If you dare pop your head up to far someone will cut you down. Tall poppy syndrome at its finest. Or you receive mix messages from social media, especially in business groups – some encouraging promotion, while others slay you for daring to recommend yourself. Embedded in Facebook business groups are warnings not to self-promote, to not spam (whatever that means) and to not self-recommend.
What is it? Is it ok to promote yourself? Or will you look like a wanna be, show off who wants everyone to look at you? As women, we’re not very good at promoting ourselves anyway.
Somewhere along the way, the messages about women’s empowerment has gotten so convoluted that those starting out in business or wanting to grow are no longer sure what is allowed and what is not. So much so, that there are many who just do not bother at all. It is safer that way. We are telling women to be proud of what they do and to own their skills and expertise. To loudly and proudly share what they do and their wins.
Yet, on the other hand, groups are shutting down those who promote their skills and services – ‘no self-promotion’ like it is something dirty. No one wants to be bombarded with sloppy, ill-conceived pitches that reek of neediness but where do we draw the line? Do we want women to get better at selling their wares and feeling good about what they are doing and achieving or not?
Marketing does come with its pitfalls. While Facebook is an incredible business building tool, these groups can be a mix of toxicity and support. There is a way to promote what you do without it being salesy and breaking the rules.
Rules are important. They maintain order. In Facebook groups, there are flagrant misuses of self-promotion, and the rules are designed to stop groups being filled with a steady stream of ads. The real issue is so many have no idea what this rule means.
- Does it mean you cannot mention your business at all?
- Or opening promote your sale or workshop?
- Or weave a story that sheds light onto your expertise?
- What does it mean? Sadly, I do not have a clear answer for you. My best advice is to read the rules and ask the admins questions.
But given one of our primary jobs is promoting what we do, there is a way you can get comfortable with promoting yourself/
You can minimise the spam but still be able to give insight into what you offer.
Here are a few ideas on how to promote you without breaking the rules or having the rule enforcers jumping on you, shouting ‘no self-promotion!’
- Build relationships. The whole idea of being in a group is to connect and network. So many times, people are just flinging words or images without any real thought to what the intent behind it is or how the information will serve the group. Answer questions. Take part in conversations. Offer your opinion. Give feedback. Answer surveys. Offer support. Give a pat on the back. It is all about building connections.
- Be informative and helpful. If you have a blog you have written or an insight into your industry or a tip that can make someone else life easier, share it. It’s more subtle, takes longer but is less in your face and builds trust. Tap into your expertise and skills to provide wisdom, guidance, advice. This helps position you as a specialist in your space and someone who wants to serve.
- Tell a story. – share you story. How did you get to where you are, what challenges have you overcome, share a case study or client story? This is a great way to tell a story that gives insight into what you do and the type of person you are. Let people get to know you. Give insights into who you are. These builds know, like and trust so when it comes time to buy, you’re a known entity.
- Educate and inform. Do you have insights that can help others? Have you used a tool that’ll make life easier for other members? Is there something you’ve done for a client or customer you can share that teaches a lesson or skill?
- Be kind. Far too often there are snarky and bitchy comments when someone dares to pop their head up to ask a question or share something. Think before you type. Before commenting, read the whole post, not just the bit you can see so you get the whole post. Ask is your response nice, kind and necessary? There are many who are just watching, and if you show up as being one who’s corrective, terse, nasty or just downright bitchy, this will impact your brand/profile. We do business with people we know like a trust.
The law of reciprocity says when you do something nice for someone else (solve a problem, give support, share something useful) without expectation of return, they’ll have a deep-rooted psychological urge to do something nice in return – buy from you, recommend you or use your service.
At the heart is genuineness. If your sole motive is to sell, people will pick up on that. Show up as you, with a heart that wants to make life better for others.