3 Massive Mistakes Sales People Make with Social Media

3 Massive Mistakes Salespeople Make with Social Media

If you are in sales, you’ve no doubt engaged in social selling to some degree. (By the way, if you own a business or offer a service, you are in sales too.)

But are you seeing measurable results from those efforts?

Investing in a modern sales strategy is the most effective way to ensure your sales career flourishes in the current era of digital selling.

Whether you are selling to Fortune 500 companies or small businesses, improving your social selling skills is essential to ensure a long and successful sales career.

The basics are no longer enough as more and more companies invest in social selling training to equip their sales teams to compete in the latest digital selling methods.

Salespeople who are seeing poor results with social selling usually chalk it up to the fact that it doesn’t work. But nothing can be further from the truth.

Some types of social media users will find very little success from their social selling efforts regardless of how much time they spend doing it. 

These types are:

  1. The Sales Pitcher
  2. The Ghost
  3. The Social Butterfly

You won’t see results with social selling if you make these mistakes.

Why do people make these mistakes?

They haven’t been trained, or they haven’t taken the time to learn best practices. And some may even be looking for shortcuts. Looking for a quick sale is understandable.

But there are no long-term, consistent results with… SHORT-TERM-ISM.

Where do you start then?

In this post, I discuss the three types of social media users that are making mistakes in their approach to social media. I’ll also share how to correct those mistakes. I’ll also reveal the fourth type, a rare breed, that consistently produces results from social selling.

Three Types of Social Media Users Who Make Up 99%

99% of social media users.

The Sales Pitcher

If you have spent any time on social media, I am sure you are familiar with these social media users.

The moment you accept their connection requests on LinkedIn, friend them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter or Instagram, they fill your inbox with sales pitches – aka spam.

You do NOT want to be that sales person.

This is a massive social media mistake that will turn off your potential customers and can even get you restricted or banned from a social platform. Instead, you need to take the time to deepen your connections first.

Slow down the sale to speed it up

To build trust and establish your authority with leads on social media, you need to abandon the rush to sell and focus on the relationship-building process.

By building relationships with your leads, you will help them to know, like and trust you.

Once you build a relationship with a lead and establish your authority on the topic relevant to their problem, you will be able to move the dialogue with them offline to have a sales conversation.

The Ghost

You can’t create a social media account and then expect sales to appear magically.

Connecting with someone on LinkedIn and then never interacting with them again is like going to a networking event, collecting business cards and then shoving them in a drawer.

This will not produce results.

If you want your social media efforts to yield results, you need to engage your connections in conversations beyond the initial connection requests.

Engage with your social media community

The best way to build a relationship – online or offline – is through conversations that both parties find interesting and derive value from.

It requires a lot of listening on your part so that you fully understand your prospect’s challenges and the language they use to communicate them.

Once you know what these challenges are, you can begin to engage with leads on your social channels. Share content with them that will:

  • capture their interest
  • solve a challenge
  • inspire, amuse or educate them.

Keep in mind that just like building relationships offline, it takes time and commitment to build them online. You need to do your research, engage appropriately and provide your leads with value.

The Social Butterfly

The Social Butterfly is the opposite of the Ghost. Social Butterflies know their leads and social community well and invest a lot of time in engaging with them. 

Their mistake is they never move their relationships off social media.

To succeed in the B2B world, you need to learn the very specific needs of your prospects so you can offer solutions to them. To achieve that, you need to have offline conversations with them.

Move the relationship offline

After you establish trust and build some authority with your leads, it is time to ask for an offline conversation. In this conversation, you have a chance to demonstrate to your prospects that you:

  1. truly understand them and their challenges or needs
  2. have a solution that will solve their challenges or needs.

This offline conversation can happen through a phone call, video chat or in-person meeting, depending on how you do business.

Don’t wait for your leads to ask you for an offline conversation. That will not happen often. You need to take the initiative.

On most social platforms, you can now record video directly or upload it from platforms such as YouTube and Vimeo. This allows you to send a personalized video message to your lead, asking them for an offline meeting.

Video is particularly powerful as your face, tone of voice, body language and surroundings can help you create a more compelling story than an email or typed message can. It also can set you apart from your competition.

Remember: people buy from people, not companies. By using video as part of your sales strategy, you show your leads and prospects the person behind the company, humanizing the connection.

If you are not experienced with recording videos, you may be hesitant to create and send your own videos to your leads. Don’t be.

Authentic and personalized videos often perform much better than high-quality marketing videos, which your leads are more likely to ignore.

The fourth type of social media user: The Strategist

Become the strategist on LinkedIn

There is a fourth type of social media user, and it is a rare breed. The Strategist makes up less than 1% of sales people.

How do you know if you are the Strategist?

  • Your messages are getting a response
  • You’re building relationships
  • You’re booking offline conversations
  • You’re generating new clients
  • You have never said “I’m not getting any clients from social media”

If you are not currently a strategist, you can become one by incorporating the tips shared in this article.

LinkedIn: the ultimate B2B social channel for businesses and sales people

The LinkedIn platform provides the perfect combination of features to allow you to find, research, connect and build relationships with your leads while establishing your personal brand and authority in your industry.

Use the tips shared in this article to avoid the three social media mistakes, which will hamper the results of your social media efforts. Instead, use social media efficiently and effectively to meet or exceed your sales goals by becoming a LinkedIn Strategist.

What type of social media user are you? Let me know in the comments below.

If you’d like to become the Strategist and have a proven lead generation system to attract new clients consistently using LinkedIn, I explain how to do this in my book ‘LinkedIn Unlocked’, you can pick up a copy here.

Get a free checklist to increase your LinkedIn Social Selling Index and attract more leads and clients. 

Along with the SSI checklist, you’ll get a list of free resources that will help you elevate your personal brand, attract clients on-demand and increase your visibility on LinkedIn.



  • Hi Melonie ~ I absolutely agree! Especially on your third mistake: lack of strategy. And, creating your strategy is one thing, but pig headedly stick to it is quite another. Certainly with so many distractions nowadays. It takes commitment and a lot of smart work to get the job done! 🙂 ~ Juan

  • Thanks for this Melonie. I’ve been battling number two with the C-Suite for a while now, but i must say – i think you got it absolutely right. If people are just on social media to get sales, it will become very apparent, very quickly. Sadly, the majority of Linkedin groups have the same problem – loads of folks in there for sales, which results in no interaction. If social media is a channel brands hope to sell through, it must be the soft sell – warm the leads up with genuine interaction for a future sell.

    • @Ross: You’re right about LinkedIn groups. There are many people who simply don’t get it but there are several groups that have great moderators that make for a much more focused and rewarding experience. You’ve got to dig to find them though! Agree with you about the “soft sell” approach on social media…it’s all about building relationships!

  • Nice article and I agree with all three points.
    Re Point 2 – Selling through social media doesn’t work, I think Gary Vaynerchuck sums this point very well in his youtube clips. You need to treat social media like any other social event.


    • @Colin: Yes, Gary V’s videos are top notch and address this topic head on. Thanks for bringing that up!

  • I completely agree with each of your points Melonie. A lack of strategy and not knowing your Why” seem to be the two most common mistakes I see. Sales people dive into social media believing it will be simple to implement and a “silver bullet” solution to all of their marketing woes. Unfortunately it only exacerbates whatever is broken in their business and makes things worse long before they ever get better. Treating social media like any other marketing strategy and truly putting time, effort and thought into it is vital.

    • @Rebekah: Yes, many do make the mistake of seeing it as their “silver bullet solution (I like that term!). Thank you for your comment, it’s been great connecting with you!

  • I definitely agree with you on your point that social media is not about product-pushing but rather relationship-building. It takes time I know. But the results are really worth it, specially when the customers keep coming back to you because they know that you are someone they can trust and someone who is not just out there “for the kill” but rather to help.

  • Hi Melonie – Adding Value is the greatest gift we can provide to our clients. Any time we Add Value our clients and customers are even happier!

    You’re right- instead of using social media to sell, we need to use those tools to Add Value. Our strategy should always be to Add Value!

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