We know it’s tempting… You have a few followers on social media and you just can’t wait to tell them about the amazing products and services you can offer them. Unfortunately, this hard selling approach just doesn’t fly on social media and constantly pushing the sales message and self-promoting will just alienate your audience.

The end result? An unengaged following or no followers at all!

Your social media audience is there predominantly to socialise and see what friends and family are up to – and possibly watch the occasional video of a dog eating spaghetti. Showing up in their news feed with constant promotional posts will just tick them off and cause them to unfollow you.

Hard VS soft-sell marketing 

Hard selling is when the marketer gets straight to the sales message. They are clearly there to promote their product or service and make sure you know all about it. This type of approach is typically seen with traditional advertising and promotion such as print, display ads, flyer drops, TV advertising or billboards.

Soft selling takes a softer approach and focuses on building long-term relationships, cultivating trust and nurturing the audience. 

The cold, harsh reality

Nobody would sign up to receive daily advertisements straight to their inbox or mailbox so why expect your social audience to follow you on social media to receive ‘salesy’ content that’s of no value to them?

(Side note: There is one exception to this rule – when you are offering exclusive access to in-demand product sales and discounts. If this is your strategy for social media – great, just ensure you know who you are targeting and why.)

For the majority though social media content marketing is really about building your tribe or your community. Providing these people with valuable information and using soft sell tactics to nurture them along the sales pipeline until they are ready to buy.

You are working against the algorithms

The other big reason to avoid hard selling on social media content is the most social algorithms are designed to give the user the best experience. They, therefore, give higher preference to content which they deem to be ‘good content’, this is determined using a number of factors.

One of these factors is engagement – are people engaging with your content? If they aren’t then your posts are unlikely to receive much reach (if any). This, unfortunately, means that your posts are really a big waste of your time because no one is seeing them. You may also actually be doing detriment to your reach capability by posting too much low-value/hard sell content as some platforms will penalise all of your posts’ reach.

What’s the solution?

Your social media content strategy requires a specific approach to acquire and retain an online audience.

Try implementing these tips to turn down the hard sell in social media content:

1. Offer value 

And be generous! Write about or video what you know and share it with your audience. Ensure it’s relevant to your industry or audience though. Businesses who are successful on social media offer value to their audience, rather than bombarding them with reasons why they should do business with them. By posting helpful content, readers can learn more about your area of expertise and can see that you are committed to your following as well as providing them with entertainment. If you aren’t sure where to start with this, write down the top 5 questions you are asked by your clients.

2. Show don’t tell 

Instead of telling your customers how great you are, show them. This ties in nicely with the above point on providing value, but it is also a great way to get your happy customers involved. Ask clients for video testimonials or a photo and share these stories on your social media platforms. Another way to ‘show’ and not ‘tell’ is to showcase what you do behind the scenes and give examples of performance – Facebook Live and Instagram Stories can be a great way to do this. Depending on your customers’ pain points or typical objections to doing business with you, consider how you can overcome these by demonstrating your worth.

 3. Involve your audience 

Get your audience involved in your social platform.  They won’t enjoy being talked at, but rather asked questions and responded to. This interaction is the key to success within Facebook and Instagram’s algorithm. It gives you brownie points within the algorithm and will give your content more reach and airtime in the news feed. Hard selling makes the mistake of creating distance between the message and the audience.

When creating content which is of value, you can use content from to your potential audience or ‘user generated content’. Sharing a relevant blog post or a photo from an audience member that is relevant and on brand, will make them feel recognised, and help you develop trust.

 4. Get the content ratio right 

We find that when it comes to structuring your social media content for the month the 80:20 rule is a good application. 80% value, 20% sales. It’s ok to include some hard selling messages and ask for the sale. After all, that’s why you are creating social content in the first place. The way you approach this should be subtle and conversational. You may not be asking them to buy right now but by adding a call to action, you can simply ask them to commit to your business in some way. This might be signing up for a newsletter, downloading a report, visiting your website, attending an event or telling them to give you a call or stop by your office/shop for more information.

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Need help with your digital marketing?

Chronicle Republic Communications is a boutique Sydney marketing consultancy for real estate, property and interiors professionals. We specialise in social media, content marketing, email marketing, blogging, search engine optimisation, social media advertising and much more!

If you are looking for social media for real estate, property or interior design our digital marketing experts can help you bring your brand’s story to life.