Zen and the Art of Selling Without Selling

When it comes to your social media presence, authenticity is key. People go to social media to be social (it’s right there in the name) and interact with people. No one opens up Twitter or Facebook and says, “Gee, I hope I get to see a lot of ads today!”

(Well, okay, marketing professionals do that, but only so we can see what other people are doing.)

The trick to developing an authentic tone on social media and subsequently making a lot of sales is to sell without selling, which sounds more like a zen koan than actual advice, but trust us, it works. 

Knowing You Have a Problem

The first step in overcoming any problem is knowing you have one. So how do you know if your social media posts sound too “salesy”? There are two surefire methods for figuring it out:

  1. If you’re asking the question, there’s a good chance you already know the answer is yes. Humans are excellent at recognizing patterns, and the old “I know it when I see it” method of identifying problems works well in this instance.
  2. If you read your copy out loud and you can imagine the words “SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SALE! SALE! SALE!” at any point during your reading, you probably sound too salesy.

“I’m trying to sell products,” you might say. “What’s the problem with sounding like a salesperson?”

When you’re on a sales call, the answer is absolutely nothing. That’s expected. But on social media, you’re inserting yourself into someone’s leisure time. Those fifteen minutes they use to browse Instagram while they wait for their spaghetti water to boil, or the five minutes they spend waiting in line at the grocery store. If you sound like a salesperson in those situations, there is a higher than likely chance your followers will ignore you and scroll on by your posts. Worse yet, they could unfollow you! 

Taking a more casual tone gets you over that initial hurdle, and it’s not as hard to do as you might think!

Selling Without Selling

“What’s my motivation?!” You hear actors talking about their characters’ motivations all the time. It’s sort of a joke on TV shows, but it’s actually good advice when you’re crafting social posts.

If you write your post with the mindset of “I want to sell this thing” then your copy is going to come out sounding very salesy.

However, if you approach the post with an attitude of excitement/enthusiasm – for example, “Thing is so cool, let me show you why!” Or if you come at it from an education angle: “Did you know this trend is hot right now? You can see it here, here, and here. Here’s how you can take advantage of the trend.” Then you’ll come across as sounding enthusiastic or knowledgeable and not like a car ad.

Stay away from talking about costs. Instead, focus on the experience, the trends, and the potential your products will provide or create or the problem they could solve.

Once you’ve crafted your authentic post copy, go back to your digital catalogs and flyers and choose the best possible images. You’re looking for what we like to call a “thumb stopper.” Something that will make them stop their scroll and focus on your post. 

Lifestyle photography should be your go-to option. They’re the perfect melding of experience, potential, and product, but if that’s not an option look for one really cool product shot and clip that.

You can check out our Back to Basics: All About ZOOMcatalogs to learn more about our built-in snip image tool.

Social Media is a Telephone Not a TV

Don’t be afraid to skip product altogether! Instead, show off your company culture, ask a question, provide a testimonial or a statistic. Those breaks will show that you aren’t just there for the sale, but there to support your audience and give them the information they may not have or the inspiration they are looking for. 

Consumers like to buy from people they like. As salespeople, we always want to build a relationship. That’s why there needs to be interaction. Carve out time in your schedule to scroll your own feed and like, comment, and celebrate your clients, colleagues, and partners. Those interactions, when done in an authentic way, will make you more than a sales rep – they’ll make you a friend. And THAT is relationship-building gold. 

Stay tuned for more tips and tricks from our marketing department, and in the meantime, check out our other articles on social media: