Why selling on Social Media isn’t the same as Social Selling

Yes selling on Social Media and Social Selling aren’t the same. They are intrinsically linked yes, but the processes are different, both in time, techniques and skills required. The problem comes where people mix up the where they place the word selling. Do they place it before social or after? Yes, something so simple can completely change the meaning and the context.

Let’s start with the similarities, because frankly, that’s a much shorter list.

The similarities are that they both involve social media . . . and that’s about it.

Now the differences, of which there are definitely more.

Social Selling is a long game

Social Selling is more than just a transaction. It’s a strategy, not a one-off event. If you are looking at selling the odd couple of products on a social media platform, you are selling on social media, not social selling. Social Selling is a longer-game. Yes, it can involve shorter transactions and the selling of individual products, but that’s only a part of the strategy, not the whole strategy.

There is no set time period so how long Social Selling should take. It depends on a whole host of factors, including the prices of the goods/services, the uniqueness of the items/service, the reputation of the brand and and so on.

Those factors help you decide what tactics to use on social. Video? Polls? Creating Groups? Asking Questions? Posting perfectly filtered photos? Whatever tactics you decide to use is up to you, and this post wasn’t written to tell you which ones you should choose. Instead it’s to help you understand that Social Selling requires all of them, and maybe not just a post from each. It may take days, weeks or months.

The trick is to understand actually how long it may honestly take to convert someone to a sale. How many interactions do they need? How many touch-points are required to get them to buy into your brand, your goods and your services. Remembering that bigger ticket items may require more decision making on the part of the customer.

Don’t be naive and think that a quick discount is the only way to encourage people to buy via social media. You have to play the longer game, engage a range of tactics. That’s not all though . . .

Social Selling is social. It’s relationship building

Social Media is becoming and increasingly competitive space for  brands and businesses. With algorithm changes, increasing focus on advertisers and the like, it’s becoming harder to stand out.

That’s why there is and will continue to be a growing focus on relationships. After all, people do businesses with people, and people like brands that have faces attached or have faces that you can associate with the company.

Social Selling is a marketing strategy that does what it says on the tin. Puts social first, then follows with selling. Always being social, but never losing sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is still selling. Without the social element, you are just selling, or selling on social media.

Hopefully this is starting to clear things up.

Social Selling doesn’t have to convert on social media

Another common misconception about social selling is that it it has to purely be on social media. Social media is a medium, one of many. Customers can choose to purchase through any medium at their disposal. This could mean getting all the information and building the relationship through social, then actually converting through a website or in-store.

This does dilute the water a little bit, because what is social selling if you aren’t connecting on social? It also raises the issue over how you measure the success of your social selling strategy.

The devil is in the detail. It’s in the measurement. You need to decide how your are going to measure the conversions. Are you tracking using affiliate ID’s? bit.ly links? This will help you track link clicks to your website, then funnel conversions. You can also cross-reference these with social stats and engagement metrics. What you measure will be dependent on your business, and will depend on exactly what you want to get out of your social selling strategy.

A strategy that ties a lot of things together

It’s important to remember that this is a strategy. A collection of tactics which work in tandem to build a relationship with potentials and current customers in order for them to eventually buy your goods and/or services.

If you liked what you’ve read here, you can listen to “Social Selling” on the Marketing Buzzword Podcast with guest Nicky Kriel. She helps explain further.