Redirecting direct selling: High-touch embraces high-tech
Direct selling, defined as a sales channel without a fixed retail location, was built on the premise of leveraging an individual's social networks. This industry is being redirected by embracing social media; here, the challenge lies in providing the benefits of face-to-face selling, augmented by social media. An examination of the Direct Selling News ‘Global 100 Top Direct Sellers’ found that Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter represent the most widely employed social networks in the industry. While 76% of direct sellers utilize social media for promotional purposes, 55% use it for recruiting new distributors and 42% use it for reactive purposes. Consumers are the most popular target for social media, followed by distributors and communities. Social media has evolved as a driver of strategy, and will become even more important in the future. Improved customer relationships are developing by listening and reacting to concerns. The transparency created by social media is enhancing trust and ethical organizational cultures. Finally, consumer brand communities are emerging that increase brand value.
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- Kaplan, Andreas M. & Haenlein, Michael, 2010. "Users of the world, unite! The challenges and opportunities of Social Media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 59-68, January.
- Kietzmann, Jan H. & Hermkens, Kristopher & McCarthy, Ian P. & Silvestre, Bruno S., 2011. "Social media? Get serious! Understanding the functional building blocks of social media," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 241-251, May.
- Mangold, W. Glynn & Faulds, David J., 2009. "Social media: The new hybrid element of the promotion mix," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 52(4), pages 357-365, July.
- Hanna, Richard & Rohm, Andrew & Crittenden, Victoria L., 2011. "We're all connected: The power of the social media ecosystem," Business Horizons, Elsevier, vol. 54(3), pages 265-273, May.
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