The “Ick” Factor

As I begin to transition more and more into teaching and training in social media, and away from doing publicity, I find myself struggling more and more with self-promotion.

As a freelance publicist, I have no problems marketing myself: I have an active website with a list of my clients and testimonials from them. I am happy to share publicity reports from older gigs with prospective clients, and  I have developed a reputation in this city for being a good publicist, and all of business comes from repeats or word of mouth (which is the best kind of marketing, anyway).


Don't be "that guy."

I am in the process of creating an online social media marketing course, and I find myself struggling with writing marketing copy for it. I look at other websites, other folks who are selling courses and books over the internet, and I start to feel like I need to change into a really bad plaid jacket and change my name to Les Nesman.

In other words, selling my services as a publicist feels a lot more “legitimate” to me than selling my services as a social media marketing strategist.

Part of this is simply because of my culture. Us Canadians, in general, are not great at tooting our own horns, eh? And partly it’s because of how incredibly unregulated my new chosen career is. You can’t go to school and get your social media diploma. Yet. More and more schools are beginning to offer these kinds of courses and certificates (and I teach at one of them), and the world is starting to take this job much more seriously.

But there are still many folks out there who see social media as a kind of get-rich-quick business, and are selling what often amounts to snake oil to unsuspecting consumers. So, there is a part of me that is reticent to be painted with that brush.

A few weeks back, I was in a Yoga class, and the instructor, Chris Brandt, who is also a social media teacher, started talking about the term “expert” and what it means. Chris wrote a blog post on this meditation, which you can read here.

While doing research for this post, I sent Chris an email and asked him if he had any advice. Here’s his response:

We do cool shit. Talk about it. There is no bragging in facts. List facts, not hyperbole, then there is no chance of arrogance.

Good advice. I’m gonna hafta work on that…

How do you market yourself without the “Ick” factor?

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Rebecca Coleman

Social Media Marketing Strategist, Blogger, Author, Teacher, Trainer. Passionate foodie, mom to Michael, fueled by Americanos. I love my bike. Soon-to-be cookbook author. Localvore with a wanderlust.

Comments 1

  1. Believablity. Treating people like people, not as “clicks” or “conversions” or god forbid, calling people those things. Backing up what you do with concrete examples of what you’ve done. Doing your homework on the people you’re going to work with. Avoiding using jargon for the sake of using jargon. Listening. Relationships. I was “pitched” very recently by someone who had all the subtlety of a gym membership salesman. I don’t want you working on my social media if you are so socially inept as to not pick up on the fact that your tactics are creeping me out.
    I’d use the phrase “authenticity” but as someone once pointed out – what if you’re “authentically” a jackass?
    My two cents!

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