“You have to put yourself out there!”
“If you don’t promote yourself, you’re stealing from those who need you!”
“Marketing and selling are an act of service.”
You’ve probably heard these things. They’re all true.
You might’ve also heard:
“If your friends are annoyed by your success, they don’t deserve to be in your life.”
That one is crap.
It’s about as helpful as when you weren’t invited to a birthday party and your mother said, “Those people aren’t your real friends.”
Great. Well, they’re still the people I want to hang out with, and I still want to be at that damn birthday party and play musical chairs and whack a piñata and have cake.
If you have so many friends that you can afford to drop the ones who are annoyed by something you do, who don’t get what you do, or who roll their eyes at you, then congrats! You officially have too many friends.
Because here’s the truth:
The short answer to this post’s title is, You can’t. Or, Don’t post.
If you promote your blog post, your course, your Huffpo article, your gallery opening, your tap dance recital, your jewelry trunk show, your essential oils, your new coaching package, your launch, your lunch, your winning mindset, your gorgeous new flirty bob haircut, your anything…
YOU WILL ANNOY YOUR FRIENDS.
All of them? Of course not. Maybe almost none of them. Maybe not the shit out of them. But I promise you, at least someone in your life will roll their eyes.
Here are some other things a friend or two, or lots of them, might do when you promote yourself:
- Take a screen shot of your post and send it to someone else who knows you, with an eye roll emoji. Or even the barf emoji.
- Think, “Ew, tacky.”
- Think that you’ve changed – and not for the better.
- Hover over the Like button and then decide, “nah.”
- Talk about you with another friend, and both condescendingly say, “Bless” at the same time. And then yell “Jinx!”
Here are six helpful thoughts you can have when people are annoyed by your self-promotion:
- Who cares?
- Haters gonna hate.
- They’s just peanut butter and jealous.
- I wish them #loveandlight!
- It’s not my business what anyone thinks of me.
- Fuck ’em.
More helpfully, you can also remember these five things:
1) Every time you’ve rolled your eyes at a friend’s promote-y posts — and you know you have — they’ve succeeded (or not) regardless.
2) Everybody doesn’t like something. That doesn’t mean that something is any less good. For instance, I have a friend who hated, and still hates, Mad Men. That’s her problem. Mad Men is still one of the best shows ever made. It’s superb—just like you are, even if someone doesn’t like your post.
3) As a society, we have a built-in “Ew, selling is gross” attitude. I’m too lazy to research where it comes from. The Renaissance? Some time when it was also déclassé to be tan. And then there’s the warning to all children: “No one likes a show-off.” So when someone’s annoyed by your self-promotion, it’s not personal. It’s cultural.
4) If one person tells you, “Your [book/TEDx talk/ idea/ toilet bidet attachment/ course] changed my life — I never would’ve found out about it if you hadn’t posted,” and 13 other people roll their eyes at you in the privacy of their own caves, that’s a “worth it” ratio — don’t you think?
And, most importantly,
5) No great artist, innovator, or leader — no person worth talking about — ever lived by the motto “Don’t be annoying.”
Sure, there are things you can do to be less annoying.
Strategies for promoting yourself without being (too) annoying:
- Mix it up.
Make the promote-y stuff a small fraction of your posts. The rest should be helpful, funny, interesting, observational, personal. Like and comment on other people’s stuff. Don’t bombard us nonstop with promotion and brags and selfies; don’t go away or lurk invisibly for months and then suddenly sell us something. It’s a little weird when someone who’s never on Facebook shows up out of the blue saying, “I’m selling bikinis!” Or “My movie’s in an online festival and needs your vote.”
- Don’t be full of shit.
Be real. Make claims you can stand behind, in a way that’s true to you.
Don’t post “Ladies, here’s how to have a magical relationship” when you’ve just slapped your partner with a restraining order.
Don’t post shots of yourself decked in Gucci and Loubies and Louis Vuitton, in front of your private jet, that’s landed in front of the Eiffel Tower, that you’ve had replicated in front of your house, captioned with hashtag #abundance, when you’re ducking collection agencies.
Don’t write, “I’m finally stepping fully into my power” when that sounds like nothing that would ever come out of your mouth.
Don’t say, “Hundreds of clients and friends have been asking me how I’m able to live this lifestyle, so today I’m revealing –” Shh. No they haven’t. No one asked you. We’re on to you. And it’s annoying.
- Don’t announce, “Shameless self-promotion!”
Why not? Because you’re promoting the idea that self-promotion is shameful (and, therefore, annoying. It’s self-fulfilling.) We don’t say “shameless food pic” or “shameless book recommendation” or “shameless swimming,” do we? So let’s strike the “shameless” from self-promotion and just call it that.
- Have Friends Who Get It.
Friends Who Get It will click the Like button, or even the Love button, when you promote yourself. Some might even share. It makes a difference. This doesn’t mean, drop your Friends Who Don’t Get It. But you can balance them out — with an audience of supportive fans who love everything you say and do, and a new inner circle from your sphere of business or geekdom. Have a mix.
That’ll help. But again —
If you want to share what you love, sell, or do — and you’d better if you want a successful business — prepare to be annoying. And live with it.
And fuck ’em.
Do you think people get annoyed when you promote yourself? Do you care?
Do you get annoyed by them? Should they care?
TELL ME IN THE COMMENTS.
Oh hey, it would be truly shameful if I didn’t now promote my emails, which deliver this kind of magic to your inbox and an injection of bold “f*ck ’em, I’m going to be more ME” to your brain.