In developing our Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors programme, one challenge SG Sales Guru deliberated at lengths with the team at SG Social Media Guru was how to "sell" via Facebook without being perceived as an obnoxious and pushy salesman. We all know the type. He, or she, will constantly be pushing his product at every opportunity, whether the situation is appropriate or inappropriate.
What the team at SG Social Media Guru emphasized was that the social norms for selling via Facebook (or on any other social media platform for that matter) is no different from the social norms for selling face-to-face. While Facebook allows you to share and communicate with many people simultaneous, this only makes communications more efficient. It does not change the way people feel towards you or change their expectations of what is appropriate. At the end of the day, people still interact with you on a personal, or one-to-one basis.
For example, if a friend shared an observation on Facebook and a few of his friends were having a discussion on his wall about it, jumping-in and steering the conversation to a point where you then sell your product or service is rude. This is no different from a situation where a group of friends are having a conversation and then you join in and started your sales pitch to everyone present.
In the same light, it is also inappropriate if a competitor has a blog and you use its comment feature to pitch a competing product. Again, this is no different from you standing in your competitor's place of business and handing out your business cards. This is something you would never do in the physical world, so what makes it different in the digital world?
As such, participants of SG Sales Guru's Social Media Marketing for Financial Advisors programme are taught the fine art of using social media to sell. One point we always caution our students is that social media amplifies both positive and negative behaviors. Thus, if you come across as a pushy or obnoxious salesman, this reputation will spread rapidly and you will very quickly lose your natural market.
The key lesson for anyone who wants to sell using social media is this ... "social norms for how people want to be sold do not change just because we are on Facebook. So sell as if you were selling in person."