One of the most difficult parts of running a creative business, especially for introverts, is mastering the art of self promotion. I’ve been there. Constantly talking about yourself and promoting your own business can seem really unnatural and even a little gross.
But the bottom line is – if you’re going to have any kind of creative business, you have to promote it. You can’t just build it and hope people show up. You have to tell them how great you are and why they should buy from you. But fear not! There are ways to do this that aren’t as weird or gross as what you might think of as self promotion. Here are some tips:
Don’t promote yourself – promote what you can do for people
This is the number one thing you need to always remember when dealing with self promotion. You’re not promoting yourself. You’re promoting your products or services, or more importantly – what they can do for your customers. You can be the number one greatest human on the planet, but if customers don’t think they can benefit in any way from doing business with you – they won’t.
So for example, let’s say that you sell handmade clothing. Promoting your business doesn’t mean that you have to constantly post about how great of a seamstress you are or how your designs are so much better than other clothing sellers. A better route would be to simply showcase the work itself. Talk about how wearable or practical your clothes are (pockets, anyone?!) Or play up any other cool features of whatever you’re selling that you think customers might appreciate. The words “me” and “I” shouldn’t really be necessary to this process.
Depending on the type of business you run, there could be situations where you do need to mention your own qualifications or try to set your offerings apart from others. If you still feel a little uncomfortable making these rare references to how great you are – even though you are great – you can use a little bit of humor to ease that process. You can mention that you’re shamelessly promoting yourself or even make other little jokes after your promotional posts just to add some entertainment value for your followers.
It should be noted, though, that there’s a line between using humor and being completely self-deprecating. Adding a little joke is one thing, but completely downplaying your accomplishments is another.
Share resources from others in your field
Another thing that can make self promotion a bit easier is not doing it CONSTANTLY. You do need to provide value for your customers or readers, but you don’t need to do that by always talking about yourself and your own products or services. Believe it or not, there are other creative biz babes out there who are also doing amazing things, and some of them could potentially be really valuable to your target audience.
To do this, just regularly share links and resources on social media, your blog or other online platforms that are both relevant to your target market and from other influencers in your industry. You don’t have to share products or services that are direct competitors to your own. But they can (and should) be pretty similar. So if you provide web design services, you could post links to articles about branding, blogging, e-commerce platforms, and other areas that people who need web design services are also likely to be interested in.
Find your best platforms
Self promotion doesn’t have to take place across all platforms at all times. In fact, there are some platforms where self promotion might come a little more naturally than others, especially for introverts. For example, I tend to find posting links to my own stuff on Twitter since it’s created specifically for brevity and I find self promotion easier when its short.
Ask for testimonials
Self promotion is an important part of any marketing strategy. But it often means more to potential customers when that promotion actually comes from someone who is not you. So when you’ve completed a transaction with a happy customer, consider asking them for a testimonial that you can share on your website or even social media.
Third party testimonials or reviews can give people a more impartial look at what kind of benefit you can offer them. It is automatically customer-centric since it comes straight from the mouth of a customer. And it doesn’t require you to talk about how great you are (though you are so so great).
Make it easy for others to promote you
Beyond that, you can also encourage others to do some of the promoting for you by making all of your products/services/content easy to share. Add share buttons to various social media outlets and encourage others to share by interacting with people and thanking them when they do. Even a simple thank you or retweet can go a long way and encourage even more people to share your stuff.
Schedule big things ahead of time
When you have a major announcement or post that you’re nervous/anxious about releasing to the public, I find that it gets easier if you actually put it together ahead of time, then edit it later. What I normally do is write the post at least a few days before its scheduled to go live. I wait until I’m generally happy with it then let it sit for a few days without looking at it. Then I look over it with some fresh eyes and make sure that I’m still happy with it.
So now it’s your turn! Do you have any tips for making self promotion easier?