Self-promotion can feel awkward and indulgent for some people, especially if they’re meek, overly humble, and hyperaware of all the self-invented reasons they don’t deserve to share themselves and their creations on this huge platform known as the Internet. (I’m totally not describing myself.)
Social media marketing can be a hard enough thing to master as it is. There are millions of blogs, businesses, online products, and social media profiles begging to be seen and acknowledged. How can you draw attention to yours without feeling strangely guilty about tooting your own horn?
If you’re timid about self-promotion or don’t know where to begin with all this social media madness, maybe the following tips will give you the boost you need to get started and get your hard work noticed:
1. Be passionate and excited about the work you’re doing.
It’s pretty hard to promote something you’re not excited about. Instead of marketing your efforts from a place of obligation, do it from a place of passion and vigor. Make sure your intended audience knows you mean business and have something special to offer. Enthusiasm is contagious, and it will spread like wildfire if you use it to your advantage.
2. Remember that a little humor and self-deprecation can go a long way.
If you feel awkward about promoting yourself, why not joke around about it? It makes you seem likable and approachable. Allie Brosh of the popular comedic blog Hyperbole and a Half posted the following tweet a couple of months before the release of her first book: "I’ve been told that I have to promote my book. So I need to figure out how to trick you guys into knowing that I wrote a book." She then followed it up with a series of funny and clever tweets to amuse and pique the curiosity of her readers about her book and where they could pre-order it. Don’t be afraid to poke fun at yourself and get a little silly with your marketing efforts.
3. Talk to experts in your field.
Network with people who are in the same line of business as you are and try forming personal and professional relationships with them. Talk to them about their marketing tactics, and seek advice about the best way to stand out and get noticed. Most professionals enjoy talking about themselves and sharing their secrets with rookies, so be sure to speak up!
4. Stay true to yourself.
It may sound simple and a bit cliché, but if you try too hard to attract an audience by doing what everybody else is doing, you will likely fall flat on your face. You have something special and unique to offer by simply being you and having your own ideas. Don’t follow the crowd or do what you think you’re supposed to do to expand your business. If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t.
5. Do your research.
Every business venture requires research. Research market demands, attend networking events, figure out what your intended audience is searching for, and learn about the marketing techniques that work for your competitors. The more you know, the better you can adequately spread the word about the work you’re doing and how it can benefit consumers.
6. Be personable.
If you come across as a naturally likable and open person, most people will be more inclined to support you and your business. Try to avoid taking on a strong air of authority when marketing yourself. Be conversational, engage with your followers, and be as emotionally and professionally available as you can. People will not support you if they do not respect you.
7. Be generous with your use of eye-candy.
What do I mean by eye-candy, you ask? I’m talking about visual appeal. Give your website or blog a good design. Use quality images in your articles and social media profiles. Post imagery that gets people’s attention and makes them want to see and learn more about your blog or business. Finding and sharing eye-catching imagery with your intended audience is almost half the work in getting noticed.
8. Expand your social media presence.
With dozens of social media platforms to choose from these days, you have the freedom to select the ones that will best represent you and your business. For example, if you’re a professional book reviewer, you could make a Goodreads account and share your reviews there. If you’re a professional photographer, you could post your photos on Tumblr or Flickr. If you run a blog that publishes articles on a variety of topics, you could make a Pinterest account and create individual boards for all the different categories you and your writers feel passionate about. Don’t be afraid to think beyond Facebook and Twitter.
9. Don’t overdo it.
If you want positive results, try not to get too excessive or careless with your social media marketing. There are times, places and strategies for promoting your work. You don’t have to send out the same tweet four times a day or remind people twenty times a week that your new book just came out. You will come across as spammy and desperate if you mindlessly post updates about the same thing without providing any kind of substance or value behind it. You will naturally attract more of an audience by promoting yourself in considerate moderation.
10. Ask your fans, readers, clients and customers to spread the word.
You don’t have to do all the promotion by yourself! Once you begin building a satisfying social media presence, encourage your followers to spread the word and share the work you’re doing with others. If they are involved in and excited about your business, they will be more than happy to help it grow.
Keep these tips in mind the next time you have to send out that shameless plug to your followers. With a little practice and a lot of self-belief, you will be successfully marketing your creative efforts in no time.