Self-Promotion: when is it shameless and when is it shameful?
A pretty straightforward concept. It’s when one promotes themselves or their ideas so others will take notice. I do it all the time! When you work (or aspire to work) in an industry where image and popularity play a large part in success, it may not be a bad idea to do a little shameless self-promotion since these kinds of industries are the hardest to break into. Talent and/or skill is important but you have to put yourself out there if you want people to see how talented and/or skilled you are. Like I mentioned in my Do I really need to know how to sew? post, I’ve gotten many of my best opportunities and experiences just by incredible luck but others I got through really putting myself out there. For example:
– Project Runway: Threads. I wasn’t one of the kids who was approached or recommended for the show by someone else. I found out about it because I was on the mailing list for the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising in Los Angeles, where the show was shot. Now, I never considered applying to FIDM (not that it isn’t a good school, it is, I just was never interested in it) but a while ago, I figured it might be worth putting myself on the mailing list just in case an interesting opportunity should present itself… and it did! I emailed casting a boastful blurb about myself and next thing I know, I’m flying out to Los Angeles to shoot!
– Ragtime. Admittedly, most of my costuming opportunities have come from someone else recommending me (thank you to those who have!) but my most recent one came from sending in an application to a local regional theatre’s costume shop. I got to make a few little contributions to wardrobe, which I’m very excited about, and I look forward to hopefully doing some more there in the future!
SSP is the “elevator pitch,” the business cards, cold calling, the Facebook/Twitter/Instagram/etc. post that says, “Hey! Check this out!”, the mailing list, the link-back to your own site in a comment on someone else’s.
SSP is wonderful but don’t abuse it because shameless self-promotion can easily cross the line into SHAMEFUL self-promotion (or spam.)
– DON’T self-promote when it is inappropriate. We’ve all seen that Instagram post about someone’s pet dying or the Youtube video about fatal bullying where some idiot comments something along the lines of, “Click here to settle your debt!” or “Browse my new Etsy shop!” Don’t be that person.
– DON’T self-promote when it is irrelevant. Going to a site just to comment, “Hey check out [xyz]!” is not cool. Post whatever you want on your own site but when your on someone else’s, show them a little respect. Even if you don’t care about their content, at least make an effort to pretend that you do if you’re just going to link-back.
– DON’T self-promote when it is unwanted. This is like the other two points but more direct. Don’t send a mass email or make a pitch to people who have not given you permission. It’s rude and it makes you look bad.
– DO try to be personable. Include the person’s name so they feel less like they’re receiving a generic message. Let them know that you’d genuinely like to keep in touch with them. Thank them for paying attention to you. If you want to go the extra mile, pay them a personal compliment!
– DO acknowledge your followers/contacts/customers. Once you’ve made that connection, try to sustain it. If they leave a comment on your page or send you an email, respond. If they’ve done something that benefitted you, thank them and maybe even mention them in a post. If it works with what you do, offer a limited-time discount or have a giveaway. Send them a Christmas card if that’s your thing!
So here’s my question for you: what have you found to be the most effective way to shamelessly self-promote? Feel free to also include what you do/what it is your promoting.