Why Your Self Promotion Doesn’t Work

Why Your Self Promotion Doesn’t Work

Oct 5, 2011

This past Saturday I finally was able to free myself up for an hour to attend Margie Clayman’s Tweetdiner, one of my favorite Twitter Chats. The topic of the chat was Social Good, something I wrote about just a few weeks ago and something that I truly believe in.
 
In the process of the discussion, one of the topics that came up was how Social Good and the support of Social Causes work so well on Twitter and other Social channels because people are tired of all of the online self promotion. My first reaction to this comment was I agree, and my second reaction was it isn’t really all that “Socially Good” of us to sit here and criticize how others are using the channel.
 
The fact is, while some of us are here for pure social and connecting purposes, many of us are here for business reasons. Whether sole proprietors, small business owners, Social Marketers, or something else, if you are here for business you have to promote. After all, you will never get a sale you don’t ask for. (<- Idea for a blog post???)
 
This raised the question, why do people resent all of the self promotion online?
 
The answer is actually quite simple. It isn't because you promote, in fact even those pushing social good are "Promoting," the problem lies in how you do it? Consider the following...
 

  • In Social Media, just like in the real world, sales aren’t only about YOU! Say it with me people…”Sales are not only about you.”
  • In Social Media, just like in the real world, relationships aren’t only about YOU! Repeat “Relationships aren’t only about YOU.”
  • In Social Media, just like in the real world, trust isn’t built on words rather they are built on the actions associated with your words! No need to repeat, just remember this one…

 
These ideas seem simple, yet so many people miss the boat here. So when you show up on Twitter or Facebook (or other) saying “Read this or Buy this or Subscribe to this,” people aren’t frustrated that you asked, they are frustrated that you asked before you established a relationship.
 
Like Steven Covey (Author of 7 Habits series) says, “you have to put first things first.” A social sale, is the same as any other sale. If you don’t come across as highly empathetic and if people don’t feel they can trust you, then you are nothing more than a living-breathing billboard.
 
However, if you want your network to embrace the ideas and products you desire to market you first have to sell yourself. While this won’t happen overnight, it will happen with the right balance of engagement and selflessness; and when it does, your promotion (assuming it is of relatively good quality) will handle itself. Before your next promotional activity ask yourself these questions…
 

  • How do you promote online?
  • Are you winning your network before you promote?
  • Does your network trust you?

 
Put these things first, and watch your social influence grow!

16 comments
janwong
janwong

I can't agree more. What makes it worse is that people use DMs on Twitter to sell. Make it 100 times worse, auto-DMs the moment you follow them. So much for engagement and relationship building. Great post as always!

barrykahan
barrykahan

Nice post. I think it can be summed up simply as "Get Rich Quick" - doesn't work in business and social media is no different.

douglaserice
douglaserice

Great post, Dan! The best way to sell yourself is to show appreciation for, interest in, and engagement with others. Selling yourself is inherently unselfish--it is demonstrating how OTHERS will benefit from a relationship with you.

pbehnia
pbehnia

Loved your post but I do have a quibble - I never ask for the sale. The customer has to initiate the request. If we've done our jobs right - you never have to ask.

shawmu
shawmu

@danielnewmanUV@danielnewmanuv Daniel,indeed "selling yourself" begins with contributing to the online communities in which one interacts. At the heart of business are relationships. That hasn't changed even for online sales. We are bombarded with countless "interruption marketing tactics" (a Seth Godin term) and have been conditioned to ignore them.

Realistic idealist like myself also like the "getting to know you" part in online communities. It's an enjoyable part of building relationships. I learned from a close friend, "build your communities before you need them." The intent can't be fake. The intent is truly to contribute, to do good, and as you say, build trust.

Great message, Daniel.

Cheers.

MZazeela
MZazeela

Interesting take Daniel. When establishing oneself in a virtual world, gaining any sort of trust and/or credibility is much more difficult than in the real world. After all, you are protected by the wall that The Internet puts up between you and your audience. When you are live, or even on the phone, you can create the warm and fuzzy feeling faster since your audience has more visual and auditory stimuli to help create their impression of you. So, I agree you must go slowly before you begin putting up billboards. Until you have established yourself as honest and reputable, no one is going to give much credence to what you are trying to promote and you may be marked as nothing more than an internet huckster.

BruceSallan
BruceSallan

Enough about this, let's talk about me!

DN, I so agree that the key to self-promoting is balance. Plus, sincerity vs. just looking for ANY excuse to promote yourself!

I do my share of SSP (Shameless Self Promotion) as my about-to-be-published-today 12Most article indulges in, but it's always leavened with a sense of humor AND consideration, respect, and bragging about others!

Coming up soon is my 12 Most Outrageous Way to Promote Yourself...in which I offer some fun ways to do self-promotion that worked well for me in my showbiz career.

Being critical of those who self-promote, to me, is being elitist. Heck, for many it is their path to income and support for their family. Why is that different than an hourly job?

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@pbehnia I shall agree in premise but I do think there is a point when you have done everything right that you need to discuss the next steps.

I liken it to when I first asked out my wife. I did everything right to set up the opportunity, however if I never actually ASKED her out, I may not be where I am today. Thanks for stopping by!

Much appreciation!!!

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@shawmu As always Shawn - you have hit it on the head. Relationship Economics still exist. Let's focus on building those relationships!!!

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@MZazeela Love the last word "Huckster" - I think in a word you nailed the whole problem. When the used car salesman starts speaking with you like an old friend 10 minutes after you meet them ... I don't know about you but I'm like - "excuse me, do I know you?"

Let's focus on the relationships - the sales will follow.

danielnewmanUV
danielnewmanUV moderator

@BruceSallan I agree - it is there Job Bruce. But like any job, without credibility and support you can't properly promote. So in that case they are doing their job wrong.

My decision - I'm not going to be critical of them, I'm just not going to listen, read, share or do anything else. I wouldn't endorse it in the real world and I won't do it here.

Bruce - thanks for the support!

douglaserice
douglaserice

@danielnewmanUV @pbehnia People find it crazy when I tell them, but I never even proposed (and never asked out) to my wife. Just by the way our relationship grew, we knew we'd get married. I never asked for the sale, but this is perhaps a special case ;-)

Wordpress SEO Plugin by Wordpress SEO Plugin