If you’re old enough, you likely remember your parents addressing the issues of group think. Maybe they said, “Monkey see, monkey do.” Perhaps you were trying to win an argument by telling them how you’re the only person not allowed to do something, to which they replied, “If everyone jumped off of a bridge, would you do it too?” But as much as your parents were trying to raise you to be a person who thinks on their own, we are social creatures. We long for acceptance. We have a fear of missing out. And it’s those very social drives you can leverage to get more customers.
Reasons & Ways You Should Use Social Methods to Sell
Most of us are herd animals. We see crowds as validation of something awesome. Have you ever pulled into an empty restaurant parking lot on a Friday night, somewhere you’ve never eaten, and before you even walk in the door you think it must not be good because no one is there? We use social proof all the time when it comes to doing business with a company. That’s why multi-level marketing companies are so successful.
Sometimes the product requires socialization. Tupperware should’ve exploded onto the market when it launched in 1946. Plastic food storage, what a concept! Instead, it floundered on store shelves. Part of the reason why was that people didn’t understand its purpose. They needed an education on its uses and to see how convenient it was. So, the company began recruiting an army of housewives. These ladies would host parties and show their friends how convenient the product was and how it helped preserve food longer than storing it in glass jars, metal cans, or ceramic containers. Imagine how many cans you’d use to save some leftover lasagna. It certainly wouldn’t come out looking like it did the night it was made. These women could showcase the product and because their friends trusted them, it was sales genius.
If your product requires a little education or a demo helps to understand it, you now have several ways to showcase it including:
- In-home parties
- Videos, reels, and TikToks
- In-store demos
Social Proof and Word-of-mouth Marketing
In addition to the educational component that Tupperware used, they were front runners in using social proof and word-of-mouth marketing. They sold mainly through in-home parties, which leveraged connections and provided a friendly face, not a smooth-talking salesperson.
These days, businesses have access to wider-reaching social parties. Many are creating situations where they incentivize people to tag/invite friends and family to “life-changing” webinars. Why do these methods work? Again, we generally trust our friends and family. Plus, we’re more likely to do something when we have friends to do it with. Just look at any of the webinars Tony Robbins and Dean Grazioso are running these days. They have private Facebook groups and use Telegram. They also encourage attendees to invite others to join. In their most recent “It’s Time to Own Your Future Challenge” series, they’re using contests on social media to spread the word, one entry for every post. To make it easy for all, they provide an image and text. Just copy and paste. The money behind that promotion is small. They’re not buying everyone an iPad. They’re providing a chance to win one. That’s a lot more cost-effective promotion. They’ll also achieve a better conversion rate than paying people to cold call possible attendees. After all, when a friend asks you to do something, you’re more willing to try it. And these attendees are making the ask based on a “chance to win,” not payment.
Another way to use social selling is through offering experiences. Some businesses are adopting apps that allow customers to shop with their friends even if they can’t do it in person. After all, sometimes you just need a second opinion and who can you trust like your bestie? Social sells. Shopify suggests, “The ‘store as a community hub’ model enables merchants to interact with their customers on a regular basis to educate, gather feedback, share experiences, host events, and launch new products.”
If your business doesn’t have the budget to sign on with an existing app or create your own, you could post fun signs encouraging calling and Facetiming friends to enable a more social shopping experience. Hosting in-store events (like Girls’ Night Out) can also accomplish this.
Social selling works leveraging genuine connections that people trust and rely on. No more pushy sales pitches or campaigns that don’t work. Friends are having fun with friends and, in turn, helping you to get people in the door and build stronger relationships. Through using established connections that they already trust, you can empower loyal customers to share and have a good time while they do. Plus, you can expand your reach and increase your customer base with social proof. If you’re ready to grow your business, take a note from Tupperware and leverage the power of your customers’ social connections.
Christina Metcalf is a writer/ghostwriter who believes in the power of story. She works with small businesses, chambers of commerce, and business professionals who want to make an impression and grow a loyal customer/member base. She loves road trips, hates exclamation points, and doesn’t have enough friends to be good at social selling.
Instagram and Threads: @christinametcalfauthor