When social media first emerged in the marketing space, many marketers did not know
how to correctly leverage the platforms. For years, traditional sales tools and messaging had
been used on billboards, print ads, and tv commercials. Never had marketers had to think
about transparency, customer conversations, and the digital space.
So, they began to leverage social media platforms as a way to push their traditional sales
messaging. As the platforms grew, content about everything and anything began to be created,
and customers began to ignore sales messages in the social space, businesses had to take a
second look at how social media could help them.
How can you avoid sounding too sales-y on social media?
1. Focus on your customer, not your business. As business owners, it's hard not to get excited and brag about yourselves. Try to avoid talking about yourself too much and instead take whatever you're trying to say and relate it back to your customers.
Consider the two examples below:
Sales-y: "New snow tires are at the shop. Only $75 plus a service fee."
Not sales-y: "We've all tackled the Cleveland winter: ice, snow, and sleet can be rough on your
tires. Our new snow tires can get you safely down the Shoreway this winter. Do you have a tip
for driving down the snowy streets of Cleveland in the winter? Comment below. To learn more
about our snow tires, visit our site: (include link).
2. Don't try to sell to your customers. Try to build a relationship with them. Customers do not
want to be sold to in the social media space. In fact, if you're too sales-y, they will most likely
ignore your content and stop following you. Instead, build a relationship with them so they
engage, keep coming back, and want to be "friends" with your business. Give them a reason to
be your friend and keep coming back.
Again, below are a couple of examples of sales-y and not sales-y language:
Sales-y: "We are open every Sunday for brunch! Come get $5 Mimosas and all you can eat
eggs and bacon."
Not sales-y: "Are you a frequent bruncher at our restaurant? Snap a photo of your favorite
brunch meal, tag us, and be entered to win $10 towards your meal. We're looking for the best
photos from our customers!"
3. Ask for your customers' opinions and thoughts. Social media platforms were designed so
customers and brands could have two-way conversations. They have given power to the
customer's and brands who ignore cusomers' desire to ask questions and provide their opinion
lose trust with them. Bring your customers into your communication and use their reviews,
opinions, and comments to reach new customers. Customers trust other customers over a
4. Communicate like a human. When writing your posts and choosing photos, be authentic.
Write like a human and use photos that don't look photoshopped or are too professionally
staged. Customers view sales copy and staged photos as fake and old-fashioned. Write from a
person's point of view, not a business point of view. Relate to your customers on a human level.
5. Show beyond the product and service. Many times, it's tempting to post a photo of your
product and service and include informative, serious copy. It's important for your customers to
understand your product and services because at the end of the day that's what you hope they
buy from you. However, posting the end result isn't enough for a customer to buy in the social
space. Social media has allowed customers to see the entire process, whether it's understanding how your product is made, learning about ingredients and distribution, or meeting
the team behind your business.
Find your story
Here are some ideas to show the entire process: Go behind the scenes. Have one of your employees take over your account for a day. Talk about your ingredients and vendors.
So how do you go about finding all these stories to talk about in the social space? Glad you asked! Here are a few ways you can identify your stories:
1. Do a walk-through of your shop/business. Walk around your entire shop and write down all the things you could talk about. Then, go through your list and brainstorm how these stories
could be executed.
2. Bring in a stranger. Find someone who is unfamiliar with your business to walk through your shop and ask questions. What do they want to know about? Write down their questions and brainstorm how you could answer them in the social space.
3. Ask your social media audience. Ask your followers what they want to learn about. Take
their comments and brainstorm ideas to bring their requests to life.
It can be difficult to get past the sales message, but it's necessary when working in the social
media space. Remember: Don't sell. Show and tell. Be a human first and a business second.
Annie Pryatel is the owner of AMP Brand Studios. Learn more about how AMP is helping small businesses succeed by clicking here.