After 12 long months of being on social media, mostly on Google+, I’d like to think I learned a thing or two from my often aggravating 7 day a week experience, including what is widely viewed as being acceptable and what is not by the social world around us. Of all the things that irritated me on social networks, I have to say that sloppy self promotional efforts by supposed professionals was likely the most annoying. It’s not that there’s anything wrong with promoting yourself, it’s that internet professionals are going about it the whole wrong way.
The Wrong Approach to Self Promotion:
On some networks like Linkedin, self promotion is almost hailed by the social largess, while on other networks like Google+ it can actually cause you to alienate yourself from the entire network! Again, the problem doesn’t lay in self promotion itself, but rather how people go about it. Many professionals will write article after article, focusing mainly on themselves, mentioning how well educated they are, and how wonderful they are. It’s a bunch of crap, and it doesn’t work. It’s a road to nowhere.
Regardless of what you’re promoting online, does what you’re promoting offer any substantial value to the audience it’s directed towards? I don’t care if you’re promoting a brand, a product, a service, or yourself for that matter, whatever you promote has to have some value somewhere that’s directed toward end users, otherwise, why should anyone care? If you plan to promote yourself online, what qualities about yourself are you promoting, and what do you have to offer?
Today professionals are getting too focused on their personal goals, and not focusing enough on the audience they want to reach. I see it every day on Google+, another blog post from another self infatuated loser screaming, Look at me, check out my latest article, and while you’re at it buy my worthless new e-book, “How to act like a fool on Social Media!”
The Right Approach to Self Promotion:
Fortunately, some of us do know how to self promote ourselves without looking like a complete fool. I promoted myself by sharing the stuff I created (websites, video game maps, etc). People liked what I had to share, and all without writing story after story about how incredible I think I am. This is the right way to promote yourself online! If you want to promote yourself to the social world, you have to have something to offer that adds value, so why not take your personal skills, the things you’re really good at, and share those ideas with the world. If you’re passionate about your work, it’s very likely others will follow suit.
Those who have their self promotional game under control know that connecting with others who share their common interests and, just being “Social” can really pay off. The unfortunate truth is that, if you have nothing to offer, then no one is listening.
Professionals need to start finding and focusing on their personal qualities and how those qualities can benefit others, otherwise its total failure on the web. Don’t think for a second that I or anyone else cares about those ridiculous endorsements on Linkedin, in fact as a business owner myself, that would be the last place I would seek candidates for employment, ever! It has no credibility since it's all hearsay. Stating what your skills are and actually having those skills are two entirely different things. Those who manage to stop bragging and rather being themselves will see good results in promoting themselves online, without all the negative consequences.
Believe it or not, it is possible to include your experience in your blogs and social posts without losing focus of your audience. You can do this by making sure the experience you shared is somehow relevant to your users needs. Does the experience you shared answer a question, solve a nagging problem, and is it information your users can actually make use of themselves? Often I will write an article, include my experience with a given subject, but think heavily about how the info I portrayed will be useful to my readers. Either way it goes, sharing your experiences can be a great thing, but not if all the focus in solely on yourself.
That’s not to say that everyone likes what you have to offer or what you have to say either, but it’s realistic, and many people like myself will respect others just for being who they are, and lot of times give them a genuine endorsement for their skills, not some non credible endorsement on Linkedin that actually means nothing to companies like ours. The way I look at it, anyone who has to beg people to like them and brag about themselves all day, obviously has no confidence in themselves to begin with and probably shouldn’t quit their day job.