The essential guide to self promotion for introverts

introverts

If you’re an introvert like me, you probably have trouble competing in the social media world of constant self-promotion. I look at some of the “me me me” content out there and think to myself “I could never do that.”

Although I probably should.

But it’s just counter to my personality. I just can’t do it. This is one of the reasons I’ve never done online courses. I could not withstand the constant self-promotion it takes to make those things fly. I’ve been successful online in spite of myself!

Self-promotion is necessary … as necessary as taking the time and effort to create works of art or useful products that will change people’s lives.

Because the fact is, people need to KNOW about good things before they can let those good things help them. It is not just your task to promote your work — it is your mission.

I decided to reflect on this today because I figure there are plenty of people in the same boat. What is the strategy of self-promotion for introverts?

Staying in “the box”

A lot of people may tell you that you need to “think out of the box” or even go into personality areas that are scary. This is not a sustainable strategy for a simple reason: most of us are limited by our psychological make-up. Long story short, our mental frameworks are more or less complete by the time we’re 15 years old. That is our “box.” It’s almost impossible to think “out of the box” or re-invent our box despite the gurus urging us to do otherwise.

I’m not trying to be a downer about things but there is a ton of research pointing to the fact that however you were when you were 15, you’re more or less the same way now.

However, the real power to creativity is “combining boxes.” Just because you and I are introverts, it doesn’t mean we can’t add a lot of creative value to the world. We just don’t like talking about it. The key idea here is to partner with people who do like to talk about it!

It works well for me when I am the creative force in a partnership and another person is the promotional force. Use diversity to your benefit!

Introverts and content

In my book KNOWN, I have an entire section devoted to the content that most lends itself to introverts. Content is the fuel that powers personal brands today and thankfully, introverts have tons of options.

One of my friends told me that the people who are successful on Snapchat are “random and goofy.” This would explain why I have not been on Snapchat for more than a year. Nobody has ever described me as random and goofy! However, writing a post like this is perfect for my personality. I don’t have to perform. I can just think.

Likewise, I enjoy doing The Marketing Companion podcast (with Brooke Sellas). I look forward to these  one-on-one conversations.

There is an ideal content form out there for you too! Creating relevant, meaningful, original content is the most powerful form of self-promotion and there is room for introverts, too.

Public speaking

As you become known in the world (the goal, right?), it’s likely that you’ll be invited to give a presentation or speech. When it comes to getting on a stage, I want to challenge your introverted tendency to shy away.

  1. Public speaking is equally terrifying whether you are an introvert or an extrovert. So no matter your personality type, you will have to figure this out and overcome your fears.
  2. Some of the greatest public speakers in history have been introverts so I don’t like using that as an excuse.
  3. If I can do it, you can do it.

I would much rather have a conversation with one person over coffee than meet lines of people at a conference. But if you’re becoming known, public speaking will probably become part of your job now and it gets easier the more you do it.

Testimonies

We live in a very cool world where don’t have to tell people how great we are because it’s likely that other people are doing it for us.

Testimonies are among the most effective sources of “social proof” (validating signs of authority like reviews and recommendations). It’s likely that positive social proof is being generated all around you. The trick is corralling it into forms that help with self-promotion. Here are three ideas.

  1. When somebody says something extraordinarily nice about one of my books or speeches in a tweet, I save the tweet by clicking the heart under the text. You can then include a link to all of these nice testimonies and promote that link on your site and even in your email signature.
  2. I don’t like asking people to provide LinkedIn recommendations but thankfully people seem to do it any way! Once they provide these written statements, you can re-purpose their nice comments as social proof.
  3. When people compliment you after a meeting or presentation, simply pull out your smart device and ask them if they would say the same thing on video. Effortless social proof, even for an introvert!

It’s about helping

Someone out there needs you. Your idea. Your product. You are unique in all the world — in all of history — and the thing you have to offer, whatever it is, is something ONLY YOU can do, something that will serve someone’s need.

Promotion, then, is not about begging people to pay attention to you. Promotion is about finding a way to make a difference in the life of someone who needs to hear from you.

I hope some of these ideas make sense to you. What other coping mechanisms have you used to promote yourself when it is uncomfortable to do so? I’m asking, one introvert to another!

Keynote speaker Mark SchaeferMark Schaefer is the chief blogger for this site, executive director of Schaefer Marketing Solutions, and the author of several best-selling digital marketing books. He is an acclaimed keynote speaker, college educator, and business consultant.  The Marketing Companion podcast is among the top business podcasts in the world.  Contact Mark to have him speak to your company event or conference soon.

 

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