DSA Social Media report coverOver the last decade, social media has gone from being a student’s toy to a new marketing channel to a set of tools that are integral to the new approach to social business. At TomorrowToday, we’ve tracked these developments, and always tried to help our clients stay ahead of the technology curve while at the same going beyond the hype. We’ve worked with many clients to help them shape their social media strategies.
Recently, we were approached by the Direct Selling Association of South Africa (DSA) to do an in depth report for them on the uses of social media in the direct selling industry, and to develop a manual for their many hundreds of thousands of distributors to help them use social media more effectively in building their businesses. Our Strategic Insights team  was able to deliver this report to the DSA last week. We cannot share the full report we generated, as it is proprietary to the DSA, but here is a PDF extract to provide some idea of what was produced.
As the report pointed out, what has always differentiated the Direct Selling industry is face-to-face relationships. However, almost everyone now has relationships that are partly online, even if it’s just exchanging emails with family members. Online only is a tough game. Face-to-face only has a limited future. In order to be successful in the years ahead, direct selling companies and their distributors need to learn how to integrate face-to-face and digital worlds. In particular, they need to learn how to leverage the online networking platforms provided by the Internet.
The transition into a world operated through social media has left many individuals and corporate organizations struggling to make sense of a changing world. This results in high anxiety, unnecessary resistance, and for many DSA companies, a struggle for survival and increased competition. The social networking approach that benchmarked direct selling in the past will quite simply not work in the future, and many ways in which direct selling companies are using social media right now is counterproductive and even damaging to them. The ways of engaging and relating with your marketing audience are fundamentally different as a result of social media and for the DSA this can be seen as an industry threat or new opportunity (or both).
The report that our Strategic Insights team put together involved workshops with DSA companies, interviews with key personnel locally and internationally, desk research on global direct selling best practice including accessing literature and conference content, interviews with social media experts and the inputs from our own experts on the emerging digital world of work. Over a three month period, the TomorrowToday team engaged with all the role players across the industry. Fears and concerns were raised, and these were dealt with in the final report, which turned into much more, including a manual that covers all of the main social media platforms.
We’ve done many such reports in the past, including research into the future of short-term insurance, retail, the shipping industry, payments, corporate travel and loyalty programmes, and many more. If your company would like assistance in making sense of why the world is changing and the driving forces behind these changes, and would like to understand today the impact of these disruptive trends and develop strategies that will give you a competitive advantage tomorrow, then please contact our Strategic Insights Team and find out how we can help you.
TomorrowToday provides forward-thinking insights and analysis specifically focused on the changing nature of business and work. We want to help you understand what the “new normal’ will mean for you – in your business, in your industry, to your colleagues and to your customers. Click here to read more about this case study in detail or for more case studies from the work we have done with clients.

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