If you cringe at the idea of self-promotion, you’re probably used to seeing poorly executed marketing tactics.
Or you’ve attended one too many networking lunches.
But I’m here to remind you that – if done correctly – the promotion of your brand is extremely beneficial to reaching your business goals. And no, that doesn’t mean bragging to your colleagues every time they invite you out for a drink. And it definitely doesn’t mean getting online and shoving your success stories down your audience’s throat.
Sure, elements of self-promotion require you to put yourself out there. After all, you need to convince people that you’re worth their time and money. But to be successful at it, you have to learn how to strike the right balance between humble and boastful.
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(Now, this is where I can brag a little…)
Through my work as a business owner and personal brand strategist, I’ve nailed the perfect (and not-so-cringy) self-promotional strategy. This is what I use for all of my clients; most of whom come to me with little to no confidence to talk about themselves online.
By the end of this, I promise you’ll have a completely different outlook on promoting your brand!
What is Self Promotion?
You’ve probably witnessed your fair share of people putting themselves out there in the name of growing their businesses. Those Instagram ads on how you can make $10K/month (with a $1,000 course, naturally). Those people on LinkedIn who constantly talk about themselves (and are kind of annoying). And of course, the archetypical influencers whose entire livelihood depends on promoting their personal brand.
Although those lengthy posts and the endless social media ads can be overwhelming, they’re all forms of self-promotion. And when done with the right approach, they can be effective in helping to elevate your personal brand.
I understand that putting yourself out there isn’t always easy or comfortable. It can be awkward at first, but a change in mindset and effective strategies can turn you into a pro.
Would you believe me if I told you that even the timidest entrepreneur prefers chatting up a total stranger than having a conversation with their romantic partner?
Psychology tells us that networking with new people can have a positive impact on our emotional state. That’s not to say that your partner is chop liver, but it does prove that self-promotion isn’t as intimidating as it sounds.
In fact, it should be fun!
The question is, how do you get started? Naturally, social media is the go-to strategy. It’s a quick and easy way to get the word out there about your business. But it’s all done in vain (literally) if all you’re doing is talking about how great your business is doing. Sometimes even bragging too much about your client’s success can come across as forced and irritating.
If this is all sounding a bit too relatable, then I’m thrilled you’re here. Because as a personal branding specialist, it kills me to see half-hearted approaches to self-promotion.
What NOT To Do
Before you can confidently take on self-promotion, I need to call out those who are doing it all wrong.
With the rise of digital platforms, many people are desperately trying to become social media famous without first accepting the reality: it takes a lot of work (and consistency). If you haven’t thought about why you want to have a social media following, your personal brand is already headed for trouble.
I see it all the time. When people come to me for help with their personal brand, it’s because they want more recognition. You used to have to hire a flashy PR firm to land press opportunities and to grow your influence. Now it’s easy to promote yourself.
But here’s the one thing that I see everyone get hung up on:
Before you can talk about your brand to your audience, you have to know what you’re doing and why. If you just jump right in, you’re going to do one of two things:
- Make fool of yourself
- Stop trying because the pressure is too strong
When you don’t know why you want more recognition, you’re going to feel lost. Either that or you simply won’t want to promote yourself.
A strong self-promotional strategy demands an understanding of omnichannel marketing so that your brand is consistent and has a notable presence on multiple platforms. But before we get into that, here’s what you shouldn’t do when it comes to promoting your brand online.
- Start self-promoting without a strategy. You need social media, a blog or YouTube channel, and an overall omnichannel marketing plan.
- Depend on just your personality; you need to have a niche or area of expertise to get people to like, know, and trust you.
- Forget to think about your audience. Consider this: what do they want from you?
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Your Self Promotional Strategy For Getting Noticed
All of this begs the question: How can you genuinely promote yourself without feeling burnt out?
Believe it or not, it is possible to create a thriving digital presence without losing sight of yourself. Self-promotion is more than bragging about your accomplishments or shouting your name from the proverbial rooftops. A strong promotional strategy should use social media, marketing models, and personal branding to spotlight your service or product and your skillsets.
Yes, you should share your entrepreneurial journey. But to an extent. When it comes to potential clients, they’re only interested in what you have to offer once they see what’s in it or them.
In short: quit bragging and start providing value. Here’s how you can do that:
Step 1: Choose Your Battles
It pays to be choosey when it comes to promoting your personal brand. But first, you need to decide how, where, and when you want to show up.
First, the how. Knowing how to talk about yourself without sounding vain is tricky. That’s why you need to define your personal brand’s statement, message, and voice. These are the three core elements that define your brand. Each one builds on the other and serves as the reference point for everything you do and everything your post.
Without understanding each of these, you’re going to get hung up on what to post, how to write your captions, and you’ll fall off the wagon. Promoting yourself shouldn’t be that exhausting.
With that said, remember that you also shouldn’t pretend to be an expert on everything.
For example, don’t be a finance expert who knows all about stocks, filing taxes, and real estate investments. Pick one of those topics. This makes it easier to get noticed because you’re constantly promoting your success and strategies on a nuanced subject.
Next, the where. As much as you may like being on every platform, you have to be mindful about where you spend your time online. Decide which social media platforms are the best ones to be on for your niche. I outline which 5 I think are the best in this post, but you’ll need to analyze this for your specific brand.
Also, keep in mind that copying and pasting the same content into each post won’t do you much good. Each platform demands a different type of content and appeals to a varied demographic of your target audience.
This brings us to the next battle when it comes to self-promoting: time. It’s not about knowing when the best time to post is; it’s about creating and adhering to a schedule that helps you stay consistent. Ask yourself how often you’re willing to promote yourself to best reach your target audience. Is your schedule realistic? Are you willing to keep up with it all? Remember that you’ll feel strained and burnt out if your schedule is too hectic. So keep it realistic.
Step 2: Be Active, Not Passive
The belief that good things come to those who wait is an outdated recipe for disaster when it comes to self-promotion. To make your efforts worth it, you have to be proactive in putting yourself out there 24/7.
I’m not talking about always having your business cards on you or pestering colleagues for a LinkedIn connection. Being active really means taking the initiative, conducting research, and engaging with your ideal clientele.
Tap into the magic of SEO by consistently researching keywords to learn what people are talking about in your industry. Use those keywords in your blog posts and YouTube videos to become a part of the conversation. This is how you’ll increase your web traffic.
But as I mentioned earlier, social media is probably the most accessible and immediate way to have an active self-promotional strategy.
It’s not enough to post and scroll through your feeds. You have to actively engage with your audience on social media platforms. Leaving genuine comments, viewing stories, and following up with connections allows people to establish a relationship with you and your brand.
In addition to engaging on social media, going live on any platform can give your brand a massive boost. I recommend going live once a week and sharing insights, personal anecdotes, or anything else relevant to your audience and consistent with your other content.
Using SEO and social media is the best way to join in or even create a conversation around trending topics in your industry. By showing your audience that you know how to keep up, they’ll feel increasingly confident in your product or service.
Part of being active is contributing new ideas to the conversation, so don’t be afraid to express your opinions in your blogs, videos, or posts. Your concept may strike the right chords of your target audience and help to get you noticed by other industry leaders!
Step 3: Give More Than You Take
When it comes to marketing yourself in any manner, it’s all about the value you provide. You have to give a LOT before people will begin to recognize you.
Think of it this way: 80% give, 20% take.
This is where most people screw up their self-promotion strategy. They curate content to highlight their own success or they only use social proof as a way to convince others that they know what they’re doing. We’ve all seen them: the brands that rely on screenshots hyping up their product or service for all of their digital content. Maybe it’s nice at first, but after a while, it gets old.
Why? Because it’s forced, it isn’t helpful, and frankly, it comes across as self-absorbed.
Sure, people might follow you because they admire your work ethic and what you’ve accomplished, but they won’t stick around if you’re not providing them with value. But if you make your self-promotion more about giving to other people, it’ll provide you with more value in the long run. You’ll create lasting impressions, grow your client intake, and feel more fulfilled in your efforts.
So, quit investing so much time and energy into making your brand all about you. Instead of trying to convince people of how awesome you are, commit yourself to providing free content (and freef value) to your ideal client.
This is why tools like Keywordtool or Answer The Public is crucial to self-promotion. You need to know what it is that people are asking. That way, you can promote yourself as the answer they’ve been looking for!
If you make your self-promotion more about giving to other people, it’ll provide you with more value in the long run. You’ll create lasting impressions, grow your client intake, and feel more fulfilled in your efforts. It’s a delicate balance that takes practice, but it’s completely worth it.
When it comes to promoting yourself, it’s all about being concise. You have to know who you’re targeting, why, and what value you can provide for them. Only then can you overcome this monumental (and somewhat intimidating) task of getting out there and showing people what you can do.