DSOhhh They’re an Influencer: An In-depth Analysis of the Social Media Strategies Used by Direct Selling Distributors to Personally Brand Themselves and Build Relationships

Reyka Beth VanSickle

Name: Reyka Beth VanSickle
Major: Communication Studies
Minors: Spanish, Theatre and Dance
Advisors: Dr. Michelle Johnson, Dr. Denise Bostdorff
With social media at the fingertips of people all over the globe, many individuals have been able to gain a true influence in society through attaining an increasing group of followers on these platforms, especially those in the field of direct selling. This study examines the strategies that direct selling distributors use on social media to personally brand themselves and build relationships which result in them being successful social media influencers for their direct selling organizations. In particular, I conducted a series of 40-minute interviews where I asked various distributors about their day-to-day social media use and their social media strategies in terms of constant online presence, viewership and follower count, the platforms and distribution channels of their brand, ability to story tell and relate to others online, the influence of and connection with other users, relationship building, and interactivity. The first overall theme that surfaced from the analysis was the importance of keeping a constant presence on social media, specifically through keeping a consistent image on the platforms, utilizing a variety of features, and being active on the right platforms in the right way by understanding the platform audiences. Another theme was that these distributors build relationships with their users when maintaining a positive personal brand through the use of emojis and voice message, showcasing the unedited pieces of everyday life through different features, and the importance of other users and how their positive or negative relationship to the influencer can affect their personal brand.

Reyka Beth will be online to field comments on April 16:
noon-2pm EDT (PST 9-11am, Africa/Europe: early evening) and 4-6 pm EDT (PST 1-3pm, Africa/Europe: late evening)

Posted in I.S. Symposium 2021, Independent Study on April 3, 2021.