Who are you selling to in Social Media?

When did you last go to a networking event looking to buy a product or service?….. No me either, and neither does anybody else. Ivan Misner calls this the Networking Disconnect.

So you aren’t buying at networking events, and neither is anyone else, why do so many people go along to events with the goal to sell something to those they meet? There is no hungry crowd to feed.

The same is true of Social media.

Why are you on Twitter and Facebook? Do you have something you want to buy? – If you are honest, probably not. Sure you might follow Dell or some account that offers regular discounts, but of all the people you follow or friend what percentage are these? (and have you bought anything?)

If no one is there to buy, why bother?

Networking, whether online or offline, offers something more than a one off sale… It is the opportunity to build credibility in your industry, to create an audience and rally a tribe.

By providing as much value as you can you will gather others around you who want to spread your message and recommend you to others. The wider you spread your net, the more customers you are likely to catch.

Here’s an everyday example…

I don’t go to a barbecue and start selling to my mates over a beer, but what I do is build great relationships and I listen to them and find out about them and their business. And I tell them what I do and how I help people.

When I need some wine for a party, some electrical wiring done, or my car painted, I’ve got friends that I’ll go to without even thinking about any of their competition. I go to them because I know them, I like them,and I trust them. I also know when they need a product or service I offer, or even some advice, they will come to me.

I am NOT saying you shouldn’t be selling on Social Media OR that no one is buying – Just that no one is there with the intention to buy so you should be connecting and selling yourself first.

About Al

Alistair has managed and built small businesses in a varied industries from agriculture to the web. Years in sales lead to his obsession with marketing.
In his spare time he enjoys time with his family, sails and reads marketing books.
Get more from Alistair on Twitter and Google+.


  1. Right on Alistair

    Build the community, make people feel a part of that community, add value for them so that they keep coming back. And the sales will take care of themselves!!!

    Cheers Beanie

  2. To even get to building a community, there needs to be an inherent trust in the people putting that trust together.
    Tetka and I chat about that at http://www.geekandjock.com/blogs/thegeek/thegeek-and-goddess-chat-about-social-media – trust, confidence and credibility are things you’re actually cementing when you’re chatting to your mates at the BBQ.

  3. Thanks Adam, glad you found some value.

    For me it is all about influence and the lifetime value of a friend / follower / customer

  4. I agree, I actually block anybody that tries to sell me anything on social media.

  5. Thanks Alistair, I wish more people underrstood this!!

    I love the comments and advice from Adam and Martin – will check the blog link. I love building relationships and getting to know others using social media.

    I haven’t reached the stage that Luay is at though in blocking anbody who tries to sell to me. I am more likely to filter them out, so if they then went on to post anything of value I’d miss it! Mind you what are the chances do you think of this happening? 😉

  6. Hi Luay,

    I haven’t got to the point of blocking people. In fact, I’m not completely against people selling on Social media – I think to a degree we are all selling something, but it is how people go about it. I do follow people who are marketing, but I am happy to because they also provide a lot of value as well.

    As Martin mentions, building trust, confidence and credibility will get you further in the end.

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