Remember telemarketers?

You would spend an hour preparing dinner, sit down, relax with the family, and then ring ring! There’d be a phone call, someone would mispronounce your name, and then try to sell you something.

More often than not, you would rightfully grow indignant that this salesperson was invading your personal space, and you’d hang up.

The golden age of the telemarketer may be gone, but more and more businesses and organizations think it’s perfectly fine to pitch people when they’re on Facebook, on their own time.

And the results are similar.

You can make fans “hang up” with too many pitches

Facebook is a social world, not a sales floor. People aren’t in the mood to hear flashy claims about products and services when they’re looking at their friend’s wedding, baby, and vacation photos.

Yet people do use Facebook to learn new information.

Fans will respect businesses and organizations that join or start conversations about broader topics in the field, but they’ll turn away if they suspect that a business is being social just to make a sale.

Make too many pitches instead of sharing helpful or entertaining content and fans could Unlike your Page … the equivalent of a hang-up in the social media world.

This can seem like a paradox — if Facebook fans just want to interact instead of buy, how are you supposed to market yourself on Facebook?

Marketing by Sharing 

Fans expect your Page to be a resource. By positioning yourself as an expert in the field, your business or organization will be the first to come to mind when customers and supporters do want to make a purchase, try out your service, or contribute to your cause.

Here are examples of three businesses and organizations that are marketing themselves by sharing great content.

1)      Sharing an Experience

Restaurant, retail, and recreation businesses can share how great their products are without trying to sell them.  Photos are an easy way to show off just how special your business is. Just take a look at this post from The Villa Gourmet, which adds something to a current hot topic while promoting the store:

“Deals have become meaningless to me, because everyone is always offering them,” owner Linda McIntyre says. “I just wanted to sell a product by giving people a reason to have it.”

2)      Sharing Expertise

B2Bs have a great opportunity to share some of their expertise via Facebook. For example, John Hickey of The Growth Center, launched a social campaign on the business’ Facebook Page that offered people a free sample of his book of successful tips.

In two weeks, his fan count grew by 15 percent and a few people went on to buy the book, too.

You may not have a book on-hand, but any business or organization can offer a free download that flaunts their expertise in the field. A guide isn’t just a preview of what to expect from other Facebook posts, it’s also a guarantee that the service you provide is top-notch.

3)      Sharing a Cause

Nonprofits have a great advantage when it comes to selling by sharing: They have a cause that people are already interested in. It’s just a matter of presenting it the right way.

In fact, you can become the go-to place for fans just by helping them stay in touch with the latest developments and resources. This is what The Adoption Resources of Wisconsin often does through Facebook posts:

Remember that Facebook is still a personal sphere

The biggest confusion that businesses and organizations have is that they still act as if Facebook is a traditional marketing space.

Facebook is more like that time at the table after work. New conversation topics are welcome, whether they’re in the form of photos, headlines, or videos.

Every time you write about a great deal, ask yourself whether the post is engaging enough to be interesting, or if your fans will just hang up on it.

How do you share without making a sales pitch? Share your experiences below!