Ugh! I hate marketing sometimes! I am so tired of the same bad pitches over and over again!

I am especially calling BS on all the sales funnel, growth-hacking, money-making advertisements that I see on social media, especially Instagram. These seem to have taken over my feed and they are awful! Too vague! Too salesy! Too spammy! Every single one tries to convince me to buy a program that will give me a super secret strategy to grow my business and make a bunch of money but they basically share a long list of vague but cool sounding marking ideas to attempt to prove that they know something super secret. They do not. Then they offer it at a super reasonable price point, so they think, with a HUGE discount to entice you.

Sound familiar? Guess what? They do not have a super secret way of making oodles of money if they are pitching $27 courses on Instagram. Sorry to break it to you, but anyone who has the secret to being a millionaire, who is actually a millionaire, is consulting at much higher rates and they are not giving the same secrets away at the $27 rate. Most of the time when you buy the cheap course with all the secrets (that they won’t spell out ahead of time publicly) it’s just another pitch for their more expensive services.

And then the emails. Oh lord! One advertisement that I clicked through provided me with 27 emails in less than one week. One sent so many text ‘nudges’ in the first day that I blocked the number. I know they think they are doing social selling—and using every tech tool known to man to prove it—but it’s more like social abusing.

Everyone wants to make money. I get it. I want to make money. So much money. I want you to make so much money too. But I am here to tell you that if a person cannot tell you what they will teach you because it is a “secret,” you are being scammed. Seriously. It does not matter how many followers you have (ok maybe, if you are famous) it does not matter how many “testimonials” you share, it does not matter how urgent you make the offer (LAST CHANCE!) or how much you discount it—if you have not built credibility, connection, and compatibility with your potential customers, then it is all like water off a ducks back—especially for small business owners and solopreneurs.

Most people simply are not spending money on products and services from people or brands that they have never heard of. Yes, everyone wants to sell you their solution, product or service online—from “how to sell on Instagram without ads” (my favorite because it’s an ad on Instagram!) or “how to tell your story online” to coaching and classes—everyone is seemingly on the social selling bandwagon. Again. I love money. We should all make all of the money. But if you do not have a loyal, loving, fanbase, it all falls flat. It is incredibly hard to cold-sell anything and followers are not enough, as we all know that not all followers are customers.

what is social selling and how do you make it work for you?

Well, I can tell you what social selling IS NOT!

It is not the spammy Instagram advertisements that I noted above.

It is not the bait-and-switch LinkedIn connection move either. You know the one where someone sends a nice note to connect on LinkedIn then—whammy!—you are hit with a hard-sell in your inbox. Everyone complains about it online but oddly it still happens all of the time.

It is not my personal favorite: the sneaky MLM invite. I have nothing against direct selling—there are great products that you can enjoy from those companies. What I do have something against is the sneaky invitations about a job opportunity only to learn that the person is wanting you to pay to join their multi-level-marketing business. I have had the same conversation with several people who have tried to get me to join a membership-based products company where they pitch it like they are offering me a job and each time it comes down to the fact that, as in all MLM marketing organizations, I only make money if I sign people up.

So with all the pitfalls of social selling, is there a way to do it right? Yes!

Steps to Successful B2B Social Selling in 2021

  • Branding
  • Expertise
  • Research
  • Relationships

Branding

Prior to developing your sales pitch, you must spend time developing your brand. You must communicate and potential clients must understand who you are and what you stand for before they can ever consider a purchase from you.

Expertise

After you have developed your brand and are comfortable communicating your brand values, you must define and amplify your expertise. We know that cold-calls rarely work in B2B marketing, so a library of content, articles, and media coverage that highlight you as a thought leader will be the proof that a potential customer needs.

Research

You would not believe how many times I am pitched public relations services. Seriously. On a regular basis I receive LinkedIn messages or emails from people who want to help me get covered in the media like they do not know that is my exact business. That is what I do and I do it well. I am featured in articles all of the time. Research is the difference between offending someone and losing them forever or saving yourself time, money, and embarrassment.

Relationships

Researching someone does not mean you have a relationship. You have to begin a collaborative relationship with them and spend some time nurturing it. Once you know that a person is a reasonable potential client, do not go in for the hard sell right away.

This all sounds great, right but are you wondering how you actually do social selling? Let me give you some tips!

Tips for Successful B2B Social Selling in 2021

  1. Polish up your brand, starting with your social media.
  2. Read articles on how to sell online, such as The Sales Playbook on Hubspot.
  3. Train your staff so they represent your brand properly online.
  4. Remember that B2B social media is different than personal social media.
  5. Update your websites, blog content, and overall marketing plan.
  6. Build your thought leadership and expertise visibility by earning media coverage.
  7. Understand public relations and make a PR plan.
  8. Figure out how to track and measure results.
  9. Remember: Sharing is caring. Do not only post your own content—share other people’s content too!