Desperate. Self-indulgent. Annoying. This is what we equate with self-promotion via social media. So what do we do? We don't post, we don't create, we don't share because we don't want to bother anyone. We don't want to post too much because what if we get annoying? What if people think we're self-absorbed? What if we (gasp) get blocked?!
I had a lovely conversation with my dear friend Becca (of Becca on Broadway fame) the other night about the art of self-promotion. I've written on this before and I'm really interested in perfecting it. I would love to give a bullet point list about how to not ruffle any feathers on social media, but I believe that not-ruffling is actually an undesirable outcome. I believe when something has real value, people will both love it and hate it. I believe that the only way to make everyone like us is to not show up, not be exposed, not be ourselves. We stay small by making others comfortable and I couldn't think of a less optimal metric with which to assess our work.
But for the person who is afraid of looking desperate, self-indulgent or annoying (which would be most of us) and wants to post despite those fears, it comes down to this:
Believe in what you're saying + Make it useful
Believe in what you're saying: No one will believe in what you're selling, saying, conveying if you don't have the belief first. If your creative act springs from your gut, it will be carried on the back of enthusiasm. And enthusiasm is contagious, it multiplies. Joy, excitement, pleasure. Why wouldn't you share that with the people? Why wouldn't you offer them the chance to see what you see? Don't hoard what makes you joyful, deliver it with gusto and watch its vibrancy spread.
Make it useful: When we do finally see the value in our work, we cannot assume everyone else will automatically understand it's worth. Your job as the deliverer of this goodness is to translate for us. How does this help? How is this useful? How can my audience take what I'm giving to improve their day? This doesn't mean you write self-help memoirs or DIY everything in sight. It means you understand the intrinsic value of whatever you've made and apply it to someone else's life. You honor their perspective and then speak to it, simple as that.
What do you love to share and how do you share it?
Photo via Craig Hanson Photography