As a small business, there’s a fine balance to be struck between running your business and promoting your business. Running a business should take up the bulk of your time. After all, it’s what gets you paid. But what happens when the paid work tails off? What do you do then? How do you fill your pipeline? This is where continual self-promotion is time well spent.

It’s important to maintain and sustain regular promotional work alongside your daily ‘paid’ work. Think of it as, the work you do, to get the work that you do, noticed.

Of course, this is easier said than done. And the biggest stumbling block is time.

When is the Best Time for Self-Promotion?

The best time for self-promotion is now. Why would you wait? What are you actually waiting for? What’s the best that could happen?

The key is not trying to ‘find’ time or ‘make’ time for self-promotion. But actually ‘schedule’ time in your calendar. Block off an hour a couple of times a week and mark yourself as busy. Remove all distractions and focus on doing something that gets you and your business out there.

A quick and easy starting point is social media.

Find a Twitter Chat (or several) in your niche and start contributing. Engaging in conversations is the best form of self-promotion. Share your knowledge, expertise, and personality. Help people with their questions. Agree with others who share the same ideas. Follow contributors. Just remember: don’t try to sell at every available opportunity. This really gets people’s backs up and is counterproductive. Essentially, you need to pay it forward and make a name for yourself online as approachable and knowledgable within your field. You’ll soon find new opportunities arising from your discussions and connections.

You could also join Facebook and LinkedIn groups within your sector and start commenting and sharing there.

Successful self-promotion doesn’t look or sound like PR. It’s just you, being you — genuine, interested, and interesting. If you comment and engage from your brand’s social media account, people will start to check your business out. If you’re interacting from your personal profiles, make sure you have up-to-date social media bios with links to your business accounts and website.

PR Begins at Home

You and your team are your brand’s best advocates. And as such, you should all be championing the work you do. Self-promotion has to begin with you. It’s in the name.

Think about it. If you don’t promote the great work you do, how will anyone get to know about it? Now, we’re not talking about promoted posts on social media or paid online ads. But we are talking about you and your team celebrating your work. Sharing it on your personal channels. Commenting on your company posts. And drawing people from your personal networks into the conversation.

We’ve explored the idea of employee advocacy previously when discussing social media marketing expectations vs. reality. And we’ll reiterate it. If you’re not proud enough of your work to share it on your personal channels, how can you expect anyone else to? If your employees don’t buy into what you do as a company enough to engage with your posts, then there’s a problem.

Always remember, good PR starts at home. You are your own best advocate. Schedule time to champion your brand.

Self-Promotion Is Not Self-Adulation

Now, as important as self-promotion is, there’s a fine line between that and self-adulation. And it’s really important not to confuse the two.

Sharing insight, knowledge and expertise are all effective ways of promoting your skills and abilities. You’re sharing ideas, offering support and adding value. People appreciate this. Especially if your ideas motivate or inspire deeper thought or action.

However, if you bang on about how successful you are and what great things you’ve accomplished you’re going to turn people off quickly. Nobody likes a showoff. Don’t be one.

Quick Time-Saving Tips for Effective Self-Promotion

It’s essential for small businesses to make time to continue to promote who they are and what they do. Most of us forget, especially as we get caught up in client work that ultimately pays our bills. The truth is, showcasing who we are and what we do as a small business is what allows us to maintain and grow our businesses revenue. Only promoting when you’re quiet ultimately means chasing clients. Showcasing who you are all the time will help turn the tables, and hopefully have clients chasing you all year round.

So here’s our TL;DR of quick time-saving tips for effective self-promotion:

  • Use social media regularly to engage with clients (old and new) as well as others in your niche. Start conversations and share insight. Twitter chats, Facebook Groups and LinkedIn Groups are a great place to start.
  • Blog regularly. It doesn’t have to be a long blog (300-500 words will do). But share your knowledge and pose big questions. Then head back to social media to share it all.
  • Engage with your brand’s content from your own personal platforms. Encourage the rest of your team to do the same. Doing so will increase the reach and visibility of your content.
  • Schedule time for self-promotional activities every week. Try something new. Be creative. Have fun. Break out of the day-to-day every once in a while. Your business will thank you for it.

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Gareth Alvarez
Gareth Alvarez

Gareth, Social INK’s Head of Content (sometimes playfully referred to as ‘spellcheck’), just adores words. He’s written copy for ads, websites, and blogged extensively. Content marketing is his bag. He loves getting creative with his writing.