How Good Self-Promotion Works
Earlier this week, I talked about why your self-promotion tactics might not be working, and there are a lot of ways to promote yourself so that you get attention. But how should it work, does it work, and can you make promotion work for you? In my mind, it’s kind of fuzzy. Primarily because you’re selling yourself and your personality just as much as the product or service you offer.
So while some variation of this will work for most people, it’s not a list of rules that’s set in stone. Use the principles in a way that fits you and your personality. But if you can find the sweet spot of good self-promotion, you might be amazed at what it does for your brand and your business.
Caveat: All creators go through slumps and cycles where not a lot is happening. This doesn’t mean your tactics aren’t working. Sometimes you just need time.
You are Your Brand, Your Brand is You
People buy from people they like. They work with people they like. Not everyone will like you, but not everyone has to. But if your personality doesn’t shine through, you’re easily ignored and forgotten. (If this sounds like something I’ve said before, you’re right. I say it over and over again because people forget.)
You don’t have to bare every detail in your soul, unless that’s your brand. But being a real person that others can relate to helps your promotional efforts. When a business or a consumer has a million choices of who to buy from or work with, it’s easiest to choose the person they relate to, like, and respect on some level.
The Thing You Sell is Part of Who You Are
I’m a writer, and I talk about being a writer…a lot. I share my published work, I talk about what sucks, and I talk about what’s amazing. It’s woven into the thread of nearly everything I do. If I’m a stranger to you, you’ll know within a very short amount of time what I do. It’s true with the topics I focus on as well — BDSM, masturbation, kinky fuckery. It might be a mystery at first, but it won’t remain that way for long.
You don’t have to spend time thinking of tweets or IG pics that “show who you are.” My advice is just to be who you really are and talk about your work publicly the way you’d talk to friends (mostly). I don’t recommend complaining about a brand, company, or assignment in a way that makes whoever hired you look bad — unless that’s what you’re trying to do. But talking about being scared about new projects or procrastinating is a very normal thing to do (and feel). Don’t be afraid to bare your business soul a little, too.
Use the 80/20 or 90/10 Rule
So there’s a thought about self-promotion that 80 or 90 percent of your content should be personal, relatable, and non-salesy, and 20 or 10 percent can be promotional. I like that rule, and I think the difference between 80/20 and 90/10 is personal preference. I’m probably more of a 95/5 person, but I’m working on it. Because not promoting yourself isn’t good either.
It’s not an exact science, so please don’t count your tweets or other social media posts and start doing complicated math. The idea is that a large majority of your content (especially social media) needs to be real and not a sales pitch. If you’re consistent with this, it works out well because people connect with the real you and get periodic reminders of what you do and what you’re selling. As you build a good rapport with your audience, they’re more likely to share it or tell someone they know about you.
Provide Value Before, During, and After
I think providing value is an easier concept when you’re asking something of your audience or followers. You give them entertaining or educational (or both!) content, and in return you ask for a click, a coffee, or a share. We tend to love our audiences and want to do as much for them as possible. Providing value is its own marketing and promotion strategy, as long as you remember to ask for something in return.
With businesses, it might seem different, but it’s really not. The value is that you have something they don’t — an audience and/or a skill. Your value to the brand or company is about how you talk about them, treat them, and how you help them. Brands don’t want to work with people they think will torch them online. And they want you to be proud of the work you do for them. Unless they’ve got a big marketing budget, they could probably use advice about their content or strategy and insight into the audience they want to reach. You can provide all of that.
What’s It All Mean?
In my experience, good self-promotion isn’t about how many tweets you schedule or how often you mention the thing you’re selling. It’s about being who you are, consistently and intentionally. Don’t be something you’re not just to get business because it’s not sustainable, but know that all of your actions can be good or bad for your business. And if you use every interaction to add something to people’s lives whether a laugh, a nugget of information, or something else, the audience you build will be your best promotional tool of all.
Got thoughts on this one? Let me know in the comments below or talk to me on Twitter!
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