How To Sell Without Sounding Salesy on Social Media

For many people, one of the most terrifying parts of being in business is SELLING.

How do you sell on social media without sounding “salesy”?

Do you go about selling without “selling”?

How do you sell without that yucky feeling in the pit of your stomach?

I’ve heard these questions a thousand times, and totally get it!

But the reality is this: you are a business owner and in order to be a successful one, you do need to make sales!

Updated: March 8, 2021

Fortunately, this doesn’t mean you have to be fake, lie or be someone you’re not. We all envision the slimy used car salesmen, and we don’t want to be that guy or gal!

So how do we get around this major issue, especially on social media?

  • How do we sell?
  • What do we say?
  • How do we use social media to sell without selling? Is this an oxymoron?

Nope, it can be done…and that’s what the rest of this post is about!

What Is Social Selling?

social media selling
Before we jump in, let’s get some definitions out of the way.

What is Social Selling, Really?

Contrary to what many people think, it’s not simply posting links to your products or offers on social media.

Instead, it’s important to think of social selling as a lead generation technique.

It’s about engaging and building trust with your target audience, so that when it does come time to buy, your product or service is the #1 choice.

One of my favorite definitions of social selling is from Paul Sowada, Market Development Manager at Binocular: “Social selling is taking out the pitch component of sales. You’re creating conversations about your product and services which organically can produce sales conversations.”

One of my favorite definitions of social selling is from Paul Sowada, Market Development Manager at Binocular: “Social selling is taking out the pitch component of sales. You’re creating conversations about your product and services which organically can produce sales conversations.”Click To Tweet

Not sure social selling can actually work?

According to LinkedIn, 78% of social sellers outsell their peers that don’t use social media.

This seems like some pretty good proof to me! <grin>

5 Ways To Sell On Social Media Without Sounding Salesy

Ready to start selling…without selling? Here are 5 ways to do exactly that!

#1: Focus On Serving Others.

If going for the sale makes you feel “yucky”, this is the BEST place to start.

Forget about how much money you’re going to make. Instead, lead with value and what you can do to help OTHERS.

Make your audience your number one priority!

Show that you care, that you’re honest, and that you’re genuinely interested in providing a solution to their problems.

People are much savvier these days, and many are tired of being “sold to” while browsing their social media. Instead, they’re looking to connect with real people who actually care about them and their needs.

So whatever else you do, make sure you’re #1 focus is on helping, caring and serving!

#2: Listen.


Think about it: Why do you avoid a salesman at a car lot or in a department store?

Probably because they:

  • Don’t ask for your consent before launching into their sales pitch
  • Never stop talking or making suggestions
  • Clearly don’t actually care about you or about the problem you’re trying to solve
  • Don’t listen to a word you have to say (not that you probably want to say much at that point, anyway!).

Instead, they have this idea that if they’re just proactive enough, nice enough, and say all the right things, they’ll make a sale.

Learn a lesson from these folks, and take the opposite approach:


When you’re on social media, let others talk, and explain what their needs are, and what their issues might be.

This way you can be certain that you have a solution to their problem.

You’ll find that if you follow this approach, people will WANT to buy from you; not because you’ve talked them into the sale, but because they feel you understand their needs and trust that you’re able to help.

#3: Teaching Sells.


You’ve probably heard the old Chinese proverb that reads, “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.”

Teaching on social media is an incredible way to stand out in a very crowded marketplace. Since many people are simply trying to sell, sell, sell, they’re missing out on a golden opportunity to “sell without selling”!

Teaching on social media is an incredible way to stand out in a very crowded marketplace. Since many people are simply trying to sell, sell, sell, they’re missing out on a golden opportunity to “sell without selling”!Click To Tweet

There are many ways you can teach on social media:

  • Doing regular live broadcasts on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram
  • Creating free guides, eBooks and reports you can give to your followers
  • Doing informational webinars
  • Creating informative social media posts and graphics

The key is to this strategy is to lead with free, quality content that provides value to your prospects.

If the content is good, your prospects will recognize this, want more of your knowledge, and will be willing to pay for it!

#4: Build Relationships.


The three steps above – serving, listening and teaching – are great, but they aren’t quite enough.

The piece that’s still missing is building relationships through engaging on social media.

This is going to mean:

  • Responding to questions and comments
  • Sharing user-generated content
  • Paying special attention to your “superfans”
  • Moving important conversations offline
  • Taking suggestions and feedback seriously

As I always say, social media is all about being SOCIAL – not about broadcasting your message.

But, this doesn’t mean you have to sit in front of your computer 24-7!

Commit to checking social media several times daily, and responding when necessary. As you grow, consider hiring a virtual assistant to take care of this for you – it will make your life SO much easier!

#5: Create Posts That Inspire People To Take The Next Step.

A huge part of social selling is understanding how to post on social media without sounding “salesy”.

For instance, a Facebook post that simply shows a product photo with a “Buy Now” button is unlikely to get much traction.

So, how do you go about selling…without selling?

  • Use social media headlines that will boost your reach, and that your followers can’t help but click on
  • Use your posts to build trust and transform your audience’s beliefs
  • Understand what compels people to click on your posts (and use this to your advantage!)

To make the whole process easier for you, I’ve put together a training on this very topic! 4 Simple Steps to Crafting Social Media Posts That WILL Sell Your Product or Service will teach you exactly how to create captivating social media posts that actually sell.


In this training, you’ll also get lots of practical examples you can use to inspire your own social selling posts!

Check it out and start social selling the right way today!

I’d love to hear from you: What are you going to do this week to “sell without selling”? Which of the 5 strategies above are you going to try implementing

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60 thoughts on “How To Sell Without Sounding Salesy on Social Media”

  1. I loved this, Kim. Thank you, for sharing your insight on what can be a challenging thing for most of us. Of course, what resonated the most with me was #4 Building Relationships 😉  It's so important to do so. There are many people who miss the mark on this when they first start using social media. I like how you also said, you don't have to be in front of the computer 24/7. Have a great day!

  2. I like the idea of "teaching" someone rather than selling them something to do blah, blah, blah. This is a thought I need to journal on and see where it takes me.

  3. Great points, Kim.  Focusing on teaching, serving and listening are definitely the keys to success in life–and in business.

  4. This is wonderful advice, Kim! I am constantly trying to think of ways that I can add value when on social media.  I'm really enjoying connecting and sharing information via a social media platform.

  5. Great advice Kim. I'm a big believer, that people shop at places that they 'like' that have developed a likable image with them. Building a relationship through offering substance and being 'nice' are great ways to create likeability.

  6. This is a great article, Kim.You shared tips on areas that shy people away from providing needed services to others. It made me think about factor that have made my business successful and places I can help others more. Teaching is a services that helps people Understand how a particular service can improve there life. That happens to be my favorite. Thanks!

  7. Hi Kim, you are so spot on with your advice about selling. It made me smile when you mentioned about seeing dollar sign in every person, this is just too funny, but it can be true for some and so this can limit their success! Love it! 🙂

  8. Read this in March 2016. Proof that a good article such as this is Timeless, and also proof that you were ahead of your time having initially published this in 2012. Great work. Gave me some good ideas. Thanks

  9. Hi there I really liked this article. When a brand wants to sale its products it should definitely try not to sound salesy. Thanks for sharing this amazing article with us. I learned a lot from your article and I have already bookmarked and am waiting to read a new article. keep up the good work!

  10. Brad, Financial Advisor in Charleston SC

    I wish more people – on LinkedIn specifically – would read and follow this advice! I see so many connection attempts come through with a sales pitch right off the bat. No warm-up or even introduction. Ugh!

  11. Thank you, for sharing this informative article. Yeah, Social media is powerful but I want to know that how to get more followers through social media.

  12. Hi Kim,
    I will try this technique for sure. Right now I am struggling and don’t know how to sell my services.

  13. i am newbie in blogging..
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  14. This my favorite definition of social selling too; “Social selling is taking out the pitch component of sales.”

  15. Thanks, this is most useful and informative article. Your suggestion is good, but I think it is difficult to implement, but you will get good result definitely after implementing it.

  16. Thanks so much for the useful advice. That’s always a concern of mine, I never want to seem pushy or sound ‘salesy.’ The tips you provide here are beneficial beyond social media. At the end of the day, it really does come down to building relationships.

  17. No doubt its incredible..
    it’s a fantastic information for everyone..
    lot of thanks a great deal for sharing this important info.
    Big thanks

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