Stop Being Social and Start Selling

stop being social and start selling


We’ve all heard the 80/20 rule in marketing, right? It suggests that when posting to social media, 80% of the posts you share need to be about others and only 20% should be about yourself.

The point is that you don’t want to be too promotional, and nobody wants to listen to someone who only talks about himself; we all know that person, right?

The problem is, the pendulum has swung so far that business owners are gun shy when it comes to letting their readers know what they do for a living and what their products and services are. They don’t want to offend anyone.

Look, you’re in business to sell products, and you’re on social to let people know you have products for sale. Bottom line.

Of course we’re here to make friends, engage, and build relationships. We’re here to be social. But at the end of the day, if you’ve spent all your time on social chatting and making friends and having great conversations — while your shop is empty and the cash register’s dusty — who’s going to pay the rent, who’s going to feed the kids, and who’s going to buy mama a new pair of shoes?

You’re in business to sell products; You’re on social to let people know you have products for sale.Click To Tweet

I don’t remember exactly when it was, but it was like week 21, or so, of the On Track Tips weekly show. Afterwards, I started talking with one of our regular viewers and he said, “Wow, Jason, you really know a lot about business and social media, what exactly do you do for a living?”

“What! Are you kidding me? You’ve watched 20 episodes, and you still don’t know what I do?” I was ticked. “Weren’t you watching?”

Then it hit me: It’s not my readers’ fault they don’t know what I do for a living. It’s mine.

I realised that I was so afraid of being seen as an aggressive marketer, I wanted to be sure to offer tons of value for free and build an audience, and never stopped to think that this audience is just being entertained and not being informed … informed about what exactly it is that I do in business and what value I have to offer them and their work.

Think about five of the people you talk to most on social every day. Do you know what they do for a living? Do you know what products and services they offer? It’s one thing to know that they’re a blogger and they blog about a certain topic, but what product do they have for sale?

It’s not your readers’ fault they don’t know what you do for a living. It’s yours.Click To Tweet

I can tell you that when I thought of it, on the spot, out of the five people that came to mind first, I only knew what three of them did. One of them, I had a pretty good idea, and the fifth, I didn’t have a clue.

I had to go to his “About page” and look him up. And even there, the description told me about him and not about his services. He had a link to his website, again more information about him, in general … but it took some digging to find out how I could go about hiring him.

How many sales did we miss because we played it too cool?

I have to give a shout-out to one of my my good friends, Stephan Hovnanian. First if you follow him, there’s no doubt about what he does for a living. Next, go look at his About page on G+ … and you will immediately know what he has for sale. You’ll also see a link. That link takes you straight to a landing page, where you can easily buy his products and services.

Your homework is to go think about the last 10 posts you made on social media. Do any of them offer your friends and followers a chance to hire you? Do they quickly and easily lead to a call-to-action, where readers can decide if your services are for them?

And what about your “About” section? Does it tell me how I can hire you?

It should.

photo credit: garryknight via photopin cc

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Host of "Get on Track, Stay on Track" weekly interview series, helping your small business one expert at a time.And CEO of Wiser Sites, a general contractor and marketing agency - connecting your customers with your products.

7 Comments on “Stop Being Social and Start Selling

  1. Jason, thanks SO much for this post and video. I’ve been meaning to leave a comment for a while because it really resonated with me. I appreciate your straight talking in this video and the way you get straight to the point (and cut through all the fuzzy “advice” we see every day on the social web). At first it feels as if what you say is controversial, but of course not! It just shows how far we can all stray from just basic common sense.
    I kept on nodding my head all the way through, whilst feeling slightly guilty. I love being social, I love meeting new people on social and I’ve met some amazing people who have become friends and who have helped me grow my business. However I have not done a good job of explaining what I actually do. I hate to admit it, but I needed to hear your video. I now plan on doing something about it! Thanks again! :-)

    • Well this is great to hear Ian. You know it’s one of those things like you say, we can easily lose sight of. Let’s face it social is fun, easy, and has a very high perceived value. I am not opposed to social in any way, but I think it can too easily take control of our business and we lose touch with some of the other areas that need attending. Like sales ;)

  2. Very interesting article! I’m glad I read it. For now, I don’t sell anything but that’s gonna change soon…and I will promote myself and make people know what are my products & services.

  3. Well, finally somebody who says it!
    I have been thinking this way for some time now.

    For small businesses I think it is really difficult to be on social media just for the sake of chatting and hoping that other people will be curious enough to look at what you sell.
    Because you “are not allowed’ to sell yourself.

    Would not be easier if all of us talk about our products instead of writing and endlessly resharing ‘valuable content’?

    And how much valuable content can be written? There is already a lot on the internet so why should I try to write something new, when there is nothing new?

    • Yeah that notion of “not allowed to sell yourself” has gone way too far. And of course there is a balance between too much promotion and not enough, I get that. Thanks for the support on the point of this post Angela.

      I would push back on your “nothing new” comment though. We are in an ever evolving space where things change daily. The key word here is “valuable” meaning that if it’s just repeating something that has already been said an adds no value, it only adds to the white noise.

  4. Wow! Never thought that way. Though my blog tells people what I do, but it hardly makes them think of taking any services.
    I definitely need to do a lot of homework.

    • I am so glad you liked this post. So much so I see you shared it on all networks. I really appreciate this Khushboo.

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