If you are alive and on social media, chances are someone — maybe even you — thinks you’re a narcissist. After all, if you have a brand, a business or an idea, you have to shamelessly promote yourself at all costs, right?
I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Self-promotion is not the same as narcissism, even when it feels cringe-worthy (or like you’re an imposter). Self-promotion, when done correctly and authentically, provides credibility, gives value and creates purpose for your brand and audience, which is imperative for lasting success.
But how do you get from shameless posts or canned, generic information to valuable, unique content?
First, let’s bust some myths.
I have no credibility. Let’s start with the elephant in the room, that giant, bulous voice that tells you it’s all already been done, or that you’re not smart enough, big enough or important enough to offer up valuable information. Well, guess what? That’s bullshit and a normal way to feel, so that’s not a valid excuse. Next. You have plenty of credibility because there is only one you with your exact skillset. No one sees the world like you do or has your specific views about business or life or the current presidential situation (let’s not and say we did). Flaunt that uniqueness for all that it’s worth, because if you have something to say, then it’s worth hearing.
I am not a marketer. Okay, so here’s where it gets tricky. Maybe you’re a banker, a technologist, an artist or shop owner and the term “marketing” isn’t even in your vocabulary. But guess what? Marketing is just storytelling, and who knows your story better than you? Do you follow others in your industry? Look at industry experts, groundbreakers and even your own competition. Your story is just as worthy as theirs. It’s not just about how you’re marketing — it’s about how you’re connecting with those who want to listen to what you have to say.
People will think I’m vain. If you want a successful business, here’s a tip: Stop caring what other people think. No, really. Just stop. Children are a prime example of how to free yourself from this crippling hindrance. If a toddler wants something, he grabs it. If a child sees something, she touches it. Little Sally doesn’t compare her drawings with yours and think, “Gee, I can’t draw a house like her, so I might as well stop drawing.” No. She takes that crayon and she creates, because that’s what we’re all supposed to be doing. Creating from a singular place that we love and know to be true.
With self-promotion comes major criticism (hello, any social media outlet anywhere). You have to look beyond all that. The people who think you’re vain are not your people. They won’t follow you, buy your product or share your articles with unbridled enthusiasm. So why waste your time caring for one second who they are and what they think? The people who really “get” you will find you inspiring, motivating and valuable. This shift in mindset is vital if you want your personal brand to succeed. Make the decision to be your brand and get on with it.
If I don’t have a lot of followers/likes/engagement, I’ll embarrass myself. Remember the days when a million views on YouTube was huge? Or 100k Instagram followers meant you were a BFD? Know this: We all want to grow, but to grow, you have to do two things 1.) Start somewhere. 2.) Keep going daily, with consistency, constancy, value and most of all, generosity. A huge following doesn’t happen overnight. Remember that wonderful phrase quality over quantity? This is the rule to live by when creating a platform. So what if your post only got 10 likes versus your competitor’s 1000? Those are ten real people who liked what you had to say. They engaged! They are listening! It’s a start!
Growing a following is a slow climb, not a rocket ascension. The most successful personal brands still don’t feel like they have “enough” and yet, they’re building businesses and calling their own shots. You can too.
It will turn people off of my company. Wrong. Promoting yourself will endear people to your company. That’s because people are inherently more interesting than products, businesses or brands. Leading with your personal brand, your personal voice and your personal passion creates affinity in the most powerful capacity. Because you’re humanizing yourself, people want to do business with humans they feel they know, like and trust. People don’t do business with logos, copy and emails.
It’s not effective. Okay, so you assume self-promotion is not effective because everyone is doing it, and it can’t really matter that much, right? Well, let’s take a look at some examples of how personal brands have impacted the bottom line:
Elon Musk (Tesla)
Tony Robbins (hello, obvious)
Richard Branson (Virgin)
Sarah Blakely (Spanx)
Sophia Amoruso (Nasty Gal)
All of these personal brand rock stars started at the beginning, connecting, engaging and promoting in a way that felt authentic and comfortable.
To do that, you need to find a rhythm and formula that works for you and your audience/customers/followers. Play around with different tactics — interviews, Q&A segments, blogs, videos, newsletters and social media contests — to see what your audience wants and what you would like to give.
At the end of the day, you are promoting a business, yes — but you are really investing in yourself as a means to offer your time and expertise to those who need it.
In need of a little self-promo help? We’re here for you (and your awesome brand).