Author: Ben Woodward
Published: 27 NOV 2020

Predicting demand and being ahead of the curve regarding future trends is something all Network Marketing companies aspire to do. It instills confidence in the field and it empowers the business to maintain relevance year after year. With this in mind, I want to look specifically at Distributor behavior and how it will evolve in the near future. Where will 2021 take Distributors? How will they act differently? What will they look for when it comes to running their business and getting the word out on their opportunity? Here are four critical trends in behavior that we should anticipate, prepare for, and engage with.

Snackable Video

Social media video is the most engaging digital content available. Because it is so accessible and creatable, it has now become a core part of social feeds. The boom in TikTok and Instagram’s Reels feature have added to this incredibly popular video feature. Expect to see more and more Network Marketers engaging their audiences, prospects, teams, and customers with this great tool – short, punchy, bite-sized videos. As a business, look at ways to repurpose content for Instagram Reels and short, attractive videos that can be shared and promoted easily.

Social Commerce

Almost half the world is on social media now; this means the drive to e-commerce purchases will be the next big step for social platforms. Already, we have Facebook Shops and Instagram Shops. This makes online purchases quick, convenient, and hassle-free. What does this mean for MLM? It means companies should expect higher demands from the field on simple online shopping experiences for their customers. The competition is fierce in this space. Research shows that:

  • 71% of consumers turn to social media for inspiration in their shopping decisions.
  • 55% of online shoppers use social media channels now.

Big brands like Levi’s and Clothing the Gap now sell through Pinterest Catalogues, Facebook Shops, and Instagram Shops. A few quick clicks and inspiration turn into a convenient purchase. What will your business do to move forwards in this space?

Live Video

In 2019, internet users watched an incredible 1.1 billion hours of live video! One in five Facebook videos are live streams, and 1 million Instagram users are watching live video every day. Other platforms are jumping on board with the trend, such as YouTube and LinkedIn. Distributors will use this platform more and more to host events, sell products, train teams, and celebrate successes. It is becoming far more potent than conventional meetings. Facebook Live, for example, can remain on a host’s page long after the event has ended, attracting more participants, comments, and responses than in-home meetings. Where once a Distributor may have 20 people in their living room, a live event can garner well over 100, 200, or even over 1000 views. Simply put, Live Video grabs people’s attention.

Cause-Related Content

2020 has seen a significant spike in cause-related social content. Topics such as:

  • Black Lives Matter
  • Feminism
  • Climate Change
  • COVID-19
  • Mental Health
  • Human Rights

and so much more are being spoken of with louder voices and greater convictions. Big brands are getting behind this, and awareness of critical topics is being spread faster than ever before. Distributors will want to link critical social issues with your business opportunity and product line more and more to show relevance, leadership, sincerity, and value. This will require company engagement to ensure training is provided and enthusiasm isn’t replaced with false claims. We have seen many companies this year, for example, get challenged by the FTC due to Distributors sharing product solutions for the pandemic. So we need to be cautious as well as great brand ambassadors here.

All in all, the billions of social media users around the world tell us one critical thing: if we want more Customers and Distributors in our business, we need to go to where they are – Social Media platforms. We must share the same space and engage them. And in 2021, Social Media is the space where Distributors will make that happen more than ever before.

This migration to social selling, Live Video, snackable video bites, and cause-related messaging is already underway. Early adopters have been at this for a while, and 2020 has ignited many new hearts to engage in this space. Now, as it normalizes and becomes more mainstream, the numbers will grow significantly, and some traditional Distributor practices and behaviors will see their end.

Ben Woodward is an Associate with DiSSECT Consulting, best-selling author, top-ranking field leader, and former MLM company President.