For something as "shameless" as self-promotion, there sure does seem to be a little shame when you talk about it. In my conversations this month about social media and personal branding, one question kept popping up:
Won't I come off as ... if I'm TOO self-promotional on social media?
What the ellipsis indicates are words that we use to fill in the blank: haughty, prideful, full of myself, boastful, swashbuckling (if you're a pirate, maybe).
Here are some important reminders about self-promotion, what it is, what it isn't, and what you should remember:
Myth number one: Self-promotion is simply bragging on myself.
FACT: Self-promotion can become bragging if it isn't checked. If you have a problem with self-awareness, you can easily overwhelm people with how wonderful you are.
Tactful self-promotion, on the other hand, involves touting your accomplishments – from getting your child to sleep through the night to a recent award or nomination at work.
If you're happy, and you know it, post about it. However, practice a little self-awareness in the process.
Myth number two: People will get tired of me if I talk about myself.
FACT: People will get tired of you if the ONLY thing you talk about on social media is yourself. That's why there has to be a mix of content.
Some of that content can 100% focus on you – from personal updates to the occasional accomplishment or win. But it would help if you struck a balance between being promotional and talking about other things.
No one should be a one-note-Nelly on social media. Mix it up a bit. You'll find there are plenty of appropriate times and places to be your own cheerleader.
Myth number three: Self-promotion on social media perpetuates the idea that my life is perfect.
FACT: Not if you're honest about the process. Fight this idea by sharing your backstory. We walk through a lot of grime on our way to winning. Why not tell that story?
No one woke up one day and was awesome. Even those born into extreme privilege have obstacles to overcome. That's what makes us human.
Share the nitty (and sometimes very) gritty details about your win or accomplishment. While the accolades are nice, people should know how many sleepless nights you spent working on that project.
If you finally got your child to eat broccoli, you may want to share how many times you cleaned up spit-out-broccoli-bits off your kitchen floor.
Here's my final question to anyone hesitant to share his or her accomplishments on social media: who else is going to do it?
Growing up, I could always count on my mother to be my personal fan base. She kept every playbill, every award certificate, every little accomplishment of mine. Going through her boxes of memorabilia after she passed away made me realize that I didn't have THAT PERSON in my life anymore.
While it's a void I haven't felt very comfortable filling at times, I find that when I can be proud of myself, and share it with others, I get a sense of that back. I get a sense of her back.
Maybe you have someone who can brag on your accomplishments and create a Facebook post honoring you as the amazing human being you are.
But many of us have to toot our own horns. And that's perfectly fine.
Follow me on social media (where I try to be a little humble, but I self-promote!) where we can discuss this further. I'm active on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.