The first half of the title of this blog post is a shining example of an oxymoron, as in: don’t be a moron.
OK, fineâ€¦ that was a little mean. Iâ€™m generally pretty nice, so donâ€™t take it personally.
Really though, using social media sites like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn as an extension of your â€œadvertising media strong-armâ€ is one of the worst possible things you can do for your career or business.
And I say that in the nicest possible way.
Does that mean you canâ€™t use social media to market a business? Of course not, I do it all the time. But you have to play by the rules otherwise youâ€™ll get snubbed!
Narcissists in Social Media
Honestly though, there is no room for narcissists in social media circles; not if you actually want to use social media with any kind of effectiveness.
Thereâ€™s no room for â€œIâ€ based scenarios. You know, as in â€œPlease can I pimp you something now?
OK that might be a lieâ€¦ so maybe there is a little room for pimping here and thereâ€”but only when itâ€™s strategic and not the primary focus of your message on your networks. If people really wanted to be buried under a bunch of ads, they would just watch T.V. Just sayinâ€™.
Most of the time, itâ€™s all about â€œyouâ€â€”as in â€œyouâ€ the peopleâ€¦ the people in your network, your fans, your followers, and everyone else in your social media circle.
Itâ€™s not about what â€œIâ€ want today – itâ€™s about what â€œyouâ€ want today.
Itâ€™s not about what â€œyouâ€ can do for â€œme,â€ – it’s what â€œIâ€ can do for â€œyou.â€
Gettinâ€™ it yet?
Social Media Sensations
So, to be a social media sensation, you need to take a sort of counterintuitive perspective on self-promotion. That simply means that you canâ€™t overtly promote yourself, and your services and/or products, in the social media sphere.
You canâ€™t treat your Twitter and Facebook accounts as your bulletin or advertising board. That strategy will be the equivalent of standing in the middle of New York Time Square shouting, â€œHey guys, look at me! Iâ€™m Cori and Iâ€™m the BEST copywriter in the world! Come, look at me! Iâ€™m great, get me, hire me!â€ (But you totally can by the wayâ€¦ hire me that is!)
Sure, there are lots of people walking about the squareâ€”thereâ€™s some great traffic. This is much like social mediaâ€”lots of people there too. Millions, even. Your target market is there, so why not blast them with a bit of shameless self-promotion?
The short answer?
Because they can just as easily shut you out as listen to a lick you have to sayâ€”as in your Twitter followers can un-follow you and your Facebook fans can un-fan themselves. If you become too loud (Translation: too many useless tweets or status updates that clutter the feeds), people can easily delete you out of their own accounts and youâ€™ve just lost the potential to cultivate a valuable and meaningful connection.
Social media is all about making meaningful connectionsâ€”relationships, if you will. So instead of the New York Time Square, consider instead a local neighborhood cafe. In these haunts, you have the baristas and the regular clients who you see almost every time you visit.
If you hang out long enough, you get to know them.
After a few small talks here and there, you become close acquaintances. You get to know what they do, and they get to know what you do, too.
â€œOh, youâ€™re in publishing. Cool!â€
â€œYeah, and youâ€™re a writer. Thatâ€™s nice! Maybe we can work on a project sometime. Iâ€™ve one coming up. Maybe you can show me your work.â€ See how that works?
Itâ€™s networking 101. You donâ€™t advertise. You need to be genuinely interested in people and in building connections with them. People need to get to know you firstâ€”or at the very least, recognize that you make some sense and youâ€™re not a total dweeb just trying to make a buck.
They need to know that you have something good and helpful to say. They also need to know that you know how to listen to themâ€”that what theyâ€™re saying matters to you, too.
Social media is also about sharing information – tons of it. And that, perhaps, is the best way to promote what you know and what you can do. If you want to be recognized as a leader in your field, you need to share what you know. You should use your social media accountsâ€”Twitter, Facebook and blogsâ€”to share information.
Just be careful that you donâ€™t go overboard and simply become a broadcaster, someone who is just constantly telling people things. You might end up being perceived as a â€˜Know It Allâ€™ rather than someone simply looking to share information and help people.
You can do this by making an effort to share consistently. If you want your fans or followers to get hooked, you need to post blogs and tweets on a regular (or in my case semi-regular) basis.
Responding to Promotion
You also need to converse with your circle of people. Somebody retweeted your link? Thank them. Somebody commented on your post? Reply back. Somebody posted a message on your Facebook Wall? Post something back.
See that little give and take scenario?
Thatâ€™s how self-promotion through social media works. So donâ€™t be a narcissist. Or a dweeb.