You’ve been writing that blog for months, but you haven’t made any traction. In fact, it seems like the stickiness of your posts is dwindling. The same holds true for all those tweets you’ve been pushing out. You know there’s a problem, but you can’t put your finger on it. After all the keyword analysis and calls-to-action, shouldn’t people be coming in droves? The problem likely isn’t that you haven’t done everything right; the problem is that you’ve done it right from a sales perspective, but not from a relationship-selling perspective. Social media is a different beast, and marketers are only starting to get a handle on it. Pushy sales language just doesn’t work in these online venues. In fact, it only serves to turn off would-be customers. Today’s readers want information. Though they’re willing to spend their hard-earned money on products and services, they demand value, entertainment and purpose. Telling them what to do is a turn-off, and it creates bad blood. Fortunately, it’s not too late to turn around your social media writings. Unlike the Titanic, there’s a good chance that if you start to leave the pushiness behind, you’ll gain the marketing momentum you desire. Just try these fast, simple and powerful tricks:

  • Don’t Make Every Post About You. Let’s say you’re hocking rakes. Does every blog post have to talk about how wonderful your rakes are? Nope. Why not discuss other lawn-care tips? Why not highlight pictures of beautiful landscapes? Why not ask customers to send in pics of the way they’ve spruced up their yards using your awesome rake? There’s no need to put on the hard-sell each time you put together an article or Facebook post. Let your words do the selling for you. Take for example RR Kling & Sons, a heating and air conditioning company from PA. Their last Tweet was a new story with tips on how to keep your AC running strong. There was nothing sales-y about it, and yet it built trust.
  • Create Share-Worthy Social Media Pieces. These might be great images, funny videos or educational (and interesting or historical) facts. Most people like to buy through referrals, so if you can get some shares going, you’ll build natural buzz.
  • Host a Contest. Yes, we know that this seems trite … but it works. It’s no wonder that McDonald’s has its Monopoly contest once a year. Sure, it’s the most popular fast food restaurant on the planet, but it still knows the value of a contest that has absolutely nothing to do with what it sells. Your contest should be seen as valuable to potential clients, so don’t just give away a $5 iTunes card or your latest PDF. Make the prizes something special, and the ways to enter easy as pie.
  • Answer Some of Your Most Frequently Asked Questions. What are the No. 1 questions that customers ask you? Write a list, and then strive to answer those questions thoroughly and factually – not in sales speak – in articles and blog posts. East Coast Vapor gets questions all the time about the different flavors they offer. Writing a post to answer some of those questions can be huge to a potential customer. Again, don’t overdo it. Just be honest. If your product or service is really amazing, it will sell itself.
  • Be Humorous. It’s OK to be human. Individuals like that, especially in a company. If you have something funny to say, or you noticed an amusing billboard on your way to work this morning, post about it. Ironically, that post might generate the most commentary you’ve had all quarter, and encourage people to see your business as more than just another dull, dollar-hungry corporation.

Social media users aren’t dummies, and we can’t afford to treat them like they are. Their time is valuable, so as marketers, we have to show them respect. One of the best ways is through the writing we place before them.