How Not to Sound Like a Pushy Sales Rep on Social Media

Once sales reps take the leap and embrace social selling, a plethora of questions will spring up. They might wonder which networks they should use. They might wonder how often they post. And they’ll certainly wonder how to craft the perfect social post.

The first rule of crafting a social post is this: Don’t sound like a pushy sales rep. For some people, that’s easier said than done. That’s why we compiled a list of tips that will help reps write better social updates. Good luck!

1. Don’t Push Your Product and Services on Social

Adopting a new mindset is one of the biggest challenges for many sales reps. Nonetheless, sales reps must take this step if they want to thrive in today’s buyer-driven world. Don’t believe me? Take a look at the stats:

Here’s why people use social media while they’re at work:

No where does it say that people use social media to receive sales pitches. That begs the question: Why do sales reps continue to push their products and services on LinkedIn and Twitter? Why don’t reps give buyers what they want, namely pitch-free interactions?

2. Focus on Helping Others

Social media users can tell when you’re in it for yourself, and it irks them. Your buyers are looking to connect with people who want to get to know them, help them, and understand their business.

In fact, the book The Challenger Customer dives into this question. The CEB found that the best sales reps used social media to get into their accounts earlier:

More specifically, the best sales reps use social to:

  • Connect with potential customers
  • Share points of view valuable to customers
  • Generate leads

In other words, social sellers aren’t just chatting with friends on Facebook or posting hilarious animated gifs from BuzzFeed. Instead, they are actively positioning themselves as resources of information on social media.

3. Be True to Who You Are

Your buyers are savvy folks, and they’ll see through your attempts to be someone you’re not on social media. Too often, sales reps find a social media “influencer” and try to copy that person’s style. And too often, that strategy fails them.

Why? Because the influencer’s personality does not match their own. If you don’t consider yourself a particularly funny person, you don’t need to be a Twitter comedian. If you don’t consider yourself a philosophical person, you don’t need to tweet quotes of the day and pithy bits of wisdom.

Take the time to think about who you are and craft an authentic version of yourself online.

4. The Batman Rule: Use Colloquialisms

Do you remember the Batman TV show from the 1960s? It was laden with exclamations like Zzonk! and Kapow!

Granted, few people say the words “Zzonk” and “Kapow” in real life. Nevertheless, there’s a lesson we can glean from those silly pop art exclamations: Don’t be afraid to use exclamations and colloquialisms.

When I say that, I don’t mean exclamations like, “This is the greatest offer ever!!!” That makes you look like an internet spammer.(See the first tip in this post.) Rather, I mean phrases like:

  • OK!
  • Y’all
  • Dang!
  • Geez!
  • Ain’t
  • Gotcha
  • My bad

Colloquial terms help you sound more human and more approachable on social. Give ’em a try.

5. Use Sentence Fragments on Occasion

Ignore whatever your high school English teacher told you. On social media, it’s okay to use sentence fragments. Got it?

When you write only in complete sentences, your tweets and LinkedIn updates tend to sound academic and stilted – like your marketing department wrote them for you. Sentence fragments help you sound more conversational.

Here are a few phrases you can use and modify:

  • Curious if anyone else has tried…
  • Just sent my first tweet…
  • Want to do…?
  • Not surprising: CMOs need to be more active on social [Link to article]

6. Avoid Jargon and Flowery Language, Especially in Your LinkedIn Headline

As a sales rep, your LinkedIn headline should explain how you help your customers. Sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, many sales reps struggle with this part.

Some sales reps try to stand out by using fashionable terms like “guru,” “ninja,” or “rockstar.” Those words make LinkedIn users roll their eyes.

Other sales reps try to sound too grandiose or too trendy, and they end up saying nothing. For example, their headline reads “Helping the tech sector generate revenue through big data.” Do you have any idea what that person does? I sure don’t.

Instead, be more direct. For example, you might write, “Fundraising consultant who helps major non-profits raise more money.” Do you have a pretty good idea of what this person does after reading that headline? I do!

When in doubt, run your headline by someone who doesn’t work for your company. Ask them if they understand how you help your buyers. If they can’t decipher what you do, go back to the drawing board.

If you’re new to social selling, consider reading your posts aloud before you post. It’ll give you an idea of how your posts will sound to other people. Ask yourself whether you sound like…

If you answered “yes” to any of those questions, don’t hit send. Take the time to rewrite your post so that it sounds more natural – as if you were speaking them to someone.

So, there you have it – my tips for sounding less salesy on social. What are yours? Feel free to share your tips in the comments section below.

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