Sharing Your Work vs. Being “Self-Promotey”

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Hello, my name is Brianne, and I have never met a stage I didn’t like.

This probably comes as no surprise to you, as I regularly share photos of my face all over the dang internet!

Over the last couple of years, I’ve gotten over the fear of being too “self-promote-y.” In doing so, I’ve overcome a lot of baggage (internalized misogyny, cough), negative self-talk and doubt.

I wasn’t sure if this would be something useful (ie if folks would share it!), so I asked you to vote on Twitter:

And you know what happened? People didn’t REPLY with their votes (except my friend Heather Mae), nope they did not!

Y’all were a liiiiiiiiittle cowardly, and asked for help in my DMs. Y’all! What is the point of social interaction if it isn’t public!? (70% serious, sorry not sorry).

So, in the FUTURE, please know that I will not take mercy on folks who come for help in my DMs. NOPE!

But just this once, I’ll help ya out. Below, I’ve shared tips to help you combat the fear of being “self-promotey.”

Tip #1: Get The F*ck Over Yourself

Y’all, I’m not pulling punches on this one.

The real problem behind fearing coming across as “self-promotey” is your fear of what other people think of you. You worry that people will see your posts or shares and think, “GOD, will (your name here) get over themselves already?!?! This is ANNOYING.”

But those people aren’t your friends. I love seeing updates from my friends (of all types) sharing their work on social media. I THRIVE ON IT. It fuels my fire. Sharing your work *is* promoting your work. (Further on down, we’ll discuss ways to authentically share your work, to avoid cringing as you post.)

But that inner voice isn’t people you know – it’s your inner critic.

Here’s the thing. That voice, telling you those things? That’s your Inner Critic. A motherfucker who has been gifted to us by evolution, along with eyebrows and opposable thumbs.

You see, back in the days of hunter/gatherer life, standing out was BAD. Being too noisy or different could result in getting sacrificed to some gods or make you stand out to predators (of all species).

Your inner critic is trying to keep you safe. Problem is, failing to share your work doesn’t keep you safe. It keeps you stagnant.

Pro Tip: When dealing with my inner critic, I picture it to be a little gremlin or Jiminy Cricket looking creature. When it starts squawking for attention, I pat it’s head and tell it to STFU. With love.

Tip #2: Self-Promotion vs CTAs

In marketing, a “CTA” is a “Call to Action.” A CTA is basically you trying to get someone else to take an action. Buy something. Click something. DO something, for you.

For instance, there will be a CTA in the middle and at the end of this blog post, reminding you to subscribe to my newsletter.

See what I did there?

A lot of the times, when people are resisting “self-promotion,” they mean it to be that they really struggle posting CTAs. And, it’s a good thing to resist posting too many CTAs. We all have friends who regularly post about their business, coaching services, products, blog, whatever – asking and begging for clicks and shares.

That can be SUPER annoying. And, because no one is engaging on their posts, social media “throttles” their reach, meaning less folks see them.

So, how to avoid this?

By sharing valuable content, babe!

A lot of the times, the people who post these CTAs are not providing any value. In marketing, a rule of thumb is 10-30% CTA posts, and 70-90% posts sharing content.

Example #1: Music

For instance, let’s say you’re selling tickets to a concert performance – both streaming and IRL tickets.

Instead of only posting about the link to your concert, you need to be posting valuable content. Things like photos and videos from you in the studio. Pictures of you in rehearsal. Written lyrics on a napkin that eventually became one of the songs you’re performing.

A majority of your posts need to add value. Be interesting, beyond “HEY GUYS BUY TICKETS TO MY THING.” It comes across as less “promotey” if you’re sharing other content about your work.

Examples include:

  • Instagram posts
  • Instagram Lives (doing what you do)
  • Blog Posts
  • Tweets
  • FB posts
  • etc

Tip #3: Provide Valuable Content

Okay, so as you may or may not know, I teach group classes every month. On things from “Get the K on Instagram,” to helping bloggers negotiate sponsor, etc etc. I also offer life and career coaching. That’s a lot of services that I could just post links to.

BUT, it would be SUPER annoying if all I did to promote those courses was post links. People would roll their eyes and keep on scrolling. That’s why I share some tips and insights for FREE.

When promoting your work, you’re going to have to prove you know what you know – before anyone buys it or clicks on it. Sharing insights/valuable content for free makes folks stop scrolling and pay attention.

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I was born a “bitch.” . No, seriously. I was born a bitch – a woman who takes no shit, calls people out for shitty behavior, and who unapologetically goes after her dreams. . Being this way, raised in conservative American Fork, Utah, (yes it’s as “podunk” as it sounds) did not endear me to a lot of people. In Mormonism, women are expected to give and give – scraping the bottom of their souls to help others. . I’m not fucking here for that. . I love calling myself a bitch, because it is reclaiming a term so many women and femmes are expected to avoid at all costs. Saying it i like putting on armor, a REAL CLEAR communication that I am not to be fucked with. . Being a bitch means setting and creating boundaries. Learning to piss people off, and be okay with it. Finding your “ride or dies,” fellow bitches who support the crap out of you. Setting goals, making plans and getting to where YOU want to go. . When someone calls me a “bitch,” it’s because I’m differentiating myself from a doormat. If someone doesn’t respect and heed my boundaries, I excuse them from my life. . Being a bitch is putting yourself first. . If this resonates with you, if you want to *Bitch Up* you may want to check out the link in my bio. ???? . How do you feel about the word “bitch”? Have you reclaimed it? Or is there another word you prefer? . #rideordiebitch #supportyourlocalgirlgang #alternativecurves #hardfemme #wewearwhatwewant #whatfatgirlsactuallywear

A post shared by Brianne Huntsman ???? (@the_huntswoman) on

Does everyone buy? Lol, I wish. But folks will share it with friends, who might buy. They’ll remember that I know about these services, and maybe a few months from now they’ll sign up for something.

(Something that I still struggle with is folks saying they “love the content!!” but they don’t engage with it or share it. We’ll talk further on down about education people on promoting your work for you.)

So, for my classes I write posts (both on social and on my blog) about blogging, job search tips, personal development, growing your following, etc.

Again: This content is ABSOLUTELY necessary, because it

  1. Shows I know what I’m talking about (ie why they should click on my promotions for products or services)
  2. Gives people something to engage with, making it more likely that Facebook/Instagram/etc will share my posts in the future
  3. Spreads good in the world that boomerangs back to me

Wait, what? #3 is a woo woo one, but it’s true! I’ve found that the more generous I am with the world, the more that energy rebounds to me. It often doesn’t come from the people I’ve helped – but it comes.

Tip #4: Promote Other People

Okay, so if you’re still struggling to combat self-doubt and share your work – the next best thing to do is to promote other people. Write blog posts or Medium articles where you interview folks who are doing cool stuff. Share a “WCW,” where you spotlight a friend’s work.

If you do this authentically (without expectation of reciprocity), you’ll find that these people will share your posts – and direct their network to YOUR door.

GENIUS!

Tip #5: Educate People on How to Support You

Remember when I said earlier ^^, that I struggle with people telling me they love my work in my DMs or chats – but not engaging with it IRL, or (heaven forbid) SHARING IT?

I decided it wasn’t fair to get mad at people for not doing things I hadn’t asked for, so I began telling people how to support me:

Hey Sarah!

Thank you so much for your kind words! It really means so much to get messages like this.

This may seem a bit out of the blue, but I promised myself I’d ask for this every time I get a message like this: Can you do me a favor and share links to pieces or posts that really inspire you? I decide what content to create and what products to offer based largely on clicks. Sharing is the best way to support my work and say thanks!

No pressure, but I did want to keep this promise to myself!

Boom. BAM. DONE.

BONUS: Get LOUDER

After you’re getting a good amount of support for your work, the next level is to regularly post and to ask people to share links. Ask them to follow you on other platforms. I’ve even gone so far (on some posts) as replying to comments, and asking for folks to share.

This ONLY works if you are creating a crap ton of valuable (free-ish) content. Remember, asking folks to do something is a CTA. So as you increase your CTAs and get more aggressive, you gotta create more content.

A lot of folks, especially if they’re self-employed or a creative trying to “make it,” don’t realize how vital sharing links is.

Therefore, I have it on my calendar that EVERY DAY, I ask for folks to follow or share a link – on one of the many platforms I’m on. This can be as simple as “Hey! If you love this post, be sure to SHARE it! Shares (not likes) show me if I should create more content like this!)

@MerQueenJude on Twitter is the QUEEN of doing this.

Finally (Extra Resources)

Start where you are. If the thought of sharing a “behind-the-scenes” photo scares you, start there. Build your way up!

if you feel like you need more encouragement to help you share AND promote your work, I suggest getting “You Are a Badass” and listening to it on Audble. Jen Sincero is the cheerleader we all need! Snag it here.

You may also want to check out podcasts Being Boss or Marie Forleo’s!

If you’d like to see more posts on personal development or growing your career be sure to subscribe to The Huntswoman Newsletter.

NOTICE:  This post may contain affiliate links, from which I earn a small commission.  All opinions are my own, and I only recommend products I believe in.