A couple of days ago, I had an interesting conversation about self-promotion with Julia Hull, Director of Customer Support for Bundle Post (the greatest social media management and curation software on earth). As I made my morning rounds for clients on Facebook, I saw Julia had posted a question in her status asking friends what they thought about self-promotion. She wanted to know whether we viewed it as a good or a bad thing.
Most of the people who replied said that self-promotion is fine as long as it’s done right. At one point, Julia interjected, saying she asked because she has seen an abundance of posts vehemently against self-promotion of any kind. Since business owners and managers must participate in some level of self-promotion to survive, she found this odd.
Sharing relevant, meaningful content with fans and followers represents one of the core aspects of digital marketing. Whether you own a small startup or manage a large social media marketing campaign for a national brand, it’s highly likely that you have some form of self-promotion in your marketing mix. If you don’t, you’re gonna sink! Like the Titanic!
It’s All About Me!
I think what turns some people off about self-promotion is that so many go about it all wrong. These people tweet about themselves well over 50 percent of the time and rarely engage in any authentic way. They are the ones always posting sales, giveaways, and promotions on Facebook and Google Plus with almost no meaningful content about anything outside of their world. I’ve seen several who ONLY talk about themselves and what they offer. It’s almost embarrassing to watch. #justsayin
No one likes to hang out with a person who only talks about himself (or herself). It’s tedious and boring and not a little bit annoying.
So how do you go about doing self-promotion the right way? To attract others and not push them away?
Make It All About Others.
Make your everyday all about others and how they inspire you, their successes, their achievements. Decide what you want to be known for; develop mad skills — expert ability — in that area that make you stand out from the rest. If you’re good, others will brag on your prowess.
Do it quietly. Keep your resume and LinkedIn profile updated and make sure your professional story is clear and complete. If you landed a great deal recently, say it outright. Talk about your successes and collaborations. This represents an easy, yet passive, way to promote yourself. When someone approaches you about what you do, you’ll have a polished and crazy-interesting career story to share.
Help others. Post content on your blog and social media platforms that offer meaningful information for others. You might want to mentor a couple of people in your niche. I love doing this and it’s always enriched me as much or more than the person I’m mentoring. Mentoring has a different feel to it than coaching and it can pay off big time. But don’t do it for the possible pay off. Do it because it gives you joy and fulfillment to share your knowledge and experience for others. Just because.
Stay positive and enthusiastic. Don’t tweet or gab about your bad day or other personal let downs on social media. People have enough of their own troubles and don’t want to get further bogged down by your bitterness or drama. If you need to vent or “let the tears gush”, do it face-to-face with a good friend, family member, or other familiar in your life. Once you’ve had your cry or chest beating session, move past it. Deliberately look for beauty all around you in the little things. Got joy and enthusiasm? No? Then, I recommend subscribing to and reading the Zen Habits blog by Leo Babauta. He shares so many great tips and truths for leading a mindful, joyful life that’s rooted in the presence.
Acknowledge and talk about others. Talk about people you’ve collaborated with on projects and give concrete ways in which they helped and made the end result better than ever. Acknowledge your heroes in the industry and in your niche. Recommend people in related areas to clients. As a content creator and marketer, I regularly recommend my favorite Web developers, graphic designers, and SEO professionals to my clients. I don’t expect them to return the favor. I do it because these are the best I’ve worked with and I trust their professional experience. It just so happens that they almost always do recommend me when the opportunity comes along, but that’s not why I do it.
The more I promote other people, the wider my path to success grows. It’s an amazing thing to watch – how talking about others creates more opportunity for my own entrepreneurial journey. Let others inspire you. Then tell the world about it.
Listen. Listen to what your target audience says about their needs and pain. If you have a product or service that offers a great solution, strike up a conversation with them. Don’t sell. Don’t tell. Show. Show that you’re an expert in the field by simply discussing their issues with them from a caring perspective and without saying that you’ve got the magic wand to cure it all (even though you do). People are attracted to those who listen to them and who understand them. I guarantee you those that you engage with in this way will check your profile, pop over to your website, and see that you’re an expert. They’ll also appreciate that you didn’t try to sell to them like some sort of opportunistic vulture.
Admit your mistakes. One of the most critical leadership skills out there is the willingness to admit to failure and mistakes. Others will see you as more human and will connect to you on a more personal level. Humility and authenticity win the day here.
Stick to the 80/20 rule. The content you share on social media should be 80 percent about others and 20 percent about you. That is, curate relevant, meaningful content from others in your horizontal or vertical industry and share that with your network. Sprinkle in your own content (i.e. posts from your website, news stories that mention you, client testimonials) in there sparingly. Full disclosure, I usually share 90 percent about others, 10 percent about myself on social media. But that’s just my personal preference. It works for me.
Get out there. Be everywhere. Every single day. Engage on your favorite social media platforms every day. Have conversations…not just about business, but about so-and-so’s dog or their child’s achievement in a sport or academics. Open up dialogue to whatever and allow these things to spill over into you and connect you on a deeper level to others.
Live, play, work, create, post, tweet, share, and talk in the moment. The rest will all fall into place.
What are your thoughts on self-promotion? Tell me about others in your industry who have inspired you. Share their greatness with us.
Me image from tckpublishing [dot] com