Can Self-Promotion Help or Hinder Your Business?
If you Google, ‘self-promotion, good or bad?’, you’ll get mixed results.
From articles that proclaim self-promotion to be a terrible idea. Self-serving and downright annoying. To those that lay out in detail, why we absolutely, positively need to self-promote. I used to lean towards self-promotion being distasteful, and it seems as though the consensus is split. So, what is the answer? Can self-promotion help or hinder your business?
Last Friday afternoon, finding my work up to date and being meeting and kid-free, I made a mad dash for the hairdressing salon. This was my first visit to the newly built salon and not knowing anyone; I was looking forward to a quiet afternoon alone with a coffee and my thoughts.
I took a seat, and as the stylist worked away, she chatted, and I listened. Then all of a sudden, she stopped. Making eye contact with me in the mirror, she said, “So what do you do?” I managed to mutter something like, “Ohhh, I do a lot of things.” But she wasn’t having any of my vagueness. “A lot of things like what?” she demanded, holding my half-cut hair to ransom for an answer. Pretty soon we were in a deep discussion about what I did, what she did, and why our paths crossing, meant huge gains for both of our businesses.
Why self-promotion is important.
It turns out in addition to being a great interrogator; my stylist was also the business owner. And she pretty much ticked every single box on my ‘target market’ form. She believed strongly in self-promotion and wasn’t afraid to tell me I was terrible at it. No great surprise there. As I said before, I used to lean more towards the negative side of the subject, so when presented with an opportunity, I would shy away.
But post-haircut, I’ve jumped ship. Behind me stood a potential customer and new reader and, if she had let me sit there silently in my chair as I’d intended, our business paths would never have crossed. Worse, I would have been actively pushing her away. So, with a little coaching, I self-promoted and by doing so added a new contact to my network.
How to self-promote.
There are many methods you can employ when self-promoting. For example, I used to consider my husband a shameless self-promoter, he calls it ‘Networking’ and uses it to great effect. But if that’s not your thing, you can promote through branding, or by offering expert advice. You could get your business to sponsor a community group or kids sporting team. You could even do Pro Bono work or stick your face onto a bus.
The point is, there are a lot of ways to self-promote, and you will find a method that suits your style and taste without too much difficulty.
Be confident but gentle.
Just as it’s important to be articulate and confident with your message, it’s also important to show some restraint. Understand your audience and make sure there is a need for your product or service. And learn how to read the room. If people are finding you annoying, you’ve got it wrong.
So, in answer to the question, “Can self-promotion help or hinder your business?” I say if you’re not out there promoting yourself and your business, then who is? So, get out there, be a great self-promoter and own it!
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