Back Office Secrets
with Jenny Shih

How To Use Social Media To Boost Your Sales (Ick-Free!) In One Hour A Month

I avoided Twitter for 2 years. I wasn’t gonna do it. You couldn’t make me. I don’t care how cool people said it was. I was afraid to get sucked into a vortex of wasted time.

Then one day in April this year, I bit the bullet. I knew it was time. For whatever reason, my fears disappeared. I’d be okay, I surmised.

And within a few short months, I fell in love.

Not because it helps introverts like me easily network without having to go to a networking event.

Not because it forces other people to keep their message concise, 140 characters or less, so I’m not reading dozens of 1000 word blog posts or listening to endless rambling.

And not because it made me feel cool. (It doesn’t.)

I fell in love with Twitter because it simplifies selling. It completely removes the ick factor from selling. It saves me time. And it keeps me focused on building relationships.

How to save time, remove the ick, and stay focused on relationships

Here’s what I’ve done to fall in love with Twitter and simplify selling with social media and how you can do it, too.

1. Set your intention

Ask yourself why you use social media. I don’t mean to go all life-coachey on you, but it’s important to know why you engage in social media. It will help you effectively use your social media time.

2. Set the stage

With your intentions in mind, think about your social media presence in approximate percentages. How often do you want to sell? Mention your free stuff? Share information? Talk about life in general? Those percentages should reflect your overall intention.

3. Do some prep work, just this one time

With your percentages in mind, write a set of standard tweets for your products, services, and free stuff. These would be things that you would repeat regularly. Keep things interesting by using a variety of tweets for the same offer. For example, I tweet 6 times each month about my free idea flight kit, the opt-in for my newsletter, but each tweet is different.

4. Schedule the pitches

Block out one hour each month to schedule your tweets and Facebook posts using a service like HootSuite or Timely.

During your hour, schedule your prewritten tweets to publish throughout the month. Be sure that the number of tweets you schedule for your free and paid offers is within the percentage guidelines you intended.

5. Fill in the gaps

Schedule other tweets and Facebook posts to fill in the gaps of how else you want to use social media, such as inspirational quotes or anything that resonates with your followers. Pepper them in between the sales posts so you’re covered every day of the month, in case you forget to post something one day. This will generate effortless relationship building as people reply to what you have to say–even though you may have posted it a month ago–making it easy for you to complete the relationship connection with a simple reply.

6. Engage daily and repeat monthly

Use your daily Twitter and Facebook checks to talk about what you’re up to, share relevant, recent resources, and continue to build relationships. The selling, however, is done.

Next month, repeat steps 4, 5 and 6.

That’s it. In 1 hour you set yourself up for a month of social media activity that included spreading the word about what you offer and initiating connections with your followers.

Simplifying selling to focus on relationships

When I created this simple process to sell without feeling like I’m selling, I was able to use Twitter in a way that my previously fearful brain never thought possible. I am able to focus on people and avoid a time-sucking vortex. I share my free offers on Twitter without worrying if I’m doing it too much or too little, because it’s all planned out in advance.

When you simplify social media selling, you can focus on building relationships. It doesn’t mean you aren’t in business to make money; we all are. It merely means you are focusing on the relationships, not the selling. Hence, no ick. Like Howard Behar says of his company Starbucks, “It’s not about the coffee. It’s about people.”


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About Jenny Shih

Jenny Shih of is a coach and consultant for small business owners. Her clients are “idea factories” with growing businesses who need help planning, strategizing, streamlining and systematizing. She helps new entrepreneurs define their niche, learn the basics of marketing, and start making money. And she helps experienced entrepreneurs set up systems so they can get out of the daily grind and spend more time doing what they love.

Jenny is the author of The System Flight Kit, everything you need to create effective systems in your business, and The Idea Flight Kit, a step-by-step guide for turning your ideas into something real. Download your copies right here. They’re FREE!


  1. Great tips here Jenny! I just started using HootSuite a little while back and I’m not sure how I got along without it! Saves lots of time especially when you have multiple profiles like I do.

  2. Again with the great content Jenny Shih! Thank you for doing what you do so I can streamline what I do!

  3. Andy Fogarty says:

    #1 is my favorite. So many people totally forget or just don’t even think about why they’re using the tools they’re using. Myself included!

    Thanks for the reminder, Jenny. Good stuff.

    • Thanks, Andy. You’re right–we need to remember why we’re doing it in the first place! It’s so easy to get lost in the task of DOing without even knowing why.

      Glad this helped you!

  4. Jenny, as one who is Twitter-averse myself, you have provided one of the most useful posts I have ever read about how to use Twitter with intention. All of these steps are brilliant. This is a keeper. Thank you!

    • So happy to hear it helped, Laurie. I know what it feels like to be Twitter-averse–not fun! With these social media tech tools it all somehow feels survivable, and heck, I’m even liking it :-)

  5. This whole post is a keeper! I am printing this out and using it asap – it nicely coincides with getting my Twitter posts scheduled for November :-)

    If I have to pick one thing that is a game-changer for me, though, it’s #4. I love that you put those in first so you can fill in and keep the proportions in line with your overall strategy. Perfect. No sales-y ick!

    • It is great timing that this post came out today. Reminded me that it’s that time again!

      Yes, making sure we don’t use too many salesy posts during the month keeps us focused on networking and providing great content to followers–not on selling. Yay for ick-free!

  6. Good social media tips. I used to try it for a time but it didn’t work. I will try this method again and hope it will work well. Thank you Jenny.

    • One of the keys is persistence and patience, Thomas. If you try this method, know that it won’t take a much time each month, so keep at it. Relationship building is important, also.

  7. Great Post Jenny! I have not taken the plunge into Twitter and I may never do it. I have been opposed to doing any more social media or projects until I get a handle on the projects I already have. It is just too overwhelming right now. But, if I do, I will make sure I do it in the ways you described above. Thanks. ;-)

  8. Would you do my Twitter for me ? : ) Really great solid tips Jenny and a system I believe I can stick with. Thank you for over-coming your twitter aversion, we have benefited because of it !

  9. The idea of selling still makes people feel like they are being
    a gross car salesman.

    I think we all need to remember that authentic selling can happen. Even though we are selling a product as long as it is a great solution
    for someone then we should not feel icky :)

    I really love the percentages tip. Thinking about how often you want
    to sell. I’ve often thought about this in an 80/20 way.

    Great post Jenny!

    • Good point, Lea. If we sell a product that is a great solution, we don’t need to feel icky. (Though people often do anyway, especially nice people!)

  10. Ick-free selling? I’m in. Just signed up for your kit, Jenny.

  11. Jenny, this is a fantabulous post!! You know me I love systems & processes (like you) to make our lives easier. I have to say I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Twitter and just this week I had on my to-do to carve out some time to get back in the saddle but, hadn’t come up with a simple strategy to do so or why even do it. Anyhoo, you just saved me an hour (no pun intended) and gave me not one, but two $$$ dollar ideas too. You rock Jenny!

  12. Jenny – as fellow introvert I do love that Twitter helps me avoid those awkward networking events :). You’ve given such great tips here, I will implement them all. My favorites: set your intention, set the stage and do prep work. In the rush to launch our businesses on the world it is easy to forget the “why” and forget the plans we put in place for ourselves. I love that you bring us back to that.

    • The “why” does often get lost in a sea of tasks and list of things to do “like everyone else.” Yes, the why makes it much easier to dive in (or not) depending on you and your business–not anyone else. Thanks for being here!

  13. Hey Jenny,
    Been active user of social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Multiply, etc. but I did not know that we could use them in boosting our sales and promoting our products unto the market. So glad to met this article of yours. Gained new knowledge. :D