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, not least the fact that “social media is about sharing: sharing your expertise by positioning yourself or your business as the expert.” However, isn’t the reason for which more and more sales professionals share expertise online the fact that it helps them to build relationships with potential customers in a way that influences sales? As far as we’re concerned, the answer to that question is yes.
It’s all well and good to argue that rather than selling a product on social media, sales teams should talk about the wider context of 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, such conversations often involve consumers whose motive for communicating with a sales professional is the fact that they’re after information that will influence a purchasing decision.
The Link between Social Media and Sales Activity
Let’s revisit the Social Media Today article, which 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” audiences receive is often help in making informed purchasing decisions – which 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 than sharing and selling being two different things, it is the nature of sales activity that is changing thanks to social selling. In other words, prospecting is now 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.