Social Media Sales vs. Value: Who’s Winning The War

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You’re probably just as entrenched in the Sales vs. Value war as I am, even if you don’t know it. I’m fighting the good fight for value. Are you?

I don’t think I have to explain why value rises above sales in social media, but yeah, I’m going to.

The way I see it, we (consumers) don’t relate to, or get behind, sales tactics. Look at the brands doing it right: They aren’t ending every blog post, email or social update with, “If you want to buy my stuff, call me TODAY!” The word “hype-free” comes to mind…

Maybe you’re a salesman. Maybe that’s your schtick. Maybe hype is all you know.

I’m here to tell you that you’re going into a war with a rubberband shooter…


Closing the deal on the first date rarely works. Putting your sales message in every. single. email. is small thinking.  Consumers can’t get past the narcissist tones to see what you’re really trying to say. Or worse, they think that IS all you’re trying to say; that you only want their money/business.

It’s kinda like those hand cream dudes at the kiosk in the mall. They’re practically chasing you down the corridor yelling, “TRY MY STUFF! BUY MY STUFF! 50% OFF for YOU, my friend!”

First off, if your product is SO valuable, why are you chasing me and why is it so deeply discounted? Secondly, if I haven’t come to the mall (or gone online/to social media) to specifically buy your stuff, why are you shoving it down my throat? Or said aloud, “How are those features relevant to my needs?”

Helpful hint: We know HOW to buy from you and if we want to, we WILL. We may not know WHY to buy from you.

All the salesmen out there are saying, “Well you don’t know you want to buy my ______ yet. I have to help you along.” Okay. I can get behind that. But wouldn’t it help me along if I understood the VALUE in your product or service?

We Wanna Be Wooed

Google did a study called ‘Zero Moment of Truth’ and found that customers needed twice as much information (in 2011 vs. 2010) to make a buying decision.

So, while 99.99% of us can’t get behind sales tactics, we can get behind value tactics. We want information. We need you to nurture us with the nuances of your brand/industry – and to do it before (and more often than) the “other” guy.

If you’re proving yourself to be valuable over and over again, I’m more likely to buy from you.

Social Super Stars

I see value all the time on social media. These super stars convert with INFORMATION, not promotion.

Hubspot is a great example. They’re constantly putting out tips, free eBooks, and how-to articles – all expecting nothing in return. I wonder how many people have signed up for their services based on one or two free downloads?

Shortstack is another value giver. They’re helping you remain compliant with Facebook Terms of Service with their blog, free newsletter and social media posts.

There are so many others following this lead: Social Media Examiner, KISSMetrics, Unbounce.

dude no sales pitch

More Pitch, More Problems

If you’re feeling the need to pitch your service or product in everything you do, you’ve got a problem. Resist the urge. I’m not saying it’s NEVER appropriate, just that there’s a time and a place to sell yourself.

Again, if your website is nicely designed and your social pages are optimized, WE KNOW HOW TO BUY FROM YOU.

Help us understand WHY we need to buy from you:

  • What sets you apart?
  • How are you helping me solve my problems?
  • If you can’t offer me value, or figure out how to put your worth into words, how about offering a free trial to let me test product XYZ out?
  • *IF I find your stuff valuable, perhaps I’ll buy.

Those winning with value are winning with sales. And they’re laughing all the way to the bank at you sales-y peeps and your rubberband shooters.

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is an award-winning Customer Marketing Strategist and the CEO & Founder of B Squared Media. Her book, Conversations That Connect has been recognized nationally and is required reading for a Customer Experience class at NSU. Brooke's influence in digital marketing is not just about her accomplishments but also about her unwavering commitment to elevating the industry standard of digital customer experience and customer marketing.
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17 Comments. Leave new

  • All amazing points that I am working on. I do love HubSpot, and I need to look into ShortStack. My feeling has always been make my website and social media very friendly so that everyone can find me, or if they have a question I am here please ask away. I like the KISS method myself..make it simple for everyone because not everyone “understands” what your talking about, that is WHY they are coming to YOU! 🙂
    Laurie recently posted…Vain-Week TwoMy Profile

    • Thanks, Laurie! Your sites are really starting to come together … and maybe I’m biased because we know each other, but you are NOT the pushy sales type. I have yet to see you push your products AT ALL! I think you’re safe. 🙂

  • This is a grand slam post! I know all of this is true but while reading this it opened up another corner of my brain and said “realize and implement.” These are all great tips and was put together beautifully!

    • Haha, thanks Judes. I feel like I need to put a giant disclaimer under your comment that says, “I DO NOT PAY HER TO SAY THIS STUFF, SWEAR!”

      There is an excellent book you might like if this post resonated with you. It’s called ‘Free Marketing: 101 Low-Cost and No-Cost Ways to Grow Your Business’ by Jim Cockrum. You can borrow my copy if you’d like (but it has to come back to me – I reference it OFTEN!). 🙂

  • Love it! I get annoyed with the “buy my stuff” tactics. HubSpot is great because they are providing things of true value to their readers, and they aren’t asking you to sign away your first born to get it. Thank you for sharing this!
    Sarah Sunshine Garrison recently posted…Survivor: Reflections from the Past YearMy Profile

  • I’m dancing over here! Waving my pom-poms and hopping around. YES! Rah, Rah, Rah! THIS is what it’s always meant to be great at sales and marketing. The consultative sale is THE way to turn a prospect into a customer, and then into a referral engine. This is networking. This is doing social right.

  • Excellent article, Brooke! An absolute home run! Excellent examples of converting with information rather than promotion. In fact, I love how Hubspot and Social Media Examiner do this and follow them on a regular basis. Thank you for being a stellar example as well!
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted…3 Secrets to Getting the Perfect List Headline Every TimeMy Profile

    • Aw, thanks so much for the compliment and kind words Robin. 🙂 LOVE to follow peeps who follow this model. It doesn’t mean I’m definitely going to become a paying customer, but they’ve upped their chances, for sure!

  • Excellent points! I became a HubSport partner because of their awesome inbound techniques. Gotta say, though, if you don’t provide some call to action, you could be missing out. I try to write as if I’m addressing only “Do-It-Yourself”-ers, but give an aside to people who might actually need help (get our eBook or request a review of your presence here). Now that I put that in writing, I guess that’s not really too sales-y, after all.
    Alisa Meredith recently posted…Google Plus Mastery – A Beginner’s GuideMy Profile

    • Not sales-y at all, Alisa! CTA (calls to action) are VERY VERY important – I want to be clear about that! We believe wholeheartedly in using a CTA with your content. I’m talking about the peeps who hard sell you on every piece of content they put out … I see a LOT. “Buy our stuff!” “50% for the whole month of February!” “Call us today if you need help with xyz!” I’m talking these people say these things on EVERY. SINGLE. THING. (post, blog, email, etc.). Where’s the value in that?!

      What you give (how-tos) is immensely valuable!! 🙂

  • […]  The article is written by Brooke Ballard of  B squared Media. The title of the article is “Social Media Sales vs. Value: Who’s Winning the War“.  And, it gave me all the right ideas that what is wrong with the current sales process and […]

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    […] If you’re a sales rep on social media why not lose the sales-y stigma and go back to what salesmen used to do best? BUILD THE RELATIONSHIP. You can do this, quite simply, with information. Read more about how brands are doing this on our previous blog post. […]

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