Social media is not for selling, but at the same time, it might very well be the most effective way to get your ideas out to a large audience. But rather than posting endless sales pitches to Facebook and twitter, you should be passing along useful information and content that applies to your company, line of work or industry.
For those who are new to social media, the temptation is to blast the feeds with what you think are amazing sales pitches, sure to get the attention of everybody following you on Twitter or Facebook. Seems so logical to the old-school marketing person. It’s free! It takes crazy money to advertise on TV, and the more your commercial (or “advert” for our silly Brit friends and bosses…) airs, the better right? Nothing could be more untrue and harmful to your reputation online than using (or abusing) social media for blatant advertising.
The biggest hint of all is right there in the name…. “social” media. Treat it like a social gathering, a neighborhood picnic, or cocktail party basically. How quickly would you find yourself standing alone if you approached everybody you were meeting for the first time, extended your hand and the first words out of your mouth were “I really want you to buy some life insurance from me right now”? Pretty soon people would be avoiding you like last weeks sushi.
Treat social media the same way you do any social gathering. Introduce yourself, make sure everybody knows what you do (the best way is to completely fill out your profile with what you do and how to contact you), engage people in a way that will make you seem interesting (typically let them talk about themselves and respond to them… about them) and then offer helpful and useful information. Make everything you share about your business or line of work interesting. If you are in insurance, share stories, helpful tips, ideas… things like that, but don’t sell. The fact is, that you are selling by not selling. You are selling your personality and building relationships and most of all trust. Build the relationships so strong that your followers would not even consider doing business with anybody else when the time comes for them to need or want your product or service.
The real beauty of social media is that, when one of your followers does business with you, they will start selling for you. They will post their experience all over Facebook and Twitter… and that is a beautiful thing!