Sales Reps – Are You Serving Canned Social to Your Buyers?

Authenticity is critical for winning at social selling. Our customers have an instinctive feel for it. When we’re authentic, our buyers recognize it, and our authenticity grows our relationships. But when we serve up canned messages, our buyers notice our stiltedness. They feel annoyed and start to question their relationships: Do sales reps really care about buyers? If sales reps care about their buyers, why did the sales rep use a pre-written message instead of taking the time to write a meaningful response?

As more sales teams engage in social selling, canned social is on the rise, and we need to nip this problem in the bud. Here are five telltale signs that you’re serving up canned social that will erode trust with your buyers.

1. You Like Everything That Your Buyer Posts

In an effort to save time, some sales teams have taken to automating their social interactions. They rely on workflows that tell them when to like a buyer’s post. Or worse, they rely on applications that automatically like posts on their behalf.

At first, such tactics might get a buyer’s attention. Who doesn’t like social engagement on their posts? But when this behavior continues, buyers see right through it, and your interactions quickly look overzealous, if not creepy.

So, don’t automate. Doing so might hurt your relationships by eroding trust.

2. You Use the Same Stock Comments Over and Over Again

Some sales reps aren’t judicious when responding to social posts. Instead, they want to be omnipresent, and when they try to comment on everything, they resort to copying and pasting stock phrases.

Sometimes, the stock phrases are along the lines of “Great post!” which doesn’t add much value. Other times, reps resort to trite sayings such as: “Our buyer has changed more in the last ten years than in the last 100 years.” The first time around, the phrase piques interest. But when you see it over and over in your LinkedIn or Twitter feed, the stock comment loses its punch.

A good response takes into consideration the content being shared, as well as the person sharing the content. Social media is not a place to dump fortune-cookie-like bits of wisdom.

3. You Share the Same Content That Everyone Else Has Shared

To build a relationship on social, a sales rep has to add value, and one of the best ways to add value on social is through content. However, you can’t help your buyers when you’re sharing content that they have seen in their social feeds several times. Your buyers will ignore those posts.

So, share content from a wide variety of sources – not just the usual suspects in the business world. Your marketing team and social selling platform should help you surface those diamonds in the rough.

4. Your Messages Are Rife with Copy and Paste Errors

I get it. Salespeople and marketers are busy. They want to minimize their effort, so they do a lot of copying and pasting.

However, when a buyer named “Bill” receives a message addressed to “Steve,” a red flag goes up. It indicates that the sender is sending out bulk messages and didn’t bother to tailor the message. Why would buyers want to do business with someone who can’t even get their names correct?

Take the time to not just personalize your messages (i.e. change the buyer’s name and company name), but rather, individualize them. Make your messages unique for each person.

5. Your Posts Have Zero Personality

Your marketing department likely supplies you with suggested copy for your social posts. But be careful; marketing speak can sound robotic.

For example, a marketer might write, “We’re happy to be a finalist for the ABC Awards.” A real person might write, “Woohoo! We’re finalists for the ABC Awards. So proud of my team.”

When you’re posting to social, add your own flair. Don’t sound as if you were writing a college paper. Instead, try to mimic how you speak. Contractions like “can’t” are okay. Even the occasional sentence fragment can help you sound less stilted.

Don’t Can Your Social

To be sure, some industries require a bit of canning. If you’re in regulated industries like finance or pharma, you might have pre-approved messages that you have to use. Otherwise, your company might get into legal trouble.

But compliance doesn’t excuse all the problems of canned social. Just because you’re in a regulated industry doesn’t mean your messages should not be individualized, nor does it mean you should limit your content sharing to, say, Mashable articles.

It’s scary that some sales leaders treat social as a dumping ground for canned marketing messages. With that attitude, sales teams will find themselves struggling to build relationships with buyers because their interactions lack authenticity and erode buyer’s trust.

For social selling to work, you have to do it the right way. And that requires sales reps to put time and effort into their interactions.

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