Social media provides us with equal opportunities alongside equally challenging to acquire these said opportunities. The ones who are able to come out on top seem to be able to pull off self promotion without getting too obnoxious.
How do they do it?
1. Genuine Value
No one likes somebody who's constantly bragging but bragging takes a sidestep when it comes alongside value. It's okay if you like talking about yourself but are you merely putting words together or is there some genuine insight in what you're saying? If you enjoy bragging and want other people to talk about you too, create something that is useful to others and let them do the talking for you. Plus it's easy to promote your service/product when it is genuinely creating a difference. The 1950s salesman that everyone dreads was one who forced us to buy things that we didn't necessarily want or need, a good entrepreneur is one who creates something that everybody is desperately searching for so what are you going to make?
2. Right People
Now that you have something that's valuable, it's time to promote yourself but not just broadcast to the entire world and hope to find the right person rather do some research and figure out who are the ones who would be interested in what you're offering. It could be an individual, a community group, an online forum or even an organisation, find them, talk to them and let them discover you. There's no point sending out 100s of tweets everyday out into the dark hole that is the Internet, when you talk to the right people the right things begin to take shape.
3. Right Way
So you've got something that has amazing value and you have found the right people who could be interested in it, does this mean you turn up at their doorstep uninvited? Just because you have something amazing doesn't mean everyone is going to start paying attention to you, you need to craft the right way of approaching people. If you want to get in touch with a CEO perhaps you need to go through his media agency or his press team whereas if you want to work with a public group, drop them a friendly email but not before supporting them on social media. It's pretty crazy to think anyone would want to randomly speak to you if they have never heard of you, of course it could work for some but long lasting relationships are built on trust so interact with the ones you want to talk to online, tweet them, share some insightful links and then initiate a conversation.
4. Redefine Authenticity
There really isn't one right way and that's probably what makes it so difficult to pin down however, authenticity always wins. But what is being authentic anyway? It's not about just being yourself or even being genuine alone, it's about interjecting at the right time with a fresh perspective that rejuvenates the conversation. Don't ever try to say something just for the sake of talking, speak only when you have something valuable to add.
This is a tough one, most of us aren't born sales people especially me but as an artist or a creative professional selling isn't about selling a piece of work. You're constantly selling yourself as an artist, your practice, your thoughts and everything about yourself, selling is unanimous with promoting. There probably was a difference at some point but the most important investment you can ask of someone today is their time and the most crucial piece of publicity you can get is word-of-mouth in which case, you should consistently be selling.
How does this translate to a creative practice?
You have made an amazing piece of work and have found the right gallery/collector for it. Tweet about your work, not in a pompous way but about the thought-process behind making the work and what the work means to you. How often have you done that? Now when you begin to talk to the 'right people' they'll notice the passion behind your work collected over the months and years, so much that you cannot communicate all of it in a single meeting. You begin talking to them and realise one of their projects directly relate to your present work, pitch or rather sell yourself/your practice to them. Tell them why you would be a welcome addition and how your fresh take on the subject would be delightful to their audiences.
It's that simple and exactly that challenging, if you feel like you're not going anywhere you're probably not investing enough time in at least one of those five steps. Still finding it hard? Let's talk!