special when you approve them to join. Because members can only be active in your group if you allow them access. And we all like to feel special and part of something, don’t we?
For more on the value of using Facebook Groups for your direct sales business, the Social Media Examiner has a greatarticleand accompanying podcastabout ways to use Facebook Groups to enhance your business.
Follow these folks on Facebook and Twitter for even more advice on Facebook Groups for business:
You’ve begun to establish yourself in the direct sales world and you need to keep the momentum going. You need promotion, but promoting your business can get expensive. Luckily, we have some ideas on how to gain new audiences and create brand awareness without breaking the bank.