In short, I have just committed what I believe to be a cardinal sin in terms of social media, content marketing… actually any form of PR at all. I have committed this to illustrate a point- it’s horrible on every level. And if it made you feel half as uncomfortable as I felt typing it, then I apologise.
How not to sell on social media
If you didn’t see anything wrong with my direct approach, then you have a little bit to learn about social media. But worry not. Because you’re here now and we’ll get it sorted. You’re going to find out how not to sell on social media. And you’re not alone if you think this is OK. It’s not, but you’re not on your own.
I’ve heard both Gary Vaynerchuk and Dan Meredith use an analogy that perfectly describes why the above is wrong. But it’s not really ‘PG’ content so we’ll go a different route. Imagine you are at a bar, or a restaurant, or a party. You walk over to someone you see and out of nowhere ask them to buy from you or do something to help you. Just because you want them to. They don’t know you. You haven’t added any value to them or their lives. You haven’t even had the courtesy to introduce yourself. How do you think that encounter will go? Do you think they’ll be reaching for their purses and wallets while asking you if you accept cards? Or do you think you’re more likely to get told where to go? Or laughed at? Or, depending what you ask, a slap in the face? I know where I’d put my money…
See, there’s a reason why you can’t just ask for what you want. It’s not socially acceptable. The clue is in the name. I mean… it’s flipping rude! Social media isn’t about saying ‘I have this – buy it’. An advert can do that. Social media is about being sociable. Finding out about your fans and followers and what makes them tick. It’s creating interesting content and tips to help support their goals and objectives. It’s about actually caring about your audience. It’s about delivering more than they could hope for and asking for nothing. You should look to make friends of your fans and followers. To forge real connections and to actually engage with them in an authentic way. And if you don’t want to, don’t be surprised to get slapped in the face. Metaphorically or otherwise!
How do you sell on social media then? If you can’t ask?!
You can ask, but you can’t ask all the time, and you can’t ask without putting in any effort. Treat your fans and followers as friends. Share things you think they might like to read or watch, create content that might be useful to them, tell them where you’re going and share information about new things you’re doing. Create polls, how tos, videos, memes… whatever appeals to your audience and strengthens your brand. You can say you have things for sale. You can share news of products and services. You can do all these things, but they mustn’t be your sole online strategy… because it won’t deliver.
If you’re looking for a little help with how to sell on social media (or how not to sell on social media!), you might find Five Ways To Grow Your Equestrian Business On Social Media a good read. Enjoy 🙂