It seems only natural that Amway - built on networking during the last 50 years - should welcome the social media age with open arms. And the brand has recently focused on how it can best leverage Facebook to help open doors for its global network of sellers. It's a country-by-country process, best illustrated by the fact that Amway's soon-to-be-live Thailand page on the social site is one among 25 Facebook brand pages focused on a specific culture. In the coming weeks, it'll also add Malaysia and Indonesia to the mix.
Michael Edwards, director of digital and experiential marketing for the company, explained to ClickZ the importance of localizing the pages in terms of language, customs, and merchandise. Facebook marketing vendor Vitrue is helping organize his team's global social media efforts for its product brands, such as Amway, Artistry, eSpring, and Nutrilite.
"Being locally relevant is the main reason why a company like ours needs a unique Facebook footprint in many markets," Edwards said. "We look at Facebook customization in the same way that we look at the products we launch and support around the world."
For instance, in parts of Asia and Southeast Asia, skin-whitening cosmetics are among Amway's most popular products. Edwards added the products "have been researched, formulated and promoted to target a demographic for which skin pigmentation is a more prominent [concern]. So on the Amway or Artistry Thailand page, the tips, promotions, expert commentary, and posts will often...address this unique skin issue - just like our products do. Again, it's targeting our content so it's relevant and valuable to our many different audiences in different regions."
A team of roughly 30 staffers works on social media marketing for Amway. While some of its Facebook pages are managed by regional offices, others are overseen by the firm's international team. But Edwards and his team are able to keep a bird's eye view of the content the brand's creating via its social media dashboard, whether it is in the U.S., Latin America, Japan, or Australia.
Here's an example of the messaging they shepherd from afar. Half of Amway's direct sellers are under the age of 30 in Australia. There, they've developed a social media character, "Zac," to be a voice for the brand's social media efforts. The character supports direct-selling competitions on Facebook, engages event attendees on the site, and evangelizes about how social media can help individual sellers' marketing and networking efforts. For instance, "Zac" informs Facebook users about how to create groups on the platform in order to discuss business matters.
Multiple people from Amway's Australia/New Zealand division manage how the character interacts with his audience while posting items like photos of events put on by the brand. The same social media staffers author wall posts simply in the name of Amway. One from Thursday: "Happy WORLD SOCIAL MEDIA DAY! To celebrate we have come up with some exclusive offers for our Facebook fans! Simply enter the VS of the product directly into your shopping basket. Offers apply to AUS online orders only, while stocks last. BUY NOW http://social.amway.com/F8O".
"Facebook helps us tell that story like no other global platform ever has," said Edwards. "We have always - and still do - send our executives and our distributor leaders all over the world to meet distributors at every level of the business, whether they received a starter kit yesterday or 25 years ago. Now we have a way to do that online. It's transformative for us because we can provide a global view… It is a technology that connects the global, regional and local dots."
Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
June 5, 2013
1:00pm ET / 10:00am PT