Today I want to illustrate the difference between social spam and social selling. Social selling involves a buiding a genuine and mutually beneficial relationship using social media to aid in the process. Social spam is using social media to hard sell and abuse social channels to employ their old spray and pray tactics from email or telemarketing and into social media. Today I want to illustrate a real-life example of social spam. I call this maneuver the “Hard Sell” or the “16 Year Old Boy Mistake” which I named after Gary Vaynerchuk’s example of a high school boy trying to get in the bedroom without having a conversation or getting to know the the object of his affection.
Social Spam Spidey Sense Tingle #1 - The Stock LinkedIn Invitation
The first thing wrong with this reach out on LinkedIn is that the individual used the stock LinkedIn invitation and did not describe or outline the reason a complete stranger would want to connect with me. This is always a red-flag as it immediately makes me wonder what value could come from allowing him/her into my network. To make the matter worse, he/she indicated that they were a “Friend” which was a complete lie as I have never spoken to this person in my life.
Social Spam Spidey Sense Tingle #2 - Selling Without Social Currency
First of all, social media and LinkedIn are not arenas for the hard sell, it's for building great business relationships. Social provides you touch points to build trust, familiarity, and credibility that will carry over into your traditional sales activities. Hard selling on social should be far less “hard” than the example below and should only be executed after you have built up social currency and enough of a reciprocal relationship to be able to ask for business. Even then, I tend to think that true selling should take place in person or over the phone while using social data and relationships to your advantage. In the case below, I received the “hard sell” email seconds after I accepted the individual’s connection request.
The result for the sales person in this case will be both a “no chance of a sale” and an immediate removal from my contacts. It’s tough to say if this will result in a change behavior, but if not, the lack of successful business that gets created from his/her efforts will speak for itself. The educator in me wants to see people succeed and better themselves, so I accompanied my removal with a small note to explain why.
Key Learning or Takeaway
Social is not a place for the hard sell, it's a place to build trust and credibility.