There’s a lot of talk at the moment about the difference between sharing and selling. For example, a recent article published on socialmediatoday.com opens with the line “If you think social media’s about selling, think again” and goes on to argue that social media is about sharing, not selling.
So does this mean that sharing on social media and selling don’t go together? Does it mean that “social selling” is in fact an oxymoron?
Does Sharing Content Ever Lead to Sales?
The Social Media Today article highlights some key points. Including the fact that “social media is about sharing: sharing your expertise by positioning yourself or your business as the expert”. However, a reason that more and more sales professionals share expertise online is because it helps them to build relationships with potential customers. As far as we’re concerned, the answer to that question is yes.
It’s all well and good to argue that instead of selling a product on social media, sales teams should talk about the wider context and answer audience’s questions about that product. But the thing is, this activity cannot be entirely separated from the act of selling. After all, these conversations often involve consumers whose motive for communicating with a sales professional, is that they want information to influence a purchasing decision.
The Link between Social Media and Sales Activity
Now, let’s revisit the Social Media Today article. It states that “social media is a forum for conversation, for imparting information that will teach people something or help them in some way”. We couldn’t agree with this more. However, the “help” the audience receives is often for making informed purchasing decisions. This just goes to show that the sharing of information on social media is tightly linked to sales activity.
“Social selling” is not an oxymoron. But it is about favoring a “sharing mindset” over a “selling mindset”; even if a sales transaction is what both sales professionals and audiences themselves may often have in mind. Rather separating sharing and selling, it is the nature of sales activity that is changing thanks to social selling. In other words, prospecting is less about pitching and more about convincing clients through the sharing of information and expertise.
For more on social selling, read How to Share Great Content at Every Stage of the Social Selling Funnel and Social Selling and the Impact of Social Media on Sales Performance.