Are you a business owner who doesn’t mind getting in the face of every potential customer out there, no matter how nerve-wracking the experience might be? Or are you like many entrepreneurs out there who shrink from the idea of “self-promotion”?
If you’re in the latter camp, you’re not alone. For every stellar superstar social media/PR/marketing entrepreneur there are dozens of introverted folks who would like to do nothing more than sit in the office and just get customers without talking to anyone. Talking yourself up doesn’t come naturally to everyone, so finding yourself firmly in this camp is nothing to be ashamed of.
However, you have to get customers somehow. And once you make a plan for promoting your business, you might just find that it isn’t as nerve-wracking as you thought it would be.
The Shy Businessperson’s Guide to Self-Promotion Online
A Good Balance
No matter if you’re overzealous or super shy, promoting yourself is still all about finding a balance. Someone who is normally very gregarious in real life may have trouble talking about themselves online. On the other hand, you could be very shy in your daily life but overly amped all day on Twitter talking to people about your company.
In the end, you want to find a happy medium between dropping your business into every conversation about cereal or cats, and staying silent during golden opportunities for promotion. Customers need to know what services you offer and how much everything costs. If not, your bank account will have a big problem. At the same time constantly advertising will come off as annoying and can actually drive potential customers and colleagues away.
What’s important to remember is you want to have a real conversation with the public. The people you’re talking to (no matter where they are) are real folks who are just as busy as you are, potentially more so. They crave authentic interaction as much as you do. If you give it to them, they’ll respond by checking out your company.
A good rule of thumb is to have 9 genuine online interactions for every 1 time you promote your business. That way you’re still promoting, but you’re not coming across as a self-promotional bore.
Figuring Out the Best Option
There are a ton of ways for you to promote your business in today’s crazy busy world. For the shy businessperson, this is a blessing. If business was like the old days you had one, maybe two options: talk to people in person or call them on the phone. If you can’t stand confrontation or are a telephobe it was out of the question.
Now, though, you have many other options, no matter your budget. You can hop online and come up with an email marketing campaign. You can focus on social media or blogging. If you work better in crowds you can find a Twitter business conversation to hop into. You can even upload a video or podcast for a more “one way street” self-promotion.
The best thing to take into consideration is what makes you uncomfortable – what form of communication and promotion works best for your personality? For instance, if talking on the phone makes you nervous, limit that interaction to only necessary instances.
We’re often told as entrepreneurs that we need to be “well-rounded,” but I disagree when it comes to self-promotion. If you’re a great writer but turn into a sweaty mess when meeting in person, then write all of your proposals and pitches. When it comes to self-promotion, play up your strengths instead of fighting an uphill battle against your weaknesses. It will increase your confidence…and your bottom line.
What self-promotion tactics have worked best for you and your business? Is there a form of promotion that you just can’t bring yourself to try?
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