What is the difference between social media marketing and social selling?

What Is The Difference Between Social Media Marketing And Social Selling?

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Social selling and social media marketing may sound similar but are completely different strategies. These two terms can get confusing and are often used interchangeably, so this blog is here to clear things up, while giving you a good idea of how to use both!

They are different strategies but are used to achieve similar goals. The main difference between social selling and social media marketing is that social selling is actively searching for and reaching out to clients, so you can connect and build up a relationship with them.

Social media marketing is used to attract customers/clients to your page by creating interesting/educational/entertaining content.

What are the pros and cons of social selling?

Social selling is the process of developing relationships with potential customers as part of the sales process. Although a relatively new concept, it is very successful in this age of social media.

Using certain social media platforms, you reach out and build relationships with prospects. Then, after developing and nurturing your potential buyers, you turn these prospects into clients.

With social selling, you are leveraging social media to generate leads. This is usually by using B2B social media platforms, like LinkedIn.

Once you start to reach out to potential clients with various social selling techniques, you can educate them and even have networking calls to get to know your clients better. LinkedIn is perfect for getting to know your target audience and attracting the right type of clients for YOU.

Before you embark on digital sales training, it’s important to know what you need to learn about the two strategies. As with every strategy, social selling and social media marketing come with their own pros and cons.

What are the pros and cons to social selling?

Pros of social selling

Builds trust with your audience: Building trust is essential to lead generation, you aren’t going to get clients if your audience feel they can’t trust you and you’re not being authentic. A big part of building trust is having a consistent brand, online and offline.

Interacting and engaging with your audience is a great way to showcase your brands personality and show you care about building trust with your potential clients. All the interactions your clients have with you adds to their experience and overall perception of your brand.

If you’re showing up regularly, you will stand out as a trusted source of information in your industry and will be the first to come to mind when clients need expertise in your industry.

Shortens the sales cycle:

You might think that getting your sales team to spend hours building relationships and finding clients sounds time consuming and ‘not worth it’ but the truth is;

“78% of sales reps who use social selling outsell those who don’t use social media.”

If anything, social media platforms make finding clients 10x easier for sales teams. Social selling with platforms like LinkedIn will help you to find companies in industries you’re searching for, so you can easily research them before reaching out.

The sales cycle can traditionally be quite slow, waiting for months for that final sale with slow back and forth emails. Social selling cuts down the sales cycle, as you’re interacting with prospects at key stages in their customer journey.

Being there to answer questions and queries while educating them will help guide them while providing a brilliant customer experience.

Leverages you against the competition: Everyone is starting to catch on to how beneficial social selling really is, especially with building a personal brand.

If you’re in an industry that typically doesn’t use social selling or is not very active on social media, then you could dominate the social space in your industry.

This is an opportunity to be the best and be present for your customers and if you’re already on social media, interacting with potential clients or previous customers, then you’re already ahead of the competition.

Cons of social selling

Of course, there are also challenges to be expected with this strategy:

Targeting your niche: with millions of active users, it can be hard to attract a specific niche and create content that attracts a certain audience, so it’s important to do your research. You can nail down your audience by researching what those kinds of industries/people are trying to find out. Send out surveys and ask for those opinions from people who can give you a useful answer.

Make sure to research the right platforms too as LinkedIn may not be the place for you, you might find success with other social platforms. You don’t want to waste time creating valuable content but it’s not reaching the audience you want as they’re not active on there.

Requires careful planning: The thing with social selling is that you can’t just message every potential client you come across the same thing and be generic if you really want to convert digital sales conversations into revenue.

You’ve got to do research on certain industries, find weaknesses they could improve on and see if your service/product fits for them. You’ve also got to create carefully curated content that appeals to them and solves their need, the thing is though is that it pays off.

Nothing is guaranteed: Unfortunately, nothing is guaranteed. Which means despite your best efforts to nurture and build a relationship with a client, you may not hear from them or they could use a different service. Don’t overthink it though!

A competitor could have got there before you or offered them a better deal and your efforts are not wasted, you’ve still provided valuable information and proven yourself to be helpful and educated.

What are the pros and challenges of social media marketing?

Social selling may be new to the sales and marketing landscape but social media marketing certainly isn’t. Social media marketing is very different to social selling but they both achieve the same goals with the audience.

Your social media marketing strategy is used to spread brand awareness and build trust through interacting and engaging with your audience, creating interesting content that can generate high quality leads.

What are the pros and cons of social media marketing?

Pros of social media marketing

Easier to target your audience: It’s easier to target your company’s general target audience on social media channels as popular platforms do this for you. When running ads you can put in certain demographic and psychographic qualities that make it easy for the algorithm to do the rest. These metrics are tracked and you can easily see how well your advert has performed with your audience.

There are also brilliant retargeting opportunities with social platforms. For example, you can reach individuals who are more likely to convert to paying customers by displaying ads on social media that specifically target those who visited your website already and viewed specific product or service pages.

Improved Customer Experience: Social media gives you the ability to voice your brand message, deliver deeper insight into you and your mission and values, and connect with customers who share your values. A social media presence reinforces what you are building offline, which builds trust and will help customers gain a positive impression of your brand.

If you’ve ever bought something and needed the attention of a brand to ask a question then social media is usually a go-to. Being on social platforms is very beneficial especially for the younger generation, considering

“An estimated 67% of consumers now use social media networks like Twitter and Facebook to seek resolution for issues (Source : Social Media Today)”

So make sure you’re present and there for your customers on platforms where your customers need you most!

Revenue generation: Considering half the world is on social media, it’s no surprise that social media marketing is another stream of income, if done correctly.

The more potential you have at growing your customer base is huge and more people will discover your brand. Social media allow you to reach your audience directly on a wide variety of platforms and with word-of-mouth too. Many of the people you reach may not be interested in your product or service, but if you create shareable content, you will be shared to others who will be.

Depending on what you offer and the type of content you post on social media, several social media platforms will allow you to make money directly. A great example of this is being able to book appointments through Instagram and Facebook, so you can easily turn leads into customers.

You may be able to generate more revenue through organic social media posts overpaid, but there’s nothing wrong with getting your marketing department to create some paid ads, too. Investing into paid ads enables you to reach thousands of like-minded individuals who may be interested in purchasing your products/services.

Challenges of social media marketing

Tracking meaningful metrics: It’s great when you see one of you posts you worked hard on receiving likes, comments and shares but what does this mean? And does this help create leads? It’s important to track the right metrics to judge whether or not what you’re doing is actually successful.

Algorithms: Algorithms are difficult to work out and to make matters worse, they change quite frequently. There’s a few social media platforms that are hard to work out and any research on how the algorithm works is just speculation, which can make things tricky. However, just focus on creating high quality content and don’t let the algorithm get you down.

Followers don’t equal leads: A large following doesn’t automatically mean a lot of leads. Having a large following means your content must have intrigued and interested a lot of people at some point.

However, in order to thrive online and turn these interested followers into leads, you must continue to post content that delivers on their needs and is niched down. It’s impossible to create content that thousands will be valuable to thousands, so niche it down and decide who you want to sell to. Guide your content by the needs of your target audience and sales goals.

Is social selling the same as social media marketing?

Is social selling the same as social media marketing?

No, they are different strategies but are used to achieve similar goals. The main difference between social selling and social media marketing is that social selling is actively searching for and reaching out to clients, so you can connect and build up a relationship with them.

Social media marketing is used to attract customers/clients to your page by creating interesting/educational/entertaining content.


How do I become a social seller?

There’s nothing holding you back from social selling. Social selling is just networking and connecting with other people that you think would be interested in what you have to offer. make connections, send a message get talking to people! Just don’t send the same generic sales pitch to everyone, it shows you don’t care and makes you look like a spam bot, personalisation is key!

Which social media is best for selling products?

For physical products, it depends on your target audience. LinkedIn is mainly used for selling services but doesn’t mean you can’t sell/promote a physical product.

Instagram is great for companies selling products and you’ve got a whole photo gallery that immediately show your customers what you’ve got to offer.

How can I sell on social media without a website?

You can sell your products and service on social media but a website is still essential. It is possible to sell on social media without a website, but this is all fairly new. For example, you can sell on instagram store and TikTok shop makes it easy for impulse buys.

We see problems with social media platforms going down and sometimes being hacked. This just goes to show how important having the basics are still. Being able to email customers and being accessible to contact through your website are essential. Your social media should bring leads to your website and so should Google.

Having a website is more than just selling products. You want your clients to easily be able to find out information about your company, useful information like blogs and service pages all in one useful place. If you do not have a website you can look untrustworthy.


Want to learn more about social selling or social media marketing and how it can benefit your business? Learn more about how you can work with us to build a great social selling strategy!

Picture of Chloe Russell
Chloe Russell
Chloe’s passion for Marketing started back in 2020 when studying Creative Media and analysed many creative campaigns, and is now our Marketing Executive, writing blogs and managing our social media channels.

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