In last week’s blog, we discussed why it is important to sell without selling.  (Read here if you haven’t yet).  On marketing platforms (such as social media) where people congregate for reasons other than shopping, repeated messages to “Buy Now!” or attach a price tag to your wares could get you unfollowed or blocked.  Actions like this actually hurt your business algorithm and reputation.  At the very least, you are bound to annoy some of your audience and cool the leads you want to warm.

So, you already know WHY it is important to sell without selling.  This week we are going to talk about how to do it.

Show, Don’t Sell!  I have created a list of  seven different categories of content that allow you to showcase your products/services instead of selling them outright…and will probably be more effective at selling them as a result.  Within each of the 7 categories, I have broken them down even further to give you examples.  My goal is to get you thinking about the types of material that might work for your business to sell without selling.

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The seven categories to sell without selling are:

  • Educate/Inform
  • Evoke Emotion
  • Look Behind the Curtain
  • Inspire
  • Create Community
  • Impact/Power
  • Excite

Educate/Inform

It’s amazing how much we learn on social media when we procrastinate.  Why not give your audience a chance to learn something about what you do?  This can come in many forms depending on the length and style of information that your audience responds to most.  Experiment and follow your results.  Here are some format examples:

  • Infographics – Combine key points and graphic design on one page for more digestable content.
  • Lists – This could be general points on a topic, reasons why, or a how to.
  • Useful Information – If someone walks away from your material thinking “that’s handy,” they are more likely to remember it, bookmark it, or share it for later.
  • Current Events/Trending Topics – People want to learn all they can about what is current, so why not add an angle that relates to your business if you can?
  • Fresh Viewpoints – You can make old conversations relevant again with a fresh viewpoint that comes from your own business experiences.
  • Interesting/Surprising Information – A little “Did you know?” tidbit can catch your audience’s attention and may have staying power in their memory if they think it is interesting enough to tell someone else about it.

Evoke Emotion

Classically positive emotions tend to rank higher for engagement.  However, anything that elicits laughter, smiles, or tears is bound to be seen as worthwhile by the person who felt that way.  The promise of laughter, smiles, or tears can get attention.  If someone says that a post “gave them the feels” – I consider it a bonus point.

Curiosity is notably one of the more powerful triggers, hence the rise of clickbait.  You can tap into a person’s curiosity authentically without having to say “You’ll never believe what happened next.”  All it takes is telling them what you’re going to tell them…before you tell them!

There are plenty of stats out there showing that images and video are the way to go to create compelling material that evokes emotion.  Statistically, it is true.  However, text-based messages can evoke emotion too if written well.

Look Behind the Curtain

Anytime we think we are getting an inside look, the material instantly becomes more interesting.  Interviews are great – and that little comment about the thing that was said before or after the interview is even juicier.  The finished product is nice, but the blooper reel has an attraction of its own.  You can show sneak peaks, a day in the life, what it looks like backstage, your inventory room, a tour in the company van, what your raw materials look like.  You can tell stories from behind-the-scenes.  You can show many of these things with images and video.

One of the most moving things you can do for your business is explain WHY.  Why does this mean something to you?  Why do the employees work for you?  Why do the volunteers volunteer for you?  Why do the customers buy from you?  What does it all mean and what kind of an impact does your product or service have?

Inspire

We never have too much inspiration.  Never!  Whether you are having a great day or a rough day, there is always room for more encouragement.  This can take a number of different forms.  It could be reasons to have faith.  Even the word “faith” is a positive trigger for a lot of people.  Motivation could be general or specific to something that your community is encountering right now.  It could be a message intended to calm or soothe.

This is also another chance to make things personal.  When your dreams come true, share that with your audience.  When your company reaches a goal, share that with your audience.  Your audience wants to be happy for you and be part of your journey.  HOWEVER, the result is really different if you ask them to get you to the goal…that’s when you hear crickets.  Rather than say, “Help me get to 500 subscribers this month” – which will likely make them clam up and show that you are not getting the social proof you want – instead say, “Yay!!!!!  We’re at 250 subscribers!  Halfway to 500!  Thanks, everyone.”  People will be quick to be happy for you, and the social proof may actually encourage them to check out what everyone else is subscribing for.

Create Community

There are a few different tiers of creating community.

  • Sharing a cause or belief you identify with. This is an assertive approach.  You are going to attract some people.  You will also repel some people.  But, the people you repelled were probably not your customers anyway if your business is strongly aligned with that cause.
  • Sharing interests. This is less about drawing a line in the sand and more about creating a point of casual connection.  You will probably not push people away to the same degree as you might have with causes/beliefs, but the interests you share could create all sorts of positive hooks for your audience to stay with you.
  • Relatable material. We may not have even thought about it before, but once you say it we realize we see it everyday.  Anytime you can get someone to say “Agree!” or “Me too!” you have created relatable content.

Impact/Power

Anytime our opinion matters, we are more likely to want to share it.  If something is interactive, we want to interact with it and see what the experience is like.  When we get a chance to write reviews, we are potentially influencing others.  When a company asks us a question to get our advice or opinion, we feel like our opinion is valued.

You may also notice that major movements and causes use a call to action and explain what the impact is of performing that action.  This is all about appealing to our desire to make a tangible difference.

Excite

Exciting your audience can be the result of so many different approaches.  For example, a good rant can do it.  I have seen my share of well-pointed rants on social media, and they are consistently met with strong engagement and comments like, “You tell them!”  The people who identify see how strongly you feel and perhaps love what you said.

Another option is to incentivize your audience.  Contests are a great way to do this.  The prize can be your product, partners’ products, or something else – but the fact that you are getting your brand in front of people and giving them an opportunity to be a winner is a big deal.

Lastly, sharing successes or content that references people or things we know can compel your audience.  Influencers and celebrities are helpful in this regard.  However, sharing the celebrity or success of a person/business/thing you personally know is even more meaningful.

 

These are seven categories of ways to sell without selling.  I believe we have enough ideas in here to make you take a much harder look the next time you want to post a picture of an offering, product, or event with a price tag next to it.  Remember, any of these ideas can be tied back to your business or even linked to products and landing pages…but you have to get people to read your material first!  Which are the top three that you want to try for your business?

And if you are here because you are trying to find ways to showcase your business on Facebook, I recommend you check out this Facebook Engagement Bootcamp. Use this resource to build your Facebook engagement and conversions in eight weeks!