Why You Should Avoid Selling On Social Media

Written by Matthew Parker
Print Industry Consultant
Avoid selling on social media
Have you ever been sold to at a networking event?
It’s not a great feeling. I remember when it happened to me recently. I am always interested in meeting new people and seeing if I can help them. However, on this occasion I was button-holed by someone with a different outlook on networking.
She gave me the hard-sell. She seemed determined not to let me go until I had agreed to buy something. Naturally, helping her was the last thing on my mind. I was focused on trying to make my getaway as quickly as possible. Needless to say, she failed to make the sale.
It’s very easy to make a similar impression on social media
In my last article, we focused on how to use social media to create warm prospects. The key to doing this is to create engagement. If you engage the right sort of social media connection correctly, you have a better chance of getting to a point where they will consider you in the buying decision process and you can make a sale.
Many print sales people are tempted to move straight into sales mode on social media. Here’s why this is a mistake.
Selling on social media alienates prospects
Social media by nature is about networking and sharing. Sometimes all I see on peoples’ social media streams is a series of sales pitches. If this is the case, I will not respond to invitations from them. I suspect that many others will take the same course of (in)action as me.
You are also likely to find that you lose a good number of the active connections that you currently have.
Nobody wants their social media streams clogged up with sales pitches.
So how will social media get me sales?
Remember that social media activity for a sales person is all about building a prospect pipeline. If you engage with connections effectively on social media, you will soon build up a good group of connections. Some of these connections will be open to a sales approach from you at the right time.
Gary Vaynerchuk describes this concept in his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World”. The title of his book is a metaphor for the approach he suggests social marketers take, which is to give, give, give, ask…or put differently, share great content, share great content, share great content, pitch your offering. We discuss what constitutes great content shortly.
The key is to move these connections into your sales pipeline. To do this, you should focus on moving these connections into other forms of communications. You may suggest a call, send them some marketing material or direct them to useful information on your webpage. Alternatively, you might suggest meeting them at an event or open-house.
However, to get to this point, they have to be engaged with you. That raises another question.
What sort of content gets the right level of engagement?
That’s what we’ll be looking at in my next article. In the meantime, I have a quick action point for you.
Have a look at the social media streams of a few companies in the same market as you. Can you identify any companies that have good social media content? Can you see how these companies might attract the same sort of customers that you would like to?
Also, can you identify any companies that are doing things wrong? Can you find some companies that have a constant hard sell pitch on their social media sites? It is useful to use companies like this as a model of what not to do.
After all, you don’t want to come across to your customers like the woman I met at my recent networking event.
Editor’s Note: This post is part of a larger series on effectively using social media to deliver results for your business:


Matthew Parker has been buying print for over 20 years. He’s had over 1,400 sales pitches from printers. Now he’s using that experience to help printing companies engage with their customers and sell print more profitably.  Find out more about Matthew on his site. Download his e-book “Ten Common Print Selling Errors And What To Do About Them” for free here

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