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How to Use Social Selling as a Small Business

Contrary to popular belief, success for small businesses on social media isn’t solely about how many people you reach. It’s also about the relationships and connections you build with your audience - and the key to accomplishing this is the art of social selling.

The days of brands hiding behind a logo are long gone. People value authenticity and transparency from brands more than ever, and as a result, users on social media want to know the humans behind the brands they support. 

The strategic method of relationship building with your audience, known as social selling, is an essential but often overlooked part of any successful social media marketing strategy for a small business. Social selling is important because it turns your passive followers into engaged fans of your brand. It also plays an essential role in helping you stand apart from your competition by establishing a strong sense of brand loyalty among your audience, which is priceless. 

Ready to start using social selling to build your brand's know, like, and trust factor? Keep reading to learn how! 

How Brands Can Leverage Social Selling

Studies show that seventy percent of consumers feel more connected when a brand’s CEO is active on social. Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri is the perfect example of this. Over the past year, Adam Mosseri has been significantly more active on social media. When a new feature gets introduced on the platform, he makes a video on his personal page to announce it, walks users through how it works, and explains how the Instagram team believes it will improve its user experience. This level of transparency and two-way conversation is essential for building the brand trust that most consumers feel is essential to have between them and the brands they support.

Social selling is all about nurturing relationships, so like any great relationship, it's important to understand your audience's desires, needs, and motives. 

People use social media to engage. They want to participate in conversations about things they are interested in and build connections with others.

People use social media for entertainment. They want to feel something, whether that be entertained, inspired, or even surprised. 

People use social media to be enlightened. They want to learn something, hear new perspectives, or gain new information. 

Take the time to research and study your audience so you can understand how to create content that supports how they use social media. This will make social selling feel more intuitive, but it will help you make content that is more impactful for your audience. Also, keep these do's and don'ts in mind. 



#1 Have a clear brand voice and brand values. This will guide how you communicate with your audience to ensure that it supports their needs and your overall business goals

Think beyond selling by sharing relatable, educational, or inspiring content. The key to social selling is to interact with your audience authentically, and the best way to do this is by creating content with value. When you create value-driven content, you're also selling your products by default.

“I want our social media to not only showcase and sell our products but also push our mission to reimagine tennis apparel." - Laura Hendrickson, CEO of Modern Love Tennis

#2 Engage back with your audience. Remember: social media is meant to be social. Ask your audience questions. Encourage them to give you feedback. Actively respond to their comments and DMs. One-on-one interactions are how brand loyalists are born. 

#3 Include video content into your social media strategy. Not only is video preferred by most social media algorithms, but it's the best format for creating human-first content, which is key to social selling.


#1 Post generic product photos without a human element. Perfectly curated content may look good aesthetically, but it doesn't say anything about your brand or what it stands for. Focus less on curation and more on creating meaningful conversations.

#2 Avoid talking about the inner workings and behind-the-scenes of your brand. Oftentimes, brands avoid showing the inner workings of their businesses because they fear that it will make them look unpolished or unprofessional. But this level of authenticity and transparency is essential for building brand trust with your audience. 

#3 Ignore feedback from your audience. Whether it's good or bad, feedback from our audience is great, because it guides us on what we should continue doing, and what does not resonate with our audience. Embrace feedback from your audience and use it as market research to understand them better.

Unlike traditional marketing methods, social media allows us to connect, engage, and actively build relationships with our audiences in a way brands have never been able to before. But many small business owners focus so much on selling that they often forget the purpose of social media is in its name: to be SOCIAL. Use these tips to go beyond solely selling to build an engaged online community of loyal followers for your small business. 

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Gabriella Layne-Avery

Gabriella Layne-Avery is a Content Strategist, Creative Director, and the founder of the content marketing agency Strut Communications. Known for coining the term ‘sustainable social media,’ she believes it’s 100% possible for small business owners to leverage social media to cultivate engaged, loyal communities for their brands without spending 24/7 doing so.

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