How to Not Sound Salesy: A Guide to Selling Yourself on Social Media

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How to Not Sound Salesy: A Guide to Selling Yourself on Social Media

Editor’s note: This post was originally published on 10/12/16 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehension.

An effective social media strategy that features great content will make you look like you actually know what you’re doing.

We kid, we kid. We know you know what you’re doing,

But it will make people see you as a trusted news source.

As a valued thought leader and author, you’ll be able to book higher-paying speaking gigs, sell more products, and generally broaden your business’ nets to attract more attention and have greater impact.

They will follow you on social media because you are a thought leader.

They will like and share your content because of the value you now bring to their [insert “what they missed before they found you” here] lives.

And, fingers crossed, they will buy from you too.

Because you’re just that good.

You have your strategy down, you’re posting the right types of content, and you seem to be getting good engagement.

But when it comes to your product offers, you fall flat.

The reason why?

You’re not alone. Many keynote speakers and businesses run into this problem.

Listen closely, because I’m going to tell you exactly how to sell yourself on social media AND get results: Your promotional content can’t sound too salesy.

“But wait a minute,” you say. “Shouldn’t promotional content do just that? Promote my products and/or services? Promotional content is selling!”

While that may be true, you need to be aware of how you sell.

If you sound too pushy to make a sale, you will Push. People. Away.  

To help, we’ve identified four types of promotional content that are huge turn-offs.

And *TRUTH BOMB* some may be offended by what you will read here today because you're currently doing these very same things with your promotional content.

But we’re able to detect these four types because...we used to do them.

Learn from our mistakes and then get to work on killing your promos – and you’ll get people excited about you and/or your business!


Turn-Off #1: The Over-Excited Promoter

The profile

“I’m actually just really desperate, and use a lot of exclamation points and smiley faces!!!!!!!!! :) :)” in their posts.

An example of what not to do:

Here’s the recent interview I had with @[insert interviewer]. I’d love if you checked it out! :)

Here’s why:

We get that you want to get your name out there. People need to know who you are and what you do.

But don’t become a person that is basically begging people to check out your content. Your followers can detect desperation and bullcrap, and it’s an immediate turn-off!

Try this instead:

Having a hard time surviving sales? Here is part 1 of my interview with [insert industry giant name]: [insert link]

This post gives immediate value. It targets the audience’s paint point (surviving sales).

The person who sees this will know they can learn how to survive sales, and not just hear an interview about a person talking about themselves for who-knows-how-long.


Turn-Off #2: The Arrogant Poster

The profile

“I’m better than everyone else so you should buy my stuff/like my content/follow me etc.”

An example of what not to do:

Want the [insert name of Ebook, blog, or offer that probably uses words like “Ultimate, Killer, Skyrocket, Totally Rad etc]?

Thought so, so we have them right here for you ;).

Here’s why:

If you post something like above, you sound way too into your own content, and definitely too cocky about it.

And the winky face? Please.

You’re not a creepy social media van trying to lure followers in with promotional candy.

People do want the Ultimate list of whatever, because let’s face it, that list creates value.

But what users don’t want is someone who sounds like a know-it-all.

Try this instead:

You can grow your Twitter and make more sales with these Twitter Business Hacks: [insert link]

People LOVE anything that will make life easier for them, and this way of promoting your content gives the vibe that you know your stuff so well (because you’ve actually discovered shortcuts that not only benefit you but can benefit everyone)  – without sounding too arrogant about it.


Turn-Off #3: The Spammy Guy

The profile:

“I post my content, product offers, and basically my whole life, all the time. It’s all about ME.”

The post:

8:00 am: Check out our new blog on___…

12:00 pm: Life is so much easier if you follow these 5 steps:___….

3:00 pm: At ___ we LOVE to have fun! #fun #culture #ourcompanyrocks

6:00 pm: Download our FREE Ebook on ____ #ebook #download

If you’re just posting about yourself, no one is going to like you!

Think about that person you know who ONLY posts selfies on their social media. Yeah, don’t be like that.

Try this instead:

8:00 am: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.”- Nelson Mandela

12:00 pm: Make your Mama proud with these tips on building a buyer persona. #buyerpersona [insert link]

3:00 pm: "How to Create a Monthly Social Media Report [Free Ebook]"

6:00 pm: Behind the scenes photo of your company culture or you speaking, etc

This type of posting schedule not only promotes YOUR stuff, but shares others’ too, which helps followers see a wide array of content that is valuable, and continue to look to YOU for such value.


Turn-Off #4: The Ticking Time-Bomb

The profile:

“If you don’t do it NOW, you’ll miss out on everything.” (Or using words like DOWNLOAD NOW, Don’t miss out, Don’t waste time)

The post:

If you don’t download NOW, you will miss out on these Twitter tips! #dontwastetime #thetimeisnow #doit

There is an appropriate time to build anticipation, but this is not one of those times – and not the right kind of anticipation.

These types of promos sound way too pushy.

Most people like to have time to think and process – especially if they’re potentially going to spend their money.

Try this instead:

KILL that Twitter game and make REAL sales with our FREE Training. #business #twittertips

This adds anticipation without adding a ticking timer.

A user could view this tweet and get excited because who doesn’t want to kill their twitter?

So dump the whole “you’re running out of time scheme.”

No one buys it, and no one will buy it.


Sales-Killing Words

Here’s a quick run-down of words that will send people running for the hills.

  • “Guaranteed”
  • “Pitch”
  • “Cheap”
  • “Once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”
  • “Innovative”
  • “Prospect”
  • “!”
  • “Feature”
  • “Amazing,” “Fantastic,” “Wonderful,” “Cutting-edge”
  • “Coupon,” “Sale,” “Discount,” “Promotion”
  • “Most”
  • “Superior quality”
  • “Cost” or “Price”
  • “Customer-oriented”

Avoiding these words will keep your social media content from sounding too salesy.


Final Thoughts

When it comes to promotional content on social media, you CAN sell yourself without sounding too salesy. Just remember to keep these things in mind:

  • Always give value.
  • Sound confident. Not cocky.
  • Use 1-2 promotional posts per day. Don’t spam!
  • Always know who you’re selling to.
  • Use language that excites but doesn’t go overboard.

What kinds of struggles do you have creating promotional content that doesn’t sound too salesy?

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Josh Coffy

Josh has an exhaustive understanding of technology and a creative marketing approach that drives client results. In his free time, Josh does CrossFit and travels with his wife.