Crowdsourcing is Key in my Social Media Based Business
Posted by Rebecca Snyder
Before I discuss crowdsourcing and its necessity in my social media based, direct sales business, let me give a bit of background. I work for Vantel Pearls as an independent consultant and team leader. This company began as an in-home party sales company much like Tupperware or Thirty-One Gifts. However, with Facebook’s invent of the Live Video Streaming feature, Vantel Pearls consultants began to take their parties from the living room to the live video platform, thus allowing them to reach an audience well outside of their local social circle.
During my live videos, the customer makes a purchase, selects the oyster they would like to open, and I shuck the oyster, live, to reveal the pearl inside. That pearl is then sent to our home office to be set into the jewelry piece they selected and they will receive their jewelry in 2-3 weeks via US Mail. It may seem simple – Hit the “Go Live” button and voila, everyone in the USA sees your party, hops on, and makes a purchase! Right? Well, no. As a matter of fact, Facebook algorithms make it virtually impossible to reach more than a small handful of even your Facebook friend’s list, much less those outside of your circle. This is what makes crowdsourcing so important in my business.
Mary Chayco’s book SuperConnected: The Internet, Digital Media, & Techno-Social Life discusses crowdsourcing in depth in Chapter 4. She says, ” Online attention can take the shape of a single glance at a photo or a more active step: a like, a follow, a share, a comment” (76). It takes time and effort to build a social media presence. My business began with my local social circle and a select few of my Facebook friends who had interest in the product and experience I was selling. I encouraged those friends to host a party with me; they became the “hostess” with the promise of earning free jewelry based upon the purchases made by their friends and family (their circle). They invited these friends and family members to the party and by doing so, increased my “circle” a bit more.
During my live parties, I spend time engaging with my customers and making sure they are having fun. I wear silly hats, play games, bring on special guests and offer prizes to buyers as well as to people who SHARE my video on their personal pages.
By having them comment a phrase with the hashtag sign in front of it (#Just1morepearl), I am able to randomly choose a “Share Winner” though FB feature called “Woobox.” I ask that they make all shares public so that I can verify the share was made once the winner is chosen.
Mary Chayco says, “This is, indeed, a kind of economy, and it is one that has come to matter to many of us. Attention is attracted as something shared is acknowledged online. A kind of compensation follows in the form of likes, follows and comments. More tangible rewards like social connections, jobs, and money can even follow” (76). Facebook allows me to keep track of likes, shares, and follows via “Insights” that can be found on my Facebook Business Page. It keeps track of the trends week-by-week so I can see the ebbs and flows in the number of people who are seeing and interacting with my page.
Mary Chayco points out that, “Attention online is subject to increasing returns. That is, the more one has of it, the easier it is to get more. …To succeed in such an economy, it helps to create or re-mix attention getting content and then to rapidly capitalize on bursts of attention as soon as they occur in hopes they will follow back and engage in return” (76). This is something I find myself doing often. When I change the times I go live, or the prizes I give away on a given night, sometimes my live viewers will jump dramatically. When they do, I immediately take that cue to mention liking and following my page, joining my VIP group, or signing up to receive my text notifications. I rev up the energy, start singing – anything to get those people to take it one step further and like or follow my page in hopes that they will, over time, see me pop up in their feed and ultimately, become interested enough to make a purchase.
However, all of this has been more that I can do alone. Around Christmas, I enlisted the help of four “Admins” to help me run my Facebook Business and VIP pages. These four individuals are responsible for making posts to increase interaction on my pages during times when I am not live, booting trolls from my live videos who, as Mary Chaco describes them, are “individuals who… “hijack”…and provide extreme, irrelevant responses in an attempt to pull focus away from the…original intent” (74), and sharing my live videos in groups to increase viewers. I suppose you could say I outsourced crowdsourcing.
In March, Vantel Pearls sent me to Rivera Maya, Mexico in an all expense paid trip for being in the 125 top in sales. My gratitude went to my customers, because, without their constant shares, post interactions, and purchases, I would not have a business. While I am certainly not famous nor the absolute top seller in the company, I count my business a success because of my customers’, Admins’, followers’ willingness to share me with their friends and family – their willingness to crowdsource!
About Rebecca SnyderI am a grad student at UW Stout, a mom to 2 sons (one grown, one almost grown), a homeschool mom, and a pearl girl @ Vantel Pearls. #gradschoolpearlgirl
This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.