Techniques & strategies

Social selling vs cold outreach

While cold outreach relies on unsolicited emails or calls, social selling leverages social media to build relationships and engage with prospects.

Mar 19, 2024

Selecting the most effective sales strategy is essential for driving business success. Two popular methods are social selling and cold outreach. While cold outreach relies on unsolicited emails or calls, social selling leverages social media to build relationships and engage with prospects.

The lowdown

Social selling: Uses platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, and Reddit to connect with potential customers. It’s all about building relationships and offering value before making a pitch/sell. Think of it as networking at a party, where meaningful conversations lead to lasting connections.

Cold outreach: Cold outreach is like knocking on a stranger's door and hoping they’re in the mood to chat. It involves contacting potential customers with whom there has been no prior interaction. Cold calls, unsolicited emails, and direct mail fall into this category.

Key differences

  1. Engagement

  • Social selling: Prioritizes relationship-building and trust through regular engagement.

  • Cold outreach: Relies on direct, unsolicited contact which can often be perceived as intrusive.

  1. Effectiveness:

  • Social selling: Studies show that 78% of social sellers outsell peers who don’t use social media.

  • Cold outreach: Traditional methods have lower response rates and can often be ignored by recipients. This method requires months of testing and reiteration to perfect.

  1. Lead quality

  • Social selling: Identifies high-quality leads through social listening and engagement.

  • Cold outreach: Often involves contacting large lists of potential leads without prior qualification.

Why social selling outperforms cold outreach

Higher conversion rates

Social selling nurtures relationships, leading to higher conversion rates compared to cold outreach. Prospects are more likely to respond positively when they feel valued and understood.

Improved customer relationships

Building relationships through social media fosters trust and credibility. This approach not only leads to immediate sales but also promotes long-term customer loyalty.


Social selling can be more cost-effective than cold outreach. By targeting specific audiences and automating engagement, businesses can reduce time and software costs, and instead focus resources on high-potential leads.


When comparing social selling to cold outreach, each approach has its merits and challenges. Social selling fosters genuine relationships and trust, leading to higher engagement and conversion rates by leveraging the power of social media.

On the other hand, cold outreach is like trying to get a date by calling random numbers in the phone book—it requires a high level of skill and strategy to break through the noise and connect with potential customers. It’s a more complex game where success often hinges on crafting the perfect message to turn a cold lead into a warm opportunity.

P.S.: incase you were looking for a social selling wingman…

PitchGhost excels at pinpointing high-quality leads by tracking keywords and using advanced filters and boolean search. Unlike cold outreach software, which provides generic contact lists, PitchGhost finds specific social media posts where users explicitly express interest or intent signals. It's like a search engine for social media, ensuring businesses engage with prospects already primed for conversion.

PitchGhost not only automates engagement but also offers personalized draft responses tailored to the conversation and brand tone. Users can customize the tone of these drafts, making it easier and quicker to respond effectively, minimizing writer’s block.