Marketing professionals walk a fine line between sharing helpful/interesting content and selling products or services on social media networks. On one hand, you want to have a bottom line result from interacting on social media; a well defined ROI that justifies all of the time and expense put into social media marketing. On the other hand, you don’t want your brand to be perceived as spammy or self serving. If you learn the do’s and don’ts of social media selling, you can find a good balance that still provides important results.

What not to do: Don’t just post a photo and a link to a product

What to do instead: Tell the story of how your product will improve their lives

It’s one thing to show a big photo of the brand new gadget 5000 series item and another thing to show a photo of a customer using the item. Take it a step further and post a photo of your customer along with what they like best about the product. Social media is an outlet for story telling, not for outright selling. Social networks are all about connecting with other people, and you have to make a connection in order to make a sale.

What not to do: Celebrate every national holiday for paperclips, pancakes or pachyderms

What to do instead: Celebrate a select few holidays that aren’t a stretch for your business

It seems that there is a holiday for everything now. Instead of stretching to connect how a new holiday is a reason to buy your product, focus on the ones that actually are relevant to your business. Holidays can also be a good time to highlight your employees. Often overlooked, National Administrative Professionals Day can be a great holiday to celebrate your employees and give customers a peek into your office. Demonstrating this personal feel can further help you make connections with people.

What not to do: Post a feature on a product and expect organic results

What to do instead: Post a feature on a product and boost or promote

Long gone are the days where social media networks showed posts in chronological order without preference. If you have an exciting new product you want people to see, you are going to have to pay for people to see it. On Facebook you boost a post, on Pinterest you’ll promote the pin. You will have instant access to the number of impressions, clicks and comments and can compare to the post results to others that weren’t promoted. Often paid posts will be seen four or five times more than posts that are not promoted.

What not to do: Scan your feed for potential customers

What to do instead: Leverage social filtering tools to identify potential customers

Community managers spend a lot of time using social listening services to find conversations about their brand or potential customers discussing a pain point your product would solve. These services scan the entire Twittersphere, or other social network, not just the people you follow. Just by listening, you can jump in and be helpful to people on social media. You will also be able to resolve any potential customer service issues being discussed online and address them immediately before they can get out of hand.

What not to do: Post throughout the day, multiple times a day

What to do instead: Post two-five times daily depending on the channel

Nothing can be more annoying than seeing your favorite social media feed bombarded with content from just one person or entity. Unless you are a news media, there is not much reason to post more than a couple of times a day. For Facebook, this means you only need to post a couple of times a day. For others such as Pinterest, up to five times a day is acceptable. In addition, don’t just schedule your posts for every day. Try to mix in live tweets and keep up on relevant trends or new information that will be timely for your followers.

Social selling has its own unique challenges, and working with an experienced community manager can really help to boost your brand’s performance.  Finding a good balance by following these do’s and don’ts will ensure you aren’t talking at people via social channels but rather striving to be helpful.

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