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If you’re just starting out in the business world, you may have trouble promoting yourself. After all, there’s so much more to think about – perfecting your skills, picking a business entity, figuring out finances, and building your website. You barely have time to talk to your current clients much less promote to total strangers.

However, promotion is an important thing to consider, especially for a new business. You want to strike a balance between talking like a normal human being and letting the whole world know you’re open for business. But this balance is easier said than executed, especially in the age of social media when it can be easy to over-promote what you had for breakfast. How do you figure out if you’re under- or over-promoting online?

All About the Conversation

The main thing to consider when talking about promotion online is if the conversations you’re having are genuine. If you come off sounding like a corporate overlord – Buy! Buy! Buy! – you may chase your clients away. It’s one of the truths of our day that nobody wants to be talked to like a market segment anymore.

There’s a rule in public relations that when writing a press release you should ask yourself if you would read your story in the paper. If you wouldn’t give the headline even a second glance there’s absolutely no reason why anyone else would read it.

When promoting on Twitter, Facebook or anywhere else, you have to ask the same thing with every post. Would my clients, fans and friends be interested in this post? Do they care to know about my website for the 50th time today, or would they be more interested in this fun news items I just found?

One rule of thumb you often hear is to have 10 genuine, non-promotional interactions with potential clients and customers for every one time you self-promote.

Let Them Know You Exist

Of course the above rule of thumb applies if you’re worried about over-promotion, but what do you do if you have trouble talking about your company at all? Some business owners have issues talking themselves up, even when their business depends on them doing so. Shyness can be difficult to overcome.

However, you have to let people know you exist. Look back over old social media posts and interactions. Do you ever mention that you even have a business or that you’re looking to sell a product or find paying clients? Where do you spend your time online? Sure, Reddit is awesome, but is that really where your potential clients are likely to find you?

Go back over your accounts and see how far back you have to scroll to get any sort of promotion. If it’s too far, you may want to step up your efforts. Of course this doesn’t mean just spamming your website link over and over – you have to actually offer something of use or people won’t care.

If you haven’t started a blog, now is the time to do so! Start writing about anything and everything to give you something to tweet/post about. Not only do these posts promote your business, but they can be extremely useful to your clients as well. And unlike tweets or Facebook posts, they’re easily found on Google, even years later.

If you’re not the writing type, consider something else in lieu of a blog. A video series or podcast can be just as useful and has the same chance to spread across the internet. This way you don’t even have to worry about one certain kind of promotion – your stellar videos or podcasts will do the work for you.

How do you walk the fine line of too much or too little promotion?

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