Most marketers are aware that social media is a necessity when it comes to reaching their target audience. But it takes a certain approach to be successful with this tool. If your social media posts have the same voice as your direct emails, you’re doing it wrong. Here’s how to get out of the hard sell mindset and slip into soft sell mode for social media.

Know What Separates Soft Selling from Hard Selling

You can’t switch gears if you don’t know the difference between the two. Basically, hard selling is direct, to the point and relies on logic and reasoning to sell a product. It points out why the readers should buy the product, reminding them that it will only be available for a limited time so they need to act fast. On the other hand, soft selling is subtler and appeals to the emotions of customers, even building relationships with them.

You can use hard sales tactics when you’re doing door-to-door sales or sending sales letters, but you can’t use the same method on social media. If you try to constantly post sales ads on Facebook or links to your site on Twitter, you will lose friends and followers fast. Instead, you need the soft sell to keep people coming back for more, and there are a few ways to do this.

Offer Value to Your Readers

Brands that are popular on social media offer something valuable to their readers. This doesn’t mean they bombard them with reasons they need to buy the product. Instead, they post helpful content that informs or entertains their audience. Some of the content might be the brand’s own, but much of it comes from another source, showing its commitment to helping readers rather than simply selling products.

For example, if you sell pet food, your social media pages should consist of content that will appeal to animal lovers. You might post an article on pet nutrition from a veterinarian’s blog, and follow that with a cute video of animals doing silly things. Once in a while, you can mix in a post about a sale you’re having or post a coupon. If you have your own blog on your site, link to your blog posts on your social media pages. As long as the content you post benefits your readers more than your business, you’re on the right track for soft selling on social media.

Listen More Than You Talk

It’s no fun to be talked at, even online, so don’t do it to your readers. Social media gives you a chance to interact with customers. When they post comments or questions on your Facebook or Instagram page, you should reply or at least “like” them. When they send you messages on Facebook, Twitter or other social networks, try to respond the same day.

For the ultimate way to engage with your readers, ask for user-generated content. This means if you own a pet food brand, you can make a post asking for pictures or videos of people with their pets, which you can then feature on your Facebook or Instagram page. Or ask for funny pet stories that you can repost. This is a free way to get more content for your pages while interacting with readers.

Know When to Use the Hard Sell

Now that you have lots of followers on social networks, you’ll likely get some customers who send messages with questions about your products. They’re clearly interested, which means you need to respond quickly with the answers they need and an easy way to buy your products, such as a link to your site.

That’s when you’ll start to see all the work of the soft sell start to pay off. As long as you keep it up, you’ll find social media to be among your best sales platforms.

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