Does hard sell work on social media? The short answer is probably not. But we have a few tips and tricks that can make hard sell campaigns more viable.
The rise of social media has changed the marketing landscape significantly. Despite the access marketers now have to online audiences, many seem to forget that people aren’t on social platforms to buy things. They’re there to interact with a community online. This is one of the main reasons hard sell often doesn’t achieve the desired results. That being said, if your digital marketing approach makes use of just the right amount of hard sell at just the right times, it can often turn out to be invaluable.
What is hard sell?
Hard sell marketing is all about getting straight to the point. Here’s the product, here’s how much it costs, here’s where you can buy it, and why aren’t you buying it right This more aggressive advertising is typically and traditionally used in magazines and on flyers, billboards and for in-store promotions. The form of advertising that seems to work quite well on social media is soft sell, which involves using more subtle language, building a community and social trust around your brand over the long term. It focuses mainly on gaining as many returning customers as possible, rather than shooting straight for leads and sales right away.
In order to reconcile hard and soft sell to use the best of both on social media, we need to explore which elements of hard sell do not compliment digital marketing, as well as which parts of soft sell we can incorporate into hard sell strategies to make the most of our space in the digital world.
Why traditional hard selling doesn’t work on social media
First and foremost, one needs to be brutally honest. No customer, no matter how loyal, is going to sign up for multiple advertisements, every single day. And that’s what most of them are currently getting through social media, right? Knowing this, it logically follows that hard sell can’t be your first touch-point for prospective audiences. As mentioned before, social media is a space where people come for a sense of community, and this is what you need to build your brand around, trusting that your audience will buy your product when they are good and ready.
Secondly, the algorithms on the majority of social media platforms are specifically designed to give their users the best experience possible. Built-in artificial intelligence flags hard sell terms, even in your images, and ensures that they do not reach as many audience members as you’d like. Even if you put money behind these posts, they probably still won’t do as well as equivalent soft sell ads. This is because the minds behind these platforms know what their audience doesn’t want and won’t risk losing their customers.
How to make hard sell tactics work for you online
- Make sure it’s valuable – Ask yourself what your ad post is offering your followers. Soft sell posts give advice and call for community engagement, so customers feel like they are benefitting from seeing an ad. Your hard sell content needs to be the same. Make sure it contains information about giveaways, new products, special discounts and offers.
- Show it off – If you want to display your product, don’t simply place it on a background with the price next to it. Spend time and effort showing your followers what your products can do. Create videos running through features or showing them how your product works in the real world. Always make sure you’re addressing a problem your product can solve, to really drive home the value of what you’re selling.
- Encourage engagement – On social media, customers don’t want to be talked at. They want to be involved, part of the conversation. Use your ads to ask them questions and for their opinions. This will make them feel heard and build trust, while giving you the opportunity to get to know what your customers’ needs are and what they actually want to buy. You can even go a step further and use photos and videos of them using the products you want to push in your ads.
- Use the 80:20 rule – We know it’s difficult, if not impossible, to rule hard sell posts out completely, especially when you are launching something new. That’s why we like to stick to the good old 80:20 rule. Make 80% of your ads and posts on social media fun and community- and advice-driven. Save the 20% for hard sell promotions when you really need them. If you get this content ratio just right, you will have built enough trust for your audience to be genuinely excited when you ask them to support you by buying your product.
Contrary to popular belief, hard sell on social media doesn’t have to be pushy, just direct. Do you need help perfectly balancing your paid and social media? Contact us.
READ MORE: Learn how to build social trust
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