How To Use Social Media to Build Relationships, Not Sales
Photo: Kayla Butler via Ivory Mix & Canva

How To Use Social Media to Build Relationships, Not Sales

There are 50 million small business pages on Facebook. That’s a lot of voices trying to be heard. Add to that the fact that most people are on social media to be social, and it becomes clear that hard selling on social media isn’t the way to go. 

So what is? Social selling. 

Social selling is a softer approach that can generate many more sales than a hard sell can. It’s an approach that requires you to spend a bit more time on social media but ultimately positions you as an authority who cares about their customers. 

How do you do it? 

Share Quality, Relevant Content

It’s tempting to want to share only your own content or push your own products. Social media is about connections, about caring, and continuously promoting your own products or material comes across as selfish. 

Instead, provide a mix of your own content and products along with content produced by others that are relevant to your industry. You don’t need or want to share material from your competitors, of course. But there is always content available from others that can provide value to your customers. By sharing it, you show that you care about them and their needs. 

Interact and Make Connections

While you definitely want to share content, you also want to interact with customers. If they comment on something you’ve shared, reply to that comment. Thank them for reviews they’ve taken the time to post. Follow them back on platforms like Twitter, and when you see something they’ve shared that you can offer advice, suggestions, or even a joke, reply. 

These interactions make you feel more like a friend than a brand, and that can make the difference when it comes time to buy what you sell. You’ll be more likely to come to mind with a smile. 

Use the Information You Get

Think about the information you can mine from what people willingly share in their profiles and their posts. 

You can learn: 

  • their relationship status
  • if they have kids, and how many
  • industry and employer
  • where they live
  • hobbies
  • relatives and friends
  • problems

Use this information to your advantage. If you’re a startup, it can help you narrow the demographics of your target consumer. If you’ve been around longer, it can help you figure out common problems your target customer has so you can reach more of them. Don’t hesitate to poke around at the publicly available information people provide on social media to learn more about them and, as a result, the people you’re trying to reach. 

It’s About Connecting, Not Selling

In the end, social media and social selling are about building relationships. By building relationships, you position yourself to be an authority that the consumer trusts. When they need what you provide, whether it’s a product or a service, the relationship you’ve built is what will get you the sale. 

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