5 Social Selling Blunders to Avoid

by Gerry Moran

Social selling is a lot like dating and dancing, if you really think about it.

Learning to dance was the best thing I ever did in high school! By learning to dance, I eased my way into many a first date! Who wants to say yes to a dorky sophomore in high school if there is nothing in common. Not even knowing if he knows how to do that Saturday Night Fever Dance. “Dancing” with your prospect with social media is required before you start to “date” them!

Gartner reports that 85% of businesses fail to utilize social media in B2B marketing and communication. They are creating content that does not translate into shareable content on social media. However, the content still gets shared. It’s driving away B2B buyers. 

3 Ways B2B Buyers Use Social Media

Also, a recent Gartner research report show us social media is used at each stage in the buying process:

  • 46% of B2B buyers use social media for early-stage buyer’s journey tasks. They use social media to learn about different solutions. They want to solve their unique problem or frame their opportunity.
  • 40% use of them use it for middle-stage tasks such as comparing different solutions.
  • 35% use it for late-stage tasks. They use social media to identify need-to-know information regarding potential solutions before finally making a purchase. 

Source: Gartner

These three statistics very plainly show that if B2B buyers are using social media. They use it in three different parts of the sales process. And every salesperson, marketer, and thought leader needs to think about creating content for social media. Content that’s socially consumable messaging for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

You CANNOT make mistakes with your social selling, or you may not meet your goals! So, here are then social selling mistakes to avoid to help you be successful!

How to Avoid 5 Social Selling Mistakes

1. Don’t ask for the demo or appointment with the first connection —it’s bad social selling form

Ugh! You need to ‘dance’ before you ask someone out on a date! We need to add value first, be an available resource, and let the customer ask (early) for the demo! Be smart, savvy, and needs-oriented when you start to engage and “dance” with a prospect. Triangulate your activity by getting on your client’s radar with a little bit of LinkedIn knowledge and then a retweet. Build that authentic, relatively speaking, relationship by adding value and let THEM ask you for a demo. Unless you are on your 20th message, and then it’s OK!

Your relationship can start with a tweet and also end with a tweet. Avoid that.

2. Look the part — refresh your stale LinkedIn profile

Nothing looks worse than a bad social media profile. Especially one with a photo with a significant other, your dog, or your boat. Update your profile or contact us for some ideas on some quick fixes! Remember the first thing that customers and prospects do when they meet you or take your call on the phone? They check out your social profile! So, make an excellent first impression!

Every salesperson, marketer, and thought leader needs to think about creating content for social media. Content that’s socially consumable messaging for each stage of the buyer’s journey.

Gerry Moran

3. Avoid sending a standard LinkedIn request

You can’t kick off a relationship with a standard request. Use LinkedIn’s connection request feature to personalize and strike a chord with your new-found business contact. Heck, when people reach out to me, I even respond to them to tell them how much I look forward to networking with them and then add a link like “check out my blog at marketingthink.com.”

4. Don’t use the standard copy when trying to connect with someone on LinkedIn!

‘Flirt’ a little with your connection! Do your due diligence and comment on their blog. Ask them or answer their question on a LinkedIn Group. And follow and list them on Twitter and retweet their tweets! These are sure-fire ways to get on their radar and flirt with them!

Use mentions, RTs, and favorites to get the attention and to “flirt” with your prospects.

5. Don’t ignore cries for help!

Your customers may just need to listen and respond to them! If you react to these cries, then you are worth your weight in gold to him or her.

Listen for “help me” triggers and respond right away to your customers and prospects!

3 More Ideas to Help You Succeed at Social Selling

Do you have a few social selling mistakes to avoid? If so, please comment on this blog post or reach out directly to me at gerry@marketingthink.com.

Now, put on these social media dancing shoes and work on your steps to avoid any mistakes! It is easy! Good luck with social selling!

NOTE. This blog post was originally published on January 28, 2013, as 5 Social Selling Mistakes to Avoid. It was refreshed on February 9, 2021.

You CANNOT make mistakes with your social selling, or you may not meet your goals! So, hereare then social selling mistakes to avoid to help you be successful!5 Social Selling Mistakes to Avoid1.Don’t ask for the demo or appointment! Ugh! You need to ‘dance’ before you ask someone out on a date! We need to add value first, be an available resource, and let the customer ask (early) for the demo! Be smart, savvy, and needs-oriented when you start toengage and “dance” with a prospect. Triangulate your activity by getting on your client’s radar with a little bit of LinkedIn knowledge and then a retweet. Build that authentic, relatively speaking, relationship by adding value and let THEM ask you for a demo. Unless you are on your 20th message, and then it’s OK!Your relationship can start with a tweet and also end with a tweet. Avoid that.2.Refresh your low or stale social profile. Nothing looks worse than a bad social media profile. Especially one with a photo with a significant other, your dog, or your boat. Update your profile or contact us for some ideas on some quick fixes! Remember the firstthing that customers and prospects do when they meet you or take your call on the phone? They check out your social profile! So, make an excellent first impression!3.3. Avoid sending a standard LinkedIn request. You can’t kick off a relationship with a standard request. Use LinkedIn’s connection request feature to personalize and strike a chord with your new-found business contact. Heck, when people reach out to me, I even respond to them to tell them how much I look forward to networking with them and then add a link like “check out my blog atmarketingthink.com.”Don’t use the standard copy when trying to connect with someone on LinkedIn!4. ‘Flirt’ a little with your connection! Do your due diligence and comment on their blog. Ask them or answer their question on a LinkedIn Group. And follow and list them on Twitter and retweet their tweets! These are sure-fire ways to get on their radar and flirt with them!Use mentions, RTs, and favorites to get the attention and to “flirt” with your prospects5. Don’t ignore cries for help! Your customers may just need to listen and respond to them! If you react to these cries, then you are worth your weight in gold to him or her.Listen for “help me” triggers and respond right away to your customers and prospects!

Gerry Moran is a social media and content marketing strategist who's worked for large global brands and digital agencies. He's spent significant time in hands-on marketing leadership roles with HBO, IKEA, Ralston Purina, Kodak, and numerous digital agencies. He spent his last ten years working at SAP and Cognizant, where he built their content marketing operating models, developed social media training programs, and helped thousands with their LinkedIn makeovers and personal branding strategies.

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