Why “Social Selling” Doesn’t Work

Very few salespeople have mastered selling using social media. That might be because too many social selling “experts” haven’t done anything to prove that it has actually yielded results. But the actual practitioners who tell their stories have been able to build a brand, voice, and trust from their followers.

Explaining how to make social selling successful is a challenge, in no small part because of the common misconceptions that happen in social selling. Social selling is not adding someone on social media, then hitting them up to see a demo of your product. Social selling is about what social networks in general are about: networking.

Real conversations take place in one-on-one interactions. Effective social sellers actually network and build relationships. They are never afraid to pick up the phone and have conversations. Most times they just want to help, with no agenda to get anything in return.

I’m no expert or a guru, but I love to talk about sales development and demand generation. If someone connects with me on LinkedIn, Twitter, or Snapchat, I am more than willing to talk through my experiences.

Over the last 18 months of using social media professionally, this openness has allowed me to meet hundreds of people and have two to three conversations a week with people I have never met before. I have become friends with some of the smartest sales professionals in the world. The people that others turn to for advice know me by name, allowing me to pick their brains on a whim.

I build these relationships by giving value without expecting anything in return. This type of relationship building is what social selling should be. There is a true appreciation for the people that interact with you, and it allows your brand and reputation to grow even more.

After networking, social selling is about gaining attention to educate the market on a particular topic. True social sellers constantly educate their audiences through content creation with blogs, webinars and quick videos. They share their stories out of a genuine desire for people to relate to them. This creates helps social sellers create a brand, connecting directly with the issues they are passionate about.

Gaining attention can be difficult because the Internet is full of content creators filling the world with spam. For your message to get past the crowd you must relate to your audience on a personal level by providing context to what they care about. Social sellers speak to their audiences, and not at or down to them.

Self-described gurus and experts are making the mechanics of social selling confusing. What they don’t realize is that true social sellers have likely connected with them, and are building relationships while educating them about their message through content. Maybe it is time to listen to the real social sellers instead of the “experts.”

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