10 Things You Should Not Say to Buyers on Social Media

I get it. Talking to buyers is tough, and it seems even tougher on social media.

On Twitter and LinkedIn, you want to foster conversation. You want to move buyers along their journey. And you don’t want to say something publicly that brings the conversation to a screeching halt.

What might those conversation killers be? Check out these 10 phrases that buyers wish they didn’t hear on social media.

Don’t say: “Are you the decision-maker?”

Yuck. Don’t BANT qualify your connections on social media. Decision-makers use social media to deepen relationships, learn, and be entertained – not answer your pre-sales questions.

Besides, if you’re socially savvy, you should be able to leverage Twitter or LinkedIn to unearth the decision-maker’s name.

Don’t say: “I saw on Instagram that you had a crazy, drunken weekend in Vegas.”

Hmm… It sounds like the Vegas party animal needs to change his privacy settings on Instagram, but it’s not your place to tell him that.

Just because something is public on the internet doesn’t make it fodder for a business conversation. Getting too personal with someone makes you sound unprofessional.

Bonus tip: It’s probably not a good idea to favorite those debaucherous photos on Instagram, either.

Don’t say: “Do you want to buy my product?” [to everyone who accepts your LinkedIn connection request]

Accepting a connection request is not a sales trigger. It’s an invitation to start a conversation and build a relationship that could, one day, end in a sale.

Don’t say: [in response to tweets/comments directed at a competitor] “You can do that better with our product.”

On Twitter, you can track what people are saying to your competitors. On LinkedIn, you can look at the comments on your competitors’ business pages.

It’s tempting to dig through those comments and tweets and insert your company into the conversation. “Hey Alex! You’ll be a happier customer with my company! Why don’t you check us out?”

In internet speak, this is called trolling. No one likes trolls on the internet. Avoid butting into your competition’s conversations.

Don’t say: “Trust me.”

The phrase makes you sound smarmy.

Everything you do on social media should make you look trustworthy – from your profile picture to providing the best content from around the web. You shouldn’t have to tell people to trust you. They should know that they can trust you – based on your interactions.

Don’t say: [publicly] “What’s your e-mail address?”

If you think it’s time to take a conversation “offline,” it’s okay to ask for someone’s e-mail. But don’t request your prospect’s contact info through the comments section on LinkedIn or through a tweet.

Use a more private method – like a direct message on Twitter or a LinkedIn message.

Don’t say: “I can show you a great way to save money.”

There’s a lot of spam on social media. Every day, I receive a tweet or a LinkedIn message with an offer that sounds too good to be true, and I’m sure that you have a similar experience. As a salesperson, you have to separate yourself from the spammers.

If you sound like someone who’s offering business miracles, you won’t win the trust of a potential buyer. Instead of offering people unbelievable deals, offer them content. Educate them. Entertain them. Delight them. Inspire them.

Don’t say: “Can I give you a demo today?” [to everyone who likes, favorites, or comments]

A comment, a like, a favorite – those are not indications that someone wants to see your product. Instead, they’re indicators that you’re engaging your connections on social. Keep it up!

Don’t say: “Nice profile picture.”

LinkedIn and Twitter are not dating sites. You wouldn’t walk up to someone at a business cocktail hour and say, “You have beautiful eyes.” That’d be creepy. Don’t be creepy on social media, either.

Don’t: Retweet, retweet, retweet, retweet, retweet. Favorite, favorite, favorite, favorite.

Would you call a buyer when you wake up, again at noon, and then one more time before going to bed? That’d be overkill. The same is true of social media. Don’t be overzealous. Don’t retweet everything someone says. Don’t favorite everything another person says.

To Sum Up…

Buyers don’t mind speaking with salespeople on social media. But salespeople have to understand what buyers want. Buyers want to be educated, entertained, delighted, and inspired. And it’s a salesperson’s responsibility to keep conversations professional, to build trust, and to foster relationships rather than sell the product.

To help you learn more about the basics of social selling, we created an e-book on the subject. Download our primer on social selling to learn why you need social selling and how it works.

Image credit: Mateus Lunardi Dutra on Flickr.

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