From time to time it’s good to remind ourselves what the purpose of social media is. Businesses get lost somewhere along the way. They come out the other side just looking to sell on social media. There’s a very important difference between marketing and sales. Just take a look at those “Things For Sale” pages on Facebook, for example.

Social networks started with a blueprint to create a global network for like-minded people. Social media was supposed to be a means of bringing people together. This quickly became a marketing opportunity for brands and businesses. For individuals, it continues to be a way to stay in touch, share interesting content, and expand networks without needing to attend networking events.

Businesses on social media overlook this too much.

Yes, social media has become another marketing channel for brands. But the average user doesn’t see it that way. Again, that’s why “Things For Sale” pages exist. They separate the sales element from the more sought-after social interactions. Which is why, as a business, you shouldn’t try to sell on social media.

Doesn’t Everyone Sell on Social Media?

Now, initially, saying you should not sell on social media might sound counterintuitive. But what about all those social media ads and promoted posts? Aren’t those selling?

Well, yes.

But ads and promoted or sponsored posts stand out from regular status updates. Users know that they’re seeing an advert. They can’t be caught unaware, and this is critical.

If you try to sell on social media by disguising your sales pitch as a status update, you’ll rub your audience up the wrong way.

Businesses should not use their social media profiles to sell to their followers. Social media marketing and content marketing are about building relationships and providing value. Hard sells have the opposite effect.

Instead, use your social media presence to engage your followers, strike up conversations, and share valuable insight. Remember the reason why people use social media in the first place. They want to socialise and interact. Give the people what they want.

The old idiom “the customer is always right” continues to apply. More so on social media, where comments, both positive and negative, are very public and can quickly end up going viral

Therefore, it’s best to keep social media as a social touch point with your audience. Keep them interested. Remind them who you are, what you’re about, and let them make their own mind up. Show, don’t sell, on social media. 

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Gareth Alvarez
Gareth Alvarez

Gareth, Social INK’s Head of Content (sometimes playfully referred to as ‘spellcheck’), just adores words. He’s written copy for ads, websites, and blogged extensively. Content marketing is his bag. He loves getting creative with his writing.