In an era of Kardashians and Kanyes, selfies and borderline obnoxious status updates, it seems like humility is a lost virtue. (RIP, modesty: it’s been real.)
Makes sense, right? Well, kinda. In these Tinder slash Twitter slash Instagram times, it’s all about showcasing the best of you with the best visual and in as few characters as possible. It’s also easier to have a certain arrogance when posting on social media, because you literally have no filter (not to worry, by “no filter” I mean no reservations).
And even if it means shouting your accomplishments from the rooftops (or in Yeezy’s case, with consecutive ALL CAPS TWEETS), promoting yourself is necessary because if you’re not going to do it, no one else will do it for you. The trouble is, being boastful and plugging yourself constantly on social media and in person can get annoying AF to your audience — but being humble might cause you to miss out on opportunities. And that’s no fun.
It’s a case of “don’t hate the playa, hate the game.” And it is, indeed, a game. So play by the rules, promote yourself with poise and come out a winner with these five tips:
SHOW, DON'T TELL
Whether you’re selling merchandise or your personal brand, hard facts speak volumes. So instead of posting that “You’re the best PR person in the city” on Facebook, opt for sharing photos of recent sold-out events you’ve organized. LinkedIn is the ideal platform for sharing news coverage about you, awards you might have received, or listing recent achievements. Save Twitter as a playground for “quick hits,” such as any media coverage about you, recent articles you’ve written, or upcoming conferences you are speaking at, for example.
You can also leverage platforms like Levo to showcase your experience and your portfolio. Levo is an awesome website for creating personal profiles, where you can “tell your story” by adding all the cool projects you’ve worked on and connecting with your network.
Tip: Focus on the “why?.” So when listing your accomplishments, always demonstrate the value added to your potential clients and why you stand out from the competition. For example, if you’re a publicist, post your client’s media coverage and showcase the buzz your client’s product is receiving.
Shouting out to people on your team, and anyone who helped you “make it happen,” is critical. For starters, the ability to give credit is a huge step toward being a successful manager, leader, or entrepreneur.
The magic of paying it forward on social media is also a key component to earning social capital. So if someone in your network tweets about an accomplishment, “heart” it and comment with a “Slay, girl. Slay!” (Feel free to insert relevant emojis.)
Go a step further and tweet about a female entrepreneur you know who’s killing it in her field, just to spread some love.
Giving credit to others on social media can even work with strangers, not only personal connections. They will appreciate the kindness, and many people might even return the favor. It’s all about social media karma!
BE A CONNECTOR
Knowing how to connect people to business opportunities or jobs is an amazing skill: it proves that you’re resourceful and have a vast network. If you’re the person in your squad who has this skill, use it! Your reputation as a master connector of people and ideas will spread — and it’s not something you need to shout from the rooftops either. Your clout will be clear.
AVOID CORPORATE JARGON
One of my personal pet peeves is when people spew corporate buzzwords in presentations and on their resumes, thinking it makes them sound credible. It goes something like this: “I suggest we deep dive into some blue sky thinking that's high level so we can take a holistic approach.” It makes you sound like a robot, and more importantly, it takes away all authenticity. (More on this in a minute.)
While it’s key to sound savvy and relevant in your posts and social media presence, it’s also important to sound genuine. And yes, you might think you sound real smart with your corporate buzzwords, but they induce all kinds of eye rolls in my books.
Authenticity is the most important part of knowing how to promote yourself with class. Not to get all Dr. Seuss on you guys, but no matter how you’re hustling, there’s a key mantra to keep in mind: no one else is YOUer than YOU. Others might have your skills and your experience, but no one else has your brand DNA: you know, all the things that make you, well, you.
Leandra Medine a.k.a. the Man Repeller is a great example of someone who has stayed true to herself. Her best-selling book Seeking Love. Finding Overalls and Man Repeller blog and brand are direct reflections of her personality, so when she promotes herself, she still seems real and slightly self-deprecating. This is part of her shtick and what has helped her gain celeb status.
So when speaking about yourself and promoting your recent wins, always make sure to stay true to your brand and personality. Authenticity is super valued in this era, so use it to your advantage.
The truth is, you need to be boastful, confident and plug yourself constantly. Because if you don’t tell your story, someone else will. And in a sea of other bloggers / freelancers / creatives / career women / entrepreneurs, etc., standing out is critical to your success.
Now go forth and self-promote!
Karin Eldor is a coffee-addicted copywriter, with a long-time love for all things pop culture, fashion and tech. Ever since she got her first issues of YM (remember that one?) and Seventeen in the mail, she was hooked on the world of editorial content. After earning her Communications degree, she spent 6 years honing her craft as a Senior Editor for AskMen.com. More recently, Karin enjoyed gramming and strategizing as Social Media Manager at ALDO. Today, she is Chief Content Writer at 818 Agency and a social media consultant.